Without Theory About “Social” We Continue To Copy

by Jay Deragon on 01/18/2013

social theory

If we copy each other’s success without understanding it we limit the knowledge needed to do better.

There are many “social media promotions” that talk about best practices. The “social gurus” make the event rounds presenting their latest findings. It is a lot like dumping sugar water on the sidewalk and watching swarms of ants rushing to the scent of sugar.

What do people learn from these events? The majority learns what the guru’s discovered then they walk away doing the same thing (and follow the guru waiting for them to reveal their next revelation). Other gurus learn how other gurus attract large audiences (followers) and they go off and create their own “batch of best practices”.  The sugar water being sold usually has labels such as:

  1. The Ten Best Social Media Practices
  2. How To Attract a Large Following
  3. The 3 Best Social Business Practices
  4. How to Increase “Likes” on Your Facebook Fan Page
  5. LinkedIn…Facebook….Twitter…..Pin Interest….etc.etc.  Best Practices

It is also no secret that blog post whose titles contain similar statements as 1 – 5 above attract the most attention.  The market is being led by the experiences of others, not by knowledge.

Knowledge is not static and because of “all things social” the rate of change in knowledge is accelerating like never before. Thus what is considered as a “best practice” today becomes irrelevant tomorrow (literally).

Knowledge depends on theory. Information is not knowledge. Experience teaches nothing without theory. Practice makes permanent, not perfect. Copying examples does not lead to knowledge.   Today’s “theories” about all things social have become captive of marketers propagating the latest flavored sugar water.

We Are All Guilty of Drinking the Sugar Water

I have to admit that I have been attracted to the proclamations of the “guru’s” and their ability to propagate information that appears as knowledge.  The information is interesting, entertaining and at times relevant. However, I, as many of you are, am seeking knowledge to elevate our own theories about the systemic impact of all things social beyond the marketing front.

Social is much larger than a tactic or channel to increase sales. Today is a transformational point in time with clear and present shifts in economics, politics, markets, culture and consumer behavior. It is likely that these shifts represent a change in theories from the past to new knowledge pointing to relevant theories that are shaping our future.

The future can either be a copy of the past or an entirely new world of possibilities.  The choice is ours.

{ 1 comment }

kim westmoore January 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

good article!!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: