Is Social Media Jumping the Shark?

In my talks with communications teams, I break down the eras of the Web into two categories – a) the days of the ecommerce Web (aka the bubble years) and b) the era we are in now, of the social Web.

There are a number of differences between these two eras of the Web, but lately I’ve been noticing some striking similarities.  Not the least of these similarities is the growing number of tools that are driving the growth of the connected Web, but which may also eventually lead to its downfall.

In this new era of the social Web, it seems like everyday there’s a new tool to fix a problem that either doesn’t exist or that there is a tool that already addresses the problem.  The barrage of Twitter apps is a great example of this.

Some days I think that, like during the bubble days, everyone I meet will eventually work for or have just launched a new Web company.

I understand the value of innovation and creativity as a way for the market to push the boundaries and improve (so forgive the tone of hyperbole, and indulge me for a few more lines.)  But, at what point does innovation reach saturation and there is a need to step back and look at what we’ve created to focus on improving the experience of what we’ve birthed.

Someday soon, if you’re not already, we’ll all have to answer the “so what” question.  Maybe it’s time to focus more attention on listening and metrics and less time on the chasing the latest shiney new gadget that will bring us social nirvana.

I’m sure my friends on Twitter will have something to say about this.  Let me know what you think in this PollDaddy poll.


7 thoughts on “Is Social Media Jumping the Shark?

  1. Probably an over-simplification, but I think in terms of content and channels.

    We have the channels. To your point, the various tools and toys exist in abundance.

    Content always seems to lag technology. Example: cable TV (Springsteen: “Fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on.”) Isn’t this the problem?

    Delivering on the promise of the social Web depends on having both channels and content. I doubt that technology’s advance will slow, but changing the world may depend on our community’s ability to surface and support great ideas (the content).

  2. Great point, Kirk. As is typically the case, the technology gets the attention early in the adoption cycle. Let’s see if the content follows.

  3. Great question. I don’t think it as a category will jump the shark because it’s too useful, too entertaining and holds the potential to be monetized. That means that brands won’t stop using it, everyday folks won’t stop using it and developers won’t stop developing it.

    I do think we’ll see some natural attrition. There were probably 17 new apps or social sites created yesterday. But their ability to exist and prosper will depend on many things. And so, many will fall away over time. We’ll be left with those we find useful and entertaining, which will probably allow them to be monetized. Until tomorrow, when 17 more apps and social sites pop up, of course.

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