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Monday, March 15, 2010

Is Social Media the New Hula Hoop?

You've probably seen or perhaps even used the video "Is Social Media a Fad?" in presentations to give your audiences some measure of the power of social media and its increasing ability to allow people the world over to work, collaborate and play.

In a simplistic counterpoint to the original vid, Andrew David from Tippingpoint Labs suggests that social media is exactly that, a fad - but one with the staying power to hang around into the future.

Personally, I'm not sure why he would ever compare the depth and breadth of social media usefulness to the single function utility of the hula hoop we played with as kids. Ok, I admit there was one other use. If you tossed the hoop in front of you with a healthy backspin, it would boomerang back into your hand. That was cool.

But really, can there be a bigger apple-orange analogy here?

I'd love to get your take on this 95-second argument. Does David's video response serve up a grain of truth or does it miss the mark entirely?


  1. I agree, it is a stretch, but I guess he is saying that hula-hoops were tremendously popular for awhile - a fad, but are still around and used. Social networks are also very popular, and will no doubt be around for a long time, but not at current levels. I don't think the analogy speaks to utility at all, just the 'staying power' aspect (that is my take on it, anyway!).

  2. Thanks for including the video. Appreciate the discussion. Mike's right. I am hoping to help people remember that social media isn't the only thing we should be focusing on. Social media is a fad - by definition- and I do think it will be around forever. I just believe Eric qualmann didn't really think about what a fad is.

    Thanks again guys! I'm so glad you're discussing this.

  3. First off... hula hoops are still relevant... observe...
    Secondly... Facebook gets more hits per day than google. I'll agree it's a fad, if you agree that it's a fad that will last at least 50 years.

  4. What he fails to recognize is that social media has many incarnations. Will MySpace be around in five years, let alone 20? Likely not. But will the idea of using technology to connect people exist in some form or another? Absolutely. Will marketing continue to change from preaching at to interacting with? yes, if it's smart.

  5. I appreciate all your comments, and I'm so glad Andrew joined us on this one.

    I still can't accept that social media is a fad. If we were talking about a particular tool such as Twitter or Facebook or Foursquare, yes I can see the term fad being applied. What's here today may indeed burn itself out tomorrow.

    But the social media landscape is flush with ideas to help people connect - it's not limited to any one tool. Of course, it's inevitable that some - perhaps even some of our favourites - will fade away. But others will spring up in their place.

    The idea of social media itself has staying power. And the cognitive surplus that has been unleashed as society leaves passive TV viewing for more social ways of interacting is going to be with us for a long time.

    I don't think we're anywhere near reaching the full penetration of social media into people's lives. Many who haven't yet adopted it will. And the digital natives are growing up to rear another generation of social-savvy offspring.

    In addition, third world economies are right now generating middle classes, more and more of whom will jump into social media in coming decades.

    Social networks will also insinuate themselves into our lives as the powerful video "Trillions" illustratrates.

    I don't mean to sound like a evangelist here, because yes, Andrew, there are other things to focus on and SocMed is definitely not our generation's answer to everything. But it does help people collaborate on answers.

    And it meets the need for collaboration so well, that I really can't see diminishing anytime soon.