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14 2009

The Elephant(s) In The Room

Posted in Social Media | 0 comments


photos provided by flickr/Edgar Thissen

The elephants are restless.

An elephant in the room is traditionally defined as an enormous, lurking issue that is painfully present in the room but everyone is afraid to address it.

Social media has its fair share.

Let me list what I believe are social media’s biggest elephant(s) in the room:

1. Elephant In The Room Number One:

Despite a wealth of information, advice and experts, the vast majority of individuals and companies are utterly confused by the social media phenomenom.

Is there anyone NOT on the Social media bandwagon?. The internet is currently being flooded with advice on how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, social bookmarking and your blog.  The advice is endless.  Yet the big irony is that, despite the avalanche of information, the confusion of the average, non-hyperconnected social media user is very very high.  Basic questions are still being asked such as How do I begin? What are the best tools for me? How do I integrate my social media team and strategy into my existing corporate structure?  How much can I really digest?  Or even more troubling questions such as Am I in control of the technology or is the technology in control of me?

2. Elephant in the Room Number Two

The social media landscape is long on tactics, short on vision.

Companies and individuals alike dart around like fireflys dipping into various social media, afraid they are going to miss the boat if they are not using a given tactic or tool.  But is there a method to the madness?  Not necessarily.  Without a vision, there can be no coherency, no true conversation and no stellar results.  The vision should be first, tactics second. In the social media world, it is often the other way around.

3. Elephant In The Room Number Three.

Social media is being implemented by corporations who are-at the core-anti-social.

This is the biggest elephant in the room.   Corporations traditionally have been the message makers. They have been in control.  Listening and dialogue has been confined to pristeen, antiseptic focus groups where their consumer has been grilled for their needs versus the consumers’ desires. The dialogue was for the company, by the company and about the company.

To automatically switch over to another paradigm of sharing, openness and a loss of control, is THE biggest challenge corporate social media will face.

4. Elephant in the Room Number Four

Social Media is currrently US centric when the real social media boom is happening outside of the United States.

If you look at the social media statistics, social media is sweeping the world off its feet.  Yet, the dialogue reminds decidedly dominated by US companies, US experts and US applications.   For those who begin to understand that social media has at long last fueled the international engine of the internet and that there great opportunities for consumers and companies alike.