The Social Media Bubble

I’m using this blog entry to share with you a post I made on a financial services / trading site – where they posed a question regarding the potential bursting of the social media bubble. My response:

The current social media world reminds me of the automobile industry in the early 1900’s. At one point I believe we had well over 300 car manufacturers. And, back in the early 20th century, standards were in flux, target markets were varied, and no one was sure what side of the road to drive on (we still don’t).

Now there are a few dozen, world wide. A few for each market. Dodge and Chevy generally serve the middle-class market. Then you have specific markets for trucks and SUVs, and of course the high-end models like BMW and MB. Just to name a few.

My point is, we went from 300, to a manageable amount to serve various markets. But, we don’t have a single car manufacturer serving all drivers. (read: Facebook) And, I don’t see that happening in the social media world.

The bursting of the bubble will be the consolidation from the hundreds of social media sites, or de facto models, to a handful to serve specific social groups.

Someone mentioned LinkedIn. They will survive the chaos, as they have a specific niche (sorry for the trite buzzword), and they seem to have a reasonably sustainable financial model. Other, targeted, social media sites will also tap a root and survive.

However, on the big stage, where the real battle lies, I think we are in for some real surprises. Since I’m using the car manufacturing scenario, we are going to have some more Edsels. MySpace being the first, and in the next few years, Facebook will most likely be next. Sure, you can create subgroups of friends or circles on the mainstream sites. But, it is difficult to build a network, as with LinkedIn, unless you already know these folks. The niche sites will, and are, easily surpassing this hurdle. We risk hitting a wall where we live in our own little worlds with our own little circles… with little chance of expanding our knowledge or reach.

An evening on Facebook is like going to a concert and trying to have 30 conversations, while trying to watch the show. The model is going to implode upon itself. Right now, they are without a competent CEO, and his ego will most likely outlive the transfer of power to a CEO who will move the company forward, as opposed to left to right and then right to left. (Not politically, but simply lacking direction.) And, the final death knell is their inability to push ads to mobile devices. Personally, I run ads on Facebook, and I’m only reaching those of us still sitting on our butts doing business in a chair, and not on the road where business is taking place today.

About Ron Woodbury

Owner and Founder of Ron Woodbury Consulting.