The End of Social Media 1.0

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					The End of Social Media 1.0
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at and principal of research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed books on social business The End of Business
as Usual and Engage!

The debut of a series introducing The End of Business as Usual…

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I would like to talk about an inflection point in social media that requires pause. I am not suggesting
that there will be a social media 2.0 or 3.0 for that matter. Nor do I see the term social media
departing our vocabulary any time soon. After all, it was recently added to the Merriam-Webster
dictionary. Instead, what I would like to discuss is the end of an era of social media that will force
the industry to mature. It won’t happen on its own however. Evolution will occur because consumers
demand it and also because you’re willing to stake your job on it.

From Social Network Fatigue to Deals Fatigue to Follow Fatigue, businesses are facing a
crossroads at the intersection of social and media. Following the path of media continues a long
tradition of what Tom Foremski refers to as “Social Media as Corporate Media.” Following the path of
social is a journey towards relevance.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
As Foremski states, “Social media is not corporate media…if corporations try to turn social media
into a corporate sales or marketing channel then they risk losing the naked conversations, and the
insight into customer behaviors.”

His point is that there’s more to social media than clever campaigns and rudimentary conversations.
Talking isn’t the only thing that makes social media social. Just like adding Facebook, Twitter and
other sharing buttons will not magically transform static content into shareable experiences.
Listening, learning and adapting is where the real value of social media will show its true
colors. Listening leads to a more informed business. Engagement unlocks empathy and innovation.
But it is action and adaptation that leads to relevance. And, it never ends.

Indeed, there really are more examples of media than there are that of social media in many of the
celebrated examples out there today. Even though distributing corporate media in social channels
sets the stage for dialogue, there really isn’t much that’s social about it. In fact, study of many social
media initiatives have led me to believe that much of what we benchmark against is actually anti-
social in its approach.

The future of social media comes down to one word, “value.” Without it, businesses will find it much
more difficult to earn and retain friends, fans and followers (3F’s). As adoption of social networks
soared in previous years, growth is now plateauing. eMarketer estimates that Facebook growth will
hit only 13.4% this year after experiencing 38.6% acceleration in 2010 and a staggering 90.3%
ascension the year before. Facebook isn’t alone in its sobriety either. The rate of Twitter user
adoption fell from 293.1% growth in 2009 to 26.3% this year.

Don’t get me wrong, people are still embracing social networks. However, the severity of competition
for consumer attention is now unmistakable. Once liberal with their likes, Retweets, and follows,
consumers are becoming much more guarded and realistic. Therefore brands will now have to more
effectively listen to markets to make more informed decisions about how social media impacts the
enterprise and in turn customer experiences.

The GlobalWebIndex “Wave 5 Trends” report delivers insight into how consumers are using social
networks and technology in general. According to the report, growth in social network usage among
16- to 24-year-olds in the US is stalling. And, in a few countries usage within this group is declining.
In fact, one of the key insights shared in the report is subduing, “Facebook is no longer the one stop
shop for the total internet experience.”

However, the report is not a harbinger of social networking’s demise. It is merely a lens into how
behavior is changing. This is important for any business to realize that business as usual in social
networks is in fact anything but.

Between June 2009 and June 2011, the following changes were noted in Facebook activity:

- Uploading videos is experiencing a modest increase around the world up 5% in the U.S. and 7.6%

- Installing apps is on the decline, down 10.4% in the U.S. and 3.1% worldwide.

- Sending virtual gifts may not be gifts worth giving after all, with numbers declining 12.9% in the U.S.
and 7.5% around the world.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Twitter on the other hand is a rich exchange for information commerce, where links become a form
of digital currency. For example, 45% share an opinion about a product or brand more than once per
day. Another 34% of Twitter users also share a link about a product or brand more than once per

When asked what consumers want from brands, knowledge and entertainment soared to the top of
the list. Additionally, The GlobalWebIndex Wave 5 Trends report tells us that online consumers want
brands to provide services that fit with their lifestyle. They also want brands to listen to them.

What can we learn of this?

1) Businesses must first realize that there’s more to social media than just managing an active
presence, driven by an active editorial calendar. Listening is key and within each conversation lies a
clue to earn relevance and ultimately establish leadership.

2) Consumers want to be heard. Social media will have to break free form the grips of marketing in
order to truly socialize the enterprise to listen, engage, learn, and adapt. You can’t create a social
business if the business is not designed to be customer-centric from the outside-in and the inside-

3) Social media becomes an extension of active listening and engagement. Strategies, programs,
and content are derivative of insights, catalysts for innovation, and messengers of value. More
importantly, social media becomes a platform for the brand and the functions that consumers deem
mandatory. From marketing to HR to service to R&D, brands will expand the role they play in social
networking to make the acts of following and sharing an investment in a more meaningful

The end of Social Media 1.0 is the beginning of a new era of business, consumer engagement, and


The End of Business as Usual will be available in the coming weeks. You can pre-order now at
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | 800CEOREAD.

Part 1 – Digital Darwinism, Who’s Next
Part 2 – Social Media’s Impending Flood of Customer Unlikes and Unfollows
Part 3 – Social Media Customer Service is a Failure

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and
culture. His current book, The End of Business as Usual helps companies rethink
business strategies to lead, not react to, the new consumer revolution. His previous
book Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and
measure success in the social web.

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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

Description: From Social Network Fatigue to Deals Fatigue to Follow Fatigue, businesses are facing a crossroads at the intersection of social and media.