Future of Social Media and Business is NOT Social


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The origins and the structure of most social media platforms are based on a simple set of principles, and that’s one reason why it’s hit critical mass. It’s roots are in allowing people to connect with each other individually and/or in groups to communicate in a two way fashion. Commerce, however has changed that because the need to make money, even if just to survive is already have a huge, but unrecognized impact.

The real trends are obscured by several things, and one is the huge inflow of new people which obscures what the more experiences folks are doing, and the second is that researchers are looking at the wrong things and asking the wrong questions.

What does this have to do with the future? The trends are so visible if one cares to look that it’s clear where businesses and the commerce drive are taking social media. Social media is moving to a broadcast medium with limited interactivity and opportunity for discussion. It’s an economic necessity.


Scalability is THE issue. A small business may be able to interact one to one and maintain the “social” part of interacting, at least momentarily. Any company that gets any level of questions, comments, complaints, etc, hits the scalability wall. Either you hire people so they can interact with customers in a social way, OR, you automate, or try to find other ways to allow connections (user forums are one possibility).

Ultimately though, it’s impossible. It’s a lot like telephone support. You know the drill. Call, wait, or end up losing your place in the queue, because telephone connections do not scale. As a result faced with spending more money and cutting profits or having you wait hours, guess what wins?

It’s the same with social media. They are using ways to “communicate” that do scale — offering discount coupons for example, which requires no interaction, or even holding contests that ask for a structured answer. That’s the trend.

You can see this on Twitter easiest because it’s hard to create the illusion of real connection on Twitter. Over just the last year, try to think whether you see more real dialogue or conversation, or less. More broadcast tweet or less. It becomes more and more broadcast every month. Again, communication human being to human being does not scale!

So, the future of social media is to become unsocial. In fact that’s here, and within two years, even the companies that are holding on to use social media for dialogue will realize it doesn’t work. There’s no ROI.

So, you heard it hear. Just another broadcast meeting to shout at people. Maybe a bit more creative and interesting. Like a radio call in show maybe.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


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