Don’t climb Mt. Everest just because it is there

Managed to stumble out of bed in time to catch the breakfast session this morning (who knew there was a 6am in the morning!!?).

Patrick Baume of Media Monitors presented on how the news media landscape is changing with the advent of burgeoning social media channels.

First, some fun facts for you to digest between sips of your latte:

–       200m+ blogs worldwide

–       132m+ Facebook members

–       117m+ MySpace members

–       100m+ YouTube viewers (per month) viewing 6 billion+ videos (per month)

You might have heard through various outlets lately that no one is reading the paper anymore. Not so. According to Patrick, more people are consuming more media today than they were 5 years ago. Audiences are not dropping off.

So what are they consuming? Highlighting the stats above, it seems to be a hearty mix of new and traditional media. Interesting content borne out of social networks gets picked up and spread through the mainstream just as traditional media filters down through social channels, proving interesting content is more valuable than ever in this day and age.

Companies utilising this new form of media are seeing the immediate effects of customer involvement and participation with their brand, both positively and negatively. However, for every opportunity that abounds in communicating effectively online, threats inevitably lurk in the shadows (Wholefoods, anyone?). How do brands navigate the minefield?

For niche brands with web savvy customers, online communications should be at the core of their strategy. For everyone else, commons sense dictates that online communications should be part of an overall media strategy.

‘Social media is not like Mt. Everest. Do not use it just because it is there,’ explains Patrick when discussing whether companies should or should not delve into the latest online fashions ‘Think about how your message may be manipulated by the medium before communicating, not after’. Sage advice.

The advent of social media as a credible media platform does beg the question: is it beneficial or harmful to society? More information means more misinformation (take the Jeff Goldblum death rumours reported by Richard Wilkins for example) and means longer story cycles that probably should expire in their infancy (Chk-Chk-Boom girl etc).

Food for thought as I sip my coffee and peruse the latest headlines on Crikey whilst checking Twitter on my iPhone as I listen to the online radio broadcast from the ABC.

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.


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One Response to “Don’t climb Mt. Everest just because it is there”

  1. Mal Says:

    Hi Rob,

    Great post.

    Reminds me of this quote by Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist at Google…

    “Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. No one actually knows how. When finally done, there is surprise it’s not better.”

    It’s easy to forget how new a phenomenon social media is, particulalrly as it has become so pervasive in our lives. It will be many years I think before we fully understand the opportunities and pitfalls it presents and how we are as marketers can best leverage it.


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