Lessons Learned from an Internet Bubble that Popped

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Narcissus, Zombies & the Lack of Humanity in Social Media

This is Part Two of a Multi-Part series.
Part One: Doomsday Countdown: Busts Follow Booms, Pops Follow Bubbles
Part Two: Lessons Learned from an Internet Bubble that Popped
Part Three: Narcissistic Myopia in Social Media: What I Have to Say Is So Important, I Can Ignore You
Part Four: Stop Typing and Start Reading: A Cure for Narcissistic Myopia in Social Media (NMSM)
Part Five: The Problem with Zombies: Twitter Overwhelmed by the Undead ‘Brain Eaters
Part Six: Identifying the Zombies Among Us, Even When the Zombie Is Me (And What Do You Mean by ‘Brain Eaters’ Anyway)[/box]



For those of us in midst of a career during the mid- to late-1990s, we know a little something about an Internet craze. I’m not talking about lunatics who follow Justin Bieber on Twitter or Angry Birds. The [wiki search=”Dot-com_bubble”]Dot-Com Bubble[/wiki] turned out to be this explosive growth where almost anyone with an idea who wrote a “business plan” on paper as sturdy as toilet paper got thrown thousands of millions of dollars.

As I explained in my previous post about the Doomsday Countdown, we’ve got four minutes to save the world (thank you Madonna and Justin Timberlake)

I’m not kidding. I see early signs that social media could be that next bubble. And while there’s a more cautious approach at play in some cases, more risky behavior is going on as well.

Chock full in the early 1990s: “Web Experts.” They were prepared to build your websites with dancing Jesus and flying toasters. People with their own website were thought to be able to build other people’s websites, the remnants of this being the smart nephew who builds his uncle’s website for $500.

(If you invest $500 in a website, expect to get about that in return.)

Today’s economy doesn’t have the cash-barfing like in the late-1990s. Still, rumors of a desperate Google, hoping to net its own social platforms after the failures of Wave and Buzz.

And today we have social media experts aplenty.

The other day, I shared my experience losing a job because of a company focused too intensely on SEO. Allow me to share not so much of a close call.

Earlier in my search, a third-tier but recognizable leader approached me to lead their digital marketing team through a recruiter. I never got an opportunity to discuss how I could help the company out in person, even via phone. After hearing my salary range — quite reasonable for someone with my years of experience and skill set — the company had an internal discussion. The feedback through the recruiter turned out to be that several members of the marketing team had Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Surely, they could manage the social media.

I managed to stifle my laughter. Having already taken a brand from non-existent to number one in social media in only a year for a market segment not known for high engagement (or even all that much interest), I could only wish them luck.

The Sweetest Mistake

I follow more than 1,000 people on Twitter. Hundreds of them claim some degree of social media expertise. They work for huge agencies with big followings. So with as many as 15 times the followers I’ve actually got.

In real life, I bet they’re terrific people. And I bet they’re terrifically busy. So busy, they’ve never checked their Twitter. If they do hit Twitter, it’s to see what’s online to retweet and quote in a tweet. They don’t actually tweet people. They tweet facts, figures and things of interest to them. In a kind of narcissistic way, they can’t see beyond themselves.

And so many companies, organizations and entities make the same mistake.

That is the mistake we’ll be talking about next…

NMSM: Narcissistic Myopia in Social Media
What I Have to say is so important, I Can Ignore You

Published by

Michael Cheek

With more than 20 years of communication experience, Michael Cheek offers solid marketing expertise, especially in the digital frontier. He currently resides in Georgia but he's open to relocate anywhere the opportunities take him. Learn more at http://MichaelCheek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/MichaelCheek and see more about his professional experience at http://LinkedIn.com/in/MichaelCheek. Reach him via e-mail at mcheek@gmail.com.

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