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December 21, 2011



Just fatigue, and new apps/ priorities. Google+ took the time I used to allocate to TechCrunch and Masable. With Path, I can update Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare at the same time, plus my Path friends. Timeline is pulling me back to Facebook since I want to organize my trips, etc.

Kathy Sierra

You said, with respect to brands using social media for "customer engagement", "The pressure is on every brand to work hard to deliver content and experiences that they would find valuable."

That is useful advice for brands representing a product or service that IS content. But after that, we must question -- deeply -- the extent to which we are hurting both our brands AND our customers by trying to out-engage competitors (and of course when it comes to customer attention, then EVERYTHING is our competitor including the customer doing nothing at all). The very premise that a brand MUST "engage" customers in social media seems relevant for brands that don't have any other obvious competitive advantage. THAT is what brands ought to spend more time working hard at. Fix what is fundamentally wrong with your product or service such that the only way you can "win" is to suck customers into spending more of their scarce/precious attention/time resources engaging with your content.

The great products, services, causes, etc. encourage and enable us to spend our time doing more of what we REALLY want to do, and that is almost NEVER, "engaging more with your brand". There are major exceptions, of course... If by "content and experiences", the brand marketing is helping me become better at something I really want to become better at, that's a potentially different story.

The social media fatigue is a reflection of people recognizing that once the novelty is gone, we all have limited time to give. To me, most brands that are actively trying to "engage" me simply to benefit from "more engagement" are not my friends. If they were, they would be asking what I am doing "engaging" in their gamified/sticky activities when I COULD be taking a walk, playing with my kids, or coding the next amazing app.

Alison Byrne Fields

You, my friend, are so right when you suggest that Colony's definition of "social" is insanely narrow (okay, the "insane" part was my editorializing.)

Putting "social" into such a narrow slice of activity misses the mark entirely on what is truly a transformation in how people interact with peers, brands, family, friends, candidates, issues, you name it.

I'm not a Kool Aid drinker: I think most brands are absolutely clueless about social, the abundance of social media "experts" is an embarrassment to our industry and the rush to build a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/whatever presence when you don't know WHY you are doing so is idiotic.

My line to clients (yeah, I have lines) is that the social web is not a trend, but it sure as hell is trendy (thoughtless crowd following.) While, ultimately, Facebook could someday go away, user/consumer behavior and expectations have changed and there's no going back.

We gave the little bastards the keys to the car and they're not giving them back.

Thank you for your brilliance. And have a great holiday.

John Bell

Kathy appreciate your calling out "engage with brands" as a questionable goal or activity and possibly marketers pablum. But I do think any brand who delivers some relevant experience or content (deemed valuable by the individual) via utility, information or entertainment can enhance people's lives and strengthen loyalty even if they are not a content brand. I take it for granted that we are simultaneously making products and services better and better and trying to deliver satisfaction and more on that level. And yes, time is the scarce commodity and brands shouldn't fool themselves that their goal is to occupy all of someone's time (as if they could).

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