Social media: Preposterous before…er…Posterous came along?

Apparently sane person is asked what they consider to be the ‘next big thing’ in social media. (Actually, scratch that ‘apparently sane’ bit – anyone who’s in a position to be asked what they consider to be the blah blah blah is obviously several tweets short of the full nest.) And this person named three potentials – Foursquare, Brightkite and Posterous and another one the name of which I simply couldn’t be arsed to remember which wasn’t, after all, a ‘social medium’ in the true sense, more a CMS. Which, therefore, doesn’t really make it eligible to be the new Twitter. Even I know that.

Anyway, given that I’ve already had a look at Brightkite some time ago and felt that it really had very little to offer (well, it didn’t, go and look for yourself), I thus had two to choose from and I chose Posterous.

Now. If something had been touted to you as the next big thing in social media, you’d expect it to be a bit special, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you? Or is it just me? Yes, of course you would. Well, here it is:

And no, don’t bother, because it isn’t.

Maybe it is me. Maybe I’m missing something. I read another post this morning about the wonderful world and uses of Twitter and how big companies like Dell and Pepsi and Coke…………………hold on a cotton-picking moment. Aren’t they the same three companies that are ALWAYS mentioned whenever someone wants to demonstrate how social media has been used to corporate advantage? Are there no other examples?

I can only draw one conclusion. And it’s the same one. Social media and social media marketing are another minor royal with no clothes on. Not even an Emperor, more a Duke of somewhere not-terribly-important. Posterous – and the acqusition of Friendfeed by Facebook are nothing more than the desperate attempts of those who are making a living from the chimaera to string that living out for a little longer.

Tell me I’m wrong.

2 thoughts on “Social media: Preposterous before…er…Posterous came along?

  1. You’re right, the examples so often quoted are tech or consumer brands. But in the US 22% of analysts admitted to using Twitter as part of the corporate fact finding. In turn many US companies have started using Twitter as part of their investor relations strategy. And not just the Coca Colas or Dells. Here’s a quote from Bryan Smith, head of digital media, corporate communications at Rio Tinto: “We initially trialed Twitter as a potential email alert replacement tool, but we now use it for more general corporate updates, particularly around our corporate site This includes letting people know of new video or other content, telling them where key documents will be placed and when, and giving advance notice of important dates coming up.”

    US web strategists Q4 have done some research on IR uses of Twitter, and the companies that are using it are Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, Barick Gold, Monsanto and so on. Interestingly, Coca Cola don’t use Twitter for shareholder communications.
    Communicate magazine wrote it up here –

    Hardly emperor’s new clothes – it’s effective use of communication tools to reach relevant audiences

    • Hi Andrew – thanks for taking the time to respond. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget to qualify what I write – the qualification is something along the lines of ‘do not ignore social media, it exists and thus will undoubtedly be used (at some level), however there are better ways of reaching your target audiences.’ Let’s stand back for a moment – why would you use Twitter to reach your analysts? They’ve all got Treos, or Blackberries, so just email them. The added benefit of using email is that you don’t have to shoehorn your message into 140 words. From this standpoint, those companies (and individuals) using Twitter are little more than fashion victims – it’s Shiny Object Syndrome.

      But, as I say, I’m not discounting social media – just trying to inject a bit of realism into the great debate.

      Off-topic, I posted about the comms industry recently – – and it’s really about the role of our trade media in building the reputation of the industry in the wider world and protecting the industry from its own excesses. Oh – and it really upset PR Week. (Result.)

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