Fads are fashionable little trends or products: the Pet Rock, Rubik’s Cube, Tickle Me Elmo, JellyBandz, Crocs. They fade away as quickly as they arrive, and while they might be windfalls to the occasionally lucky few, businesses are generally right to avoid jumping on the bandwagon.
You know what aren’t fads? Things that revolutionize the way we communicate:
- The printing press
- The telegraph (although all but gone, it had a good run)
- The telephone
- Mobile phones
- And, yes, social media
While we can’t be sure that Facebook or Twitter will be the mechanisms of social media usage in five or ten years, the concept of social media—the ability to have instant multi-path communication with an organic network of people of potentially unlimited size—is probably the biggest revolution in communication since language. It’s not going anywhere.
Think about it. Every other form of communication has been either one-to-one or one-to-many. Social media, on the other hand, has no real limits on communication, on the number of linkages which your message can travel over, or which can bring the messages of others to you. People can reach groups, groups can reach people, everyone can reach everyone else, or be reached by them. If you don’t think that’s revolutionary, you might want to talk to the people of Egypt.
There are legitimate issues about how to use social media effectively as a marketing tool, and we’ll talk about some of those in our next post. But if you are dismissing social media out of hand as a fad and refusing to take a good look at what it can do for your business, you might as well be using a telegraph.