Fads, Profiles & Portrayals…The Social Media ‘Sell’


The question has been lurking out there, for a while now, and it is this: What has been started by Social Media…and what will it lead to? Other questions quickly follow: Is the corporate world over-relying on this new tool, with it taking on ‘shiny object’ overtones? And…what comes next?

In asking the question, Henry Blodget of SAI in his article, ‘Is Facebook a Fad?’, hints at the heart of this whole issue, one that will only burgeon from here. Is Facebook [or more, what Facebook represents] a Fad? Can Facebook continue to evolve in an iterative way, to keep users interested and itself viable going forward?

Couple this question in the business world with the ‘Big Brother’ aspects of knowing that your employer, or future employer, may be looking at everything you’ve ever posted, and you have to wonder ‘Where is All of This Going’? I see a kind of closed-loop environment going on right now: You, to be relevant, are expected to have a ‘Social Media Presence’, which is then looked at closely & relied on as an indicator of ‘Who You Are.’ While there is great value in a lot of ways from this [I freely admit to looking at many peoples’ online ‘Brand’], this situation is fraught with all kinds of interesting implications, and ripe to be taken advantage of.

It does not take a rocket scientist to build a completely selective, skewed “profile” of yourself, a portrayal that, if relied too much upon, could be subject to as much abuse as any other tool out there. Your online Personal Brand is really just a static transfer of data about yourself, as selected by you.

Don’t get me wrong on this: I am a big proponent in many ways, for what Social Media is, has been, and will be. But while ‘Everyone is Still Figuring it Out’, some rationality…and some rationale…needs to be injected. Yes, companies have a right to look at candidates & their employees as best as they can, to determine many areas of their skillset & talents, analyzing every squiggle in that person’s provided Social Graph. But is too much emphasis being placed on this?

For most people, what they portray of themselves, is just a part of them, not the whole picture. This point seems overlooked. To me, Social Media platforms are, or can be in a lot of ways, like going to a party or a Networking event…you only show people the side of you that you wish to show. So building a ‘Personal Brand’ for yourself online has value [as advocated by greats like Dan Schawbel, Brian Solis & others], but it is selective in nature, and yet I don’t see that really being recognized at all out there.

Companies that mistake this one side they ‘see’, for the whole person, are likely to do themselves an injustice. In any case, Social Media 2.0 will likely be an entirely new iteration/user experience/ environment, rendering this version quaint & obsolete.

Is ‘Facebook a Fad?’. It may very well be, until they create that 2.0 version of Social Media. Just like we know “they” are, already working on it even as I write this.

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~ by MindOnMediaSales on October 27, 2009.

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