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Has Social Media Reached Its Peak?

September 12, 2011

There appears to be a shift in social media circles lately. Maybe the death of social media personality Trey Pennington was the catalyst, or maybe people are just plain tired of keeping up. Whatever the cause, some social media bloggers and experts are beginning to question the quantity of our connections versus the quality of them. Does that mean social media has reached its peak and is on the denouément?

In a recent blog post, MarketingProfs blogger and social media consultant and author Jay Baer said:

“The number of ‘inboxes’ we possess is staggering … That’s a lot of relationship bait in the water … How do we justify this? How do we convince ourselves that slicing our attention so thin the turkey becomes translucent is a good idea? We do it because we believe that more relationships provide more opportunity.

“All of these chestnuts are passed around like a flu strain because they make intuitive sense. But common among them is the underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people. I have always believed this to be true and in fact have delivered the lines above in presentations and on this blog. But today, I’m no longer convinced.

“Instead I wonder, what if we have it ALL wrong? Social media forces upon us a feeling of intimacy and closeness that doesn’t actually exist.”

After attending the most recent MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Kyle Flaherty, director of marketing at BreakingPoint, blogged that:

“This shift makes obvious sense, and it will take a few more years for social media to exit the hype cycle, but doesn’t it seem like we’ve been here before? Remember eMarketing? Email marketing? Direct marketing? Eventually, they move from being a short-lived yet enthusiastic fad and into a function of a greater practice. In this instance, marketing. Social media, although extraordinarily useful outside of marketing, has now rightfully started to move from fad into fade.”

From blogger, author, and principal at Altimeter Group, Brian Solis:

“The reality is that the cost of social networking is great, and without checks and balances, engagement can cost us more capital than we have to spend. The net result is then social and emotional bankruptcy. And the most difficult part of this unfortunate state is that it is at first difficult to recognize and far more exacting to overcome.”

What’s happening today? Is there a shift taking place? Has social media reached its peak or is it taking on a new role in an integrated marketing strategy, as it should have been all along?

What do YOU say?

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