Social media is a fad…

…maybe.  Certainly the phrase is.  Ok I hear ya about the evangelism and all the hype, but that happens whenever you have a new thing on the block of any magnitude.  Over time it dies off and we get to making the most of the opportunity.  I’ve been around long enough to know, and the Internet was the last time we had such frothing at the mouth.

Back then people argued the toss over the ‘fad’ – some didn’t think anyone would use a credit card online, post a picture, talk through instant messenger, shop, date, etc etc blah blah blah in any numbers worth worrying about.   But those that argued against it lost themselves in the hype just as much as those that were doing the hyping.  And in doings so, lost sight of the opportunity.  It’s rarely about the headline.

‘Social Media’ or ‘realtime collaboration’ or whatever you want to call it is just as big a deal.  In fact its bigger IMHO.  And will have a more significant impact.  You see, it’s not about social media at all. It’s really just the Internet coming into it’s own after 20 years.  Social media is just a rewiring.  An upgrade in neuron connectivity.  And what an upgrade.  We can now do en mass, as humans, what we have been trying to do for decades – communicate with who we want, when we want, where we want. On our own terms.

In a few years when the hype has died down there won’t be endless talk of ‘social media’, certainly not if this student experiment is anything to go by.   It will be embedded in our lives, in our communication DNA, blurring forever the lines between work and personal.  And organisations are not dictating the terms because they don’t control the technology (as I’ve blogged before), and they cant control the conversation.  There won’t be directors of social media just like there are no heads of Internet now.

The social dynamic is often seen as the devils spawn in organisations and widely feared by HR and policy makers alike.  To those people I say look past the hype, to what is actually going on.  There, and only there, will you find the answer.  Don’t miss the opportunity to innovate because you drank too much negative kool-aid when others were drinking too much of the positive stuff.  Otherwise you will both get drunk and miss the party.

And no one likes to miss a party, right? 😉


  1. I love this piece Gareth. You truly are the voice of reason. So many bang on observations I don’t know where to start – so I won’t bother. I’ll just add to your wise words with a little story.

    I started an online greetings card business in 1997 and remember being laughed at by people who knew better. Online greeting cards? Are you insane? That will never take off… Now look at the likes of moonpig, funkypigeon and bluemountain and see who’s laughing. Cardsdirect remained a hobby for me because I wasn’t brave enough to give up my day job and do it properly.

    Extending your “miss the party” analogy, I didn’t miss the party because I drank too much positive or negative kool-aid. I missed the party because I stayed in the kitchen 😉


    1. Hi Jon! Thanks for your comment – i had no idea you were a budding entrepreneur! What could have been eh?! Its a tough call to step out isnt it? Especially when all around you are telling you you are mad!

      Hope all is going well, let me know when you are back in the smoke!


    1. Hi Stephen! lol yes, id forgotten about the ‘information super highway’! There are many more for sure. thanks for commenting!


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