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Social media’s steady slink into the shadows of the bottom line

July 27, 2014

It’s been such a shame to see the slow but steady demise of enthusiasm around social media in business these last few years. It seems the value of community has just not been able to be measured on the financial bottom line, and the results are unsurprising. Facebook went through an IPO and therefore charges for anything and everything that might be of value, corporate social networks have slowly diminished to nothing, and the all conquering advertising dollar appears to have won the day yet again.

After quite a few years getting just as enthusiastic about it as everyone else, I even joined a startup venture a few years ago to have a crack at turning the power of online community into a real way to connect people, communities and business. You would know of such ventures as the ‘social commerce’ phenomenon which has long since petered away.

Within the corporate environment, such great concepts as Yammer helped spur the creativity and sense of community within a big business – 80,000 companies joined Yammer in just 2 years, before being acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion and then, without enough emphasis or bottom line return from digital communities, Yammer was eventually closed off and merged into the Office suite of products. Talk about writing off the value of community!

At the global organisation I work with, where we have the Tibbr internal network (similar to yammer), and although I glance at that occasionally – it is rarely populated by anyone but senior execs with social media mandates and communications / marketing staff.

And for the business community at large – particularly small businesses – the real story is that social media no longer presents half the opportunity it once promised. The low cost, high potential of sharing your stories with an engaged community has gone. Led by Facebook and others intent on headed for IPO, social sharing seems to reach less and less people – unless the business or community group they’re talking about pays for it of course. For a while there, I even had to pay to promote my own status updates on Facebook to my personal friends if I wanted them to read it. A sign of things to come?

 Deliriant Isti Romani.






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