It is happening. Everywhere you turn, online and off-line, everyone is discussing or publishing stories about social media. The level of attention is akin to a loud noise created by a stampede. You can hear it in the distance but you can’t tell how big it really is.
A stampede implies a mass impulse among a crowd of people in which the herd (or crowd) collectively begins running with no clear direction or purpose. Stampedes are believed to originate from biological responses in the brains and endocrine systems
A large stampede will frequently eliminate anything in its path. The irony of a stampede is the historical response is to attempt to turn the moving mob into itself, so that it runs in circles rather than self-destructing by running over a cliff or into a river, or from damaging human life or property by overrunning objects,businesses and people in its path.
How Big Will the Social Media Stampede be in 2010?
To answer this simply ask yourself if the term, the stories and the awareness has increased in just the last six months. You should conclude yes. Then lets ask how much has the awareness, interest and demand for learning increased? Look at the chart to the left, over 600% increase in 2 short years through the end of 2009 and that is just scratching the surface of the marketplace.
Like most things new, people and businesses run towards it because it is the latest trend or market fad. The reality is that social media is neither rather is represents a “systemic shift” in how markets behave and will operate in the future. When a system shifts it creates a “gaping void” in knowledge of its meaning, value and intent because the “bandwagon effect” creates a stampede of interest, usage and mostly without a defined purpose or intent. Thus many, if not most, will run off the cliff and into the “river of destructive forces” and drown in their ignorance.
Drowning In Ignorance?
Yep, you heard me. When you jump into something that is over your head you can drown if you are not in the right condition. Your condition is relative to the knowledge you have about “the current, the depth and how well you can swim or stay afloat”. What do I mean?
Today most of the market is focused on using social technology as an extension of old marketing methods, pushing out messages. Even with overwhelming evidence that the old method is not what the market wants (96% of the ads on Facebook don’t click, 90% of corporate blogs are not conversational etc etc.) marketers continue down this path like a stampede headed for the cliff. Given this stampede the herd mentality has created the “bandwagon effect” which according to the data has the market moving swiftly chasing all things “social” without thinking about being or managing social.
Following the behavior of others reflects a pack mentality. Pack behavior is how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to human conduct during activities, such as using social media, and even everyday decision making, judgment and opinion forming. Unless we stop and think about the implications of what we do and how we do it we can find ourselves following the crowd over the cliff. Not thinking and following a crowd nowhere is the first indication of ignorance. Sorry but how else would you explain it?
The stampede is moving and the crowd is swelling. We will see the crowd grow in 2010. A few will step aside from the stampede and think. Most will follow the stampede over the cliff and drown. Which would you rather be?