social media

Are We Too Focused on the Next Big Thing?

shutterstock_19869643I swear it was within 24 hours of Periscope launching a few weeks ago that I saw the first post “15 Ways Brands Can Get the Most out of Periscope” (or something to that effect).

While it’s all fine and well to have an eye to the future, I firmly believe that we are still not totally up to snuff on the present. Brands are still struggling to figure out how to make the most of their blog and Twitter, which have been around for years, and now we have to worry about maximizing our exposure on all these new tools too?

The pressure is on for many businesses and organizations to figure out how all this stuff works. I speak to people on a regular basis who are still perplexed about how to use social media. Those of us who are “old timers” (I’ve been around this social game since about 2006, and have been online since ’97) consider this stuff old hat, but I believe we are in the minority. Many, many folks out there are still learning the basics. I can only imagine how they must feel when they are suddenly faced with new discussions around new tools. Even us old timers feel a sense of “tool fatigue” sometimes.

But all hope is not lost. If you’re one of those people who are still getting a handle on social media and our new digital world, don’t worry so much about that “next big thing”. Focus on the tools you’re comfortable with, and figure out the best strategies for leveraging them in your business. Read up on the trends but don’t feel like just because everyone is now talking about live video streaming that you have to jump on board. Even go so far as to play around with the tools. Being an early adopter doesn’t mean that you have to dominate new platforms. It’s good enough to just be aware.

Focus on the things that have a payoff for you and for your business. Don’t worry so much about the rest.

What say you? Do you think we’re too focused on the next big thing?

4 Comments

  1. JohnMeadows

    Good post and yes I’d say we are focussed too much on the next big thing, and this is but one aspect of a larger issue. Whether it’s music, movies or technology it seems to be we are being presented with a zero sum game: in order to embrace the new, we are being conditioned to devalue the old. (Trust me, as a photographer who loves film cameras I run into the “why aren’t you using a the latest whizz-bang digital camera it will be amazing for a year then obsolete” worldview all the time). Seems the same way for a lot of music listeners: if it’s not new it’s nothing. There is only “now” and you can get kicked out of “now” unless you keep paying the membership fee.
    If everything in effect has a best before tag on it, we end up on a spending treadmill powered by our dollars, in a never-ending game of catch-up where Marketing controls the wheel. (A bit of a mixed metaphor I suppose).

    I don’t think it’s an accident that we use the term “consuming media”: if we consume a hamburger it is gone; if we want to consume another one we have to buy another one; each burger can only be enjoyed once. Are we being trained to see content and the technology the same way, use it once and then buy something new?

    Pardon my morning rant :-)

  2. JohnMeadows Rants are always welcome here, John! Thanks for adding your always great perspective on things.

  3. This is one reason I had to stop hanging in the circles of marketers and get focused on what’s good for me and my business. When I was deep into the marketing world, I felt spread too thin, set up accounts and started activities that I really could not sustain.  I never doubted the effectiveness of the new thing in itself, but if I couldn’t keep up with all these different things with consistency, they weren’t worth anything at all.

    I felt “tool fatigue” a long time ago. 

    I’ve never heard of Periscope before today, and am not inclined to find out.

    Here’s one insight: I just moved to a new city and realized that the face-to-face relationships mattered way more than I’d thought. The internet and remote clients are critical for me. But there’s also something to be said for getting out of the house, making friends and business relationships. So, I don’t feel bad at all for limiting this online stuff.

    Finally.
    One thing that feeds into tool fatigue is the fact that each tool-maker is constantly improving on what they do. You wake up one morning and Google has changed the email interface; YouTube has moved a menu from the right side to the left side; a WordPress plugin’s update causes your site to crash.

    There are all these things moving around and they have a leaning curve and cause upheaval. When I should be having breakfast, I’m fooling around with the new interface on something that was just fine the day before.

    So, a new tool, for me, is another potentially dormant account, a new potential for a company that’s going to shift something and disrupt my day.

    No thanks. I’m not part of the “we” that’s looking for the next big thing.

  4. ldpodcast

    I think some folks want to be “in on the ground floor” of whatever is going to be the next “Facebook Killer”- after all, we just “knew” that Plurk would be the thing, for about a minute, in 2008.  We saw people rush in to capitalize on Google Plus, but the bottom line is that you need to be where the audience for your message is, not anywhere else.  Yes, we want to all be explorers of the new new thing, and grab digital real estate while its still available, because, hey, its free and you never know. 
    But frankly, adopting an account on every new platform (the mind reels) is not honestly, useful or practical.  Keeping each site active and interesting would be a full time job in and of itself.  And it you are just using these sites as another ad vomitorium, I’m not sure you’re going to get an ROI for any of the time spent.
    Chasing the next new thing became a habit, I think.  Reality says learn to use the stuff with the largest audiences with finesse, and you will be in much better shape than chasing after some new start-ups fondest dreams for a new adopter base.
    I would urge everyone to check out the new stuff, but I think particularly with the crowd we hang around, if there’s something REALLY worth knowing about, you’ll still know long before your clients will.  And if you’re really worried you might miss some new and hip young people thing, feel free to borrow my teens at any time :)

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