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There’s been a lot of conversation bouncing around the blogs about social media snake oil (people jumping on the bandwagon of the social media craze) and selling things (ideas & services) that might not be true. David Armano a social media evangelist wrote a post on: Life after Social Media Snake Oil pointing out some of the comparisons between the web (Boom) and the Social Media (boom).

Below is my take on his post – and the conversation in general. I would also go back and take a look at his original post on this and many of the comments and feedback he received.

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It is very possible to make comparisons between social media and the internet boom.

Both deal with new technologies and a new way for people to interact. A comparison can also be made by the people selling and delivering this work. During the internet boom you had a lot of graphic designers migrating over to web design and a lot of marketing people selling web. A final comparison could be made between the structure of the web (best practices) and those (best practices) of social media – still being defined. Even further between the tools used to design and deliver the web (wireframes, flash) and those of social media.

With all the comparisons there are also some differences that I wanted to point out:

The web, created it’s own BOOM and you could even be more specific by saying that eCommerce was responsible for that BOOM rather than corporate website development. Social media has no BOOM attached to it. Sure you could say that there is a buzz type boom, but the big dollars are not there yet (on average only 5% of marketing budgets account for social media initiatives).

There were stronger proponents for the web, than there are for social media. Yes, a ton of companies are doing social media but the extent that they are doing it and doing it well is very small compared to the web. I attribute this to eCommerce once again. At start of the web (presence) was most important when eCommerce rolled along (selling product) drove the appeal. You could point out that we are in the (presence) stage of social media, but are we really? That is why I cite this as a difference.

Social networking has always been with us, long before the web started.

The point I’m trying  to make is that I believe that social media could go two different routes. It could gradually develop just like the web did with: very defined best practices, strong job roles (both internally and externally), and significant budget dollars behind it.

Or it could evolve into something completely different right?

Something we still don’t know or can’t foresee. I believe Twitter is a great example of this. No one envisioned that Twitter would become what it is today (hashtags, video, lists, pictures, tinyurl) but it has. It evolved.

I also struggle with the fact that we as social media caretakers have to ask ourselves the question:

Is social media a channel, a technology, a way of thinking, or something else?

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