Friday, July 13, 2007

MySpace copies Facebook; I say to CMOs:" "Don't be 'that guy'"

Trying to reverse the trend in membership, MySpace has added a new box to display members' "status" and "mood". Um, like, when did the 100MM social networking site become the "me too" of social networking sites? Oh, that's right -- when News Corp bought it.

It's so bad that people that've left MySpace for Facebook are now complaining about the bombardment of companies trying to infiltrate their world there. If you're a marketer looking to do something with Facebook, my advice is tread lightly or come strong with good ideas. Don't have a weak version of your site or app on Facebook that reproduces your app. It's pointless. Offer me something I can't get on your site.

Twitter has an app that shows what I just posted on their site, which is quite possibly the second most useless thing I've seen in the past 30 days. The first, of course, being Twitter. If I wanted to tell you what I'm doing then you'd either a) be here or b) because we're really friends I'd know because you told me directly, not me and your 3,000,000 "friends". Twitter is a supplement for real life conversations, very few of which are responded to or matter. Do you really give a shit what I did last night? If you did, then other than geography, you'd be here. Sure, it's great for voyeurs, ex-girlfriends and stalkers but as a tool it's mildly useless.

Let's be honest here -- because of marketer's actions and trying to beat the Street, the future of social networks is the fragmentation of social networks, which really sucks for large media buying companies and agencies that don't understand how this whole thing works.

To relate it to high school, marketers are the assholes from the cross-town rival school, barging in to the chill party, forcing their bad jokes and obnoxious persona on the community that just wants to have a good time. See, when the big sites "sell out" the cool kids will find another place to hang. It's inevitable, and unless you get it you're going to be chasing the cool kids from party to party, telling the same bad jokes, hoping they'll accept you. BTW -- They won't, and the band geeks kids won't respect you because you chased the cool kids so hard. Sure, you might get a few to bite and will report back huge impressions, but the reality is that you're damaging the brand long-term. Don't be that generational brand. Relating it to music, don't be NKOTB or Limp Bizkit.

Bottom line: Don't F the community for the short term glory and the sake of telling your boss or client that you get it too -- because you don't.

So I'm going to ask you, Mr. or Mrs. CMO, who's on a short leash - to not be "that guy". You know, the one Droz rips for wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see. You've become the scapegoat, with recent reports showing your lifespan's been shrunk down to 23 months. I understand that you want to make your mark, but the reality is that increasing the bottom line with insights, strategy and smart tactics are what works - not what makes headlines for right now... of course with no offense to those who've suckered sold and reported on all of those wonderful Second Life initiatives.

Trust me, your career and brand will thank you for it.


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