More Social Media Stupidity

Posted on June 27, 2008
Filed Under Marketing 2.0 |

My post yesterday led to a response by Mashable’s Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, which led to some amusing displays of social media stupidity that I felt worth sharing on this beautiful Friday.

First we have a brilliant comment from “Ling”:

You can’t precisely measure the benefits of ‘good’ social media marketing.

Of course, this begs the question: if you can’t measure something, how do you know it exists?

Then we have the Social Media Mafia’s Jo Jordan. She dedicated an entire post to a misreading of my comment that a person telling me that they can save me money but can’t show me how has about as much credibility as a person who boasts about owning a beachfront estate in St. Kitts but who for some reason won’t give me a tour.

In his rebuttal, Drama 2.0, uses the example of having a beach front property in St Kitts. If you try to sell a beach front property without being able to point to it, people will call you as an imposter.

Well as I know St Kitts (anyone want to move there?), I wouldn’t bother with the owning the beach front property. I would just connect you up with people in St Kitts.

I don’t have to set up an office and get people to list their properties publicly and make a general display of themselves. I would just patch you in to the St Kitts community. They’ll tell you what’s for sale, show you the properties discreetly, tell you the rules about residency, and how long the paperwork will take, and so on. They’ll also help you decide whether you will enjoy living there and help you build relationships so that living there is enjoyable.

This is why “bolting” on SM in a manipulative way could be a large mistake. You build up your big fancy website? What is the “barrier to entry” for anyone like me from using your website to enhance my network?

I can use yours because it is based on “things”. You can’t use mine, because mine is based on people. And god help me if my friends found out I took money to introduce you to them. That’s called pimping last time I looked. I do that once, just once, and I am over, so-over!

The game has changed folks. You didn’t really have exclusive access to a property in St Kitts that we all want desperately. That was just an illusion (who wants to live on island without friends anyway?).

The illusion has been blown out of the water.

I hate to ruin Jo Jordan’s illusion: but if I want to buy a second property in St. Kitts, I’ll hire a real estate agent, not a member of the Social Media Mafia.

Yes, Jo, there are actually individuals who specialize in helping people buy and sell real estate. Don’t let that discourage you, however, as I’m sure you’ll find your niche someday.

In fact, I’m sure Jo is already doing quite well. Word on the street is that The Social Media Mafia controls about 70% of the trade in social media stupidity in the UK.

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5 Responses to “More Social Media Stupidity”

  1. Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins on June 27th, 2008 5:03 pm

    I said you can’t *precisely* measure it. Who’s misreading comments now?

    This isn’t CPC marketing. There isn’t a cost and ROI on every click. You’re talking about trying to measure the effects of brand advertisement in people’s heads, plus a whole host of other side benefits.

    Your continual desire to liken intangible services to solid goods falls apart, and only shows that you don’t understand social media as good as you pretend.

  2. Drama 2.0 on June 27th, 2008 6:42 pm

    Mark: I’m confused. The comment above is from “Ling.” Are you adding comments to your own posts under different names or did you just “skim” my post and miss the fact that I was referring to a comment you didn’t write?

    I also don’t know where you get the idea that we’re discussing solid goods here. What is being sold has absolutely no bearing on the conversation.

    The bottom line is that you apparently fail to understand the concept of “return on investment.”

    I don’t care if you think that social media can boost sales, improve brand equity or save costs. Pick any of them. All of those things represent a “return on investment.”

    If you want to treat social media as a branding exercise, go right ahead. If you can show me that social media branding campaigns boost brand recall, brand recollection, etc., we’ll be getting somewhere. I’m not going to ask you for CTRs and conversions if you tell me those aren’t the best metrics for the benefits you’re pitching me on - but I do expect you to tell me how you’re going to measure those benefits in some fashion.

    My point is that most social media “experts” pitch benefits that they can’t measure with any confidence, thus leading anyone with some level of intelligence to ask the obvious: “If you can’t measure them, how do you know those benefits exist in the first place?”

    I tried to simplify this discussion to no avail.

    So let me repeat: you said social media saves money. So:

    …find me two or three case studies that demonstrate how a B2C or B2B brand has used social media to save a non-negligible amount of money.

    Obviously, these should:

    - Explain how the cost savings was achieved.
    - Explain how the cost savings was measured.
    - Provide some evidence that the cost savings was worthwhile by putting any cost savings into context (i.e. I don’t want to hear that a $15 billion corporation saved $5,000 using social media).

    I know you social media folk love a “conversation” but it’s time to put up or shut up.

    All you have to do is give some real-world evidence that a few businesses somewhere are saving a non-negligible amount of money using social media. Why is this so difficult?

    Finally, I think the only two facts that one needs to “understand” about social media at this point are a) there’s a whole lot of bullshit and b) not a whole lot of cash.

  3. Duncan on June 27th, 2008 8:10 pm

    You CAN measure it, it’s just both difficult and/ or not cheap to do so correctly. The concept of brand awareness and positive word of mouth are old school concepts that apply to social media today, it’s just that the qualitative research needed to measure it is out of reach from the average person. There is also an indirect tangible way of measuring it: sales, readership..what ever you key driving metric is acts perfectly well as a bar for the success of any social media outreach.

  4. Drama 2.0 on June 29th, 2008 12:41 pm

    Duncan: as you noted, branding campaigns are not new.

    While their results are often more difficult to measure, consumer brands have been measuring these campaigns for decades and the techniques for doing so are quite sophisticated these days. Many brands build the costs of measurement into the campaigns.

    The bottom line is that if social media “experts” are going to claim certain benefits (i.e. Mark’s magical cost savings), they should have some evidence that backs it up.

    I find it very telling that when asked for this, social media proponents come up with no shortage of excuses and seem ill-equipped to explain why they are apparently incapable of applying existing methodologies to provide some validation of their claims.

    The reasons are quite obvious: they can’t yet back up their claims because they haven’t done much measurement and most of these “experts” lack the relevant experience and knowledge as marketers that one would reasonably expect them to have.

    Frankly, as far as I can tell, a decent chunk of the “social media marketing” industry is made up of “power users” who have fashioned themselves as marketers. There are far fewer individuals who actually have real experience as marketers.

    Therein lies your problem: your industry is, in many ways, an industry of amateurs. And it shows.

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