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How Long Will The Social Media Hype Last?

June 28, 2010

Social media is a hot topic and there is a high element of hype. Social Media Hype CycleMarketing companies and brands are working out how to implement all the different platforms and are experimenting with different strategies and tactics.

Facebook is being used to promote content, run competitions and listen and engage with customers.

Twitter is treated with disdain by most of the uninitiated but others are using it for sales promotions and customer service to good effect and bloggers are using it for content promotion.

Brands are using social media monitoring suites, tools and apps for monitoring buzz about their brands so as to quickly answer and respond when sentiment goes pear shaped. (If you write something negative about a brand on your blog and tweet it …don’t be surprised if you get a tweet or blog comment in response.. I have, both from Ford and General Motors).

YouTube was just about personal videos, now it is about video blogging and is applied to websites and blogs in creative ways for companies and brands that was never part of the plans when the platform was initially established.

So where is all this hype going? Can we predict how long the ‘Hype’ will last and can we use that information to our advantage.

Gartner issues an annual ‘Hype Cycle‘ of emerging technologies and will be issuing their latest next month but I think is worth having a look at last years and see how the technologies are placed.

The Hype Cycle Of Emerging Technologies

Gartner Hype Cycle Of Emerging Technologies 2009

So what are the years to mainstream adoption for the hottest trending and social media technologies based on Gartner’s ‘Hype Cycle’?

  • Corporate blogging – 2 to 5 years and on the slope of enlightenment
  • Microblogging (Twitter) – 2 to 5 years but on the downside of the peak of inflated expectations and is experiencing the inevitable disillusionment around ‘channel pollution’, but is starting to earn its place alongside other channels such as email, blogging and wikis
  • Online Video (YouTube and others) – 2 to 5 years and in the peak of inflated expectations
  • Social software suites – 2 to 5 years but according to Gartner”Within businesses, there is strong and rapidly growing evidence of experimentation and early production deployments. The movement from point tools to integrated suites has brought broader adoption but also high expectations. Disillusionment is beginning based on the realization that, even with a suite, much work must be done to build an effective social software deployment“.
  • Wikis – 2 to 5 years and in the slope of enlightenment
  • E-Book readers – 2 to 5 years but in the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’

If you are interested in a more in depth look at this topic Gartner has a book called ‘Mastering the Hype Cycle

The challenge for companies is timing their decisions to ensure that they are not too soon or too late. Maybe it is  better to be a little too early rather than too late before your competitors have the jump on you.

So how can you apply your decisions and innovation so that you invest in the right social media technologies before it is too late?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2010 3:46 pm

    Nice post, Jeff,

    I would not want to make this an exact science and even exact science relies on hyp(e)otheses… so, my unscientific approach to using social media is this: go with the flow.

    It’s quite interesting that some companies are only now waking up to social media marketing.
    Marketing will never be the same, worldwide.

    What to invest in? Use your inTuition to decide on that, I’m sure it will guide you!

    EnJOY a sparkling day!


  2. June 30, 2010 3:19 pm

    Really interesting post.
    It’s really hard to tell what the next big thing is going to be, especially with so many new innovations coming out.
    While I semi-agree with what Lydia said about going with the flow, I also believe in trying new things. I like to check out all new social innovations that come out and then after playing with them for a bit deciding if it works for me or not. I think this is an approach that companies should be taking. Try new things, find what works for you and your company, run with it. If you can use one platform best for your company and use it well, people will follow. That said, you also have to try and be where your customers are, so like Linda said “go with the flow”. The best part about trying new things is that you may lead the flow to somewhere new.


    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  3. July 1, 2010 7:42 pm

    At this point, with everything changing so dynamically, I certainly am glad I can get the scoop from you on the latest and greatest. Thanks for staying on top of all of this. Your posts are so incredibly informative and right on the money.

    I will definitely get a copy of Hype Cycle. I had never heard of it before. Thanks for the scoop!

  4. Michelle permalink
    July 2, 2010 8:35 am

    This made me think “Nudge”, the book I’m reading by Thaler & Sunstein about how decisions are never as neutral as we’d like to believe ; marketers are capitalizing on the fact that we pay attention to what other people are doing and tend to follow, even if it’s not necessarily the best choice.

    Monitoring the web can help companies keep an eye on what their competitors are doing and how their own projects are faring, but it’s important to keep in mind that social media is a tool. Different platforms become more or less popular as they catch on via word-of-mouth, but I’m sure (looking at your blog) that you’re one of the first to point out that a business has to look internally at its own goals before looking externally for tools that will help them reach those goals.


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