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How to Survive the Social Crash

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I have to leave the house right now so I’m going to publish this post early. It is not polished, but I think the ideas are strong. If that means it gets ignored, whatever.

I am not a real investor– just a writer who wants to survive from one bubble to the next.

But today, I am pretty confident a social crash is coming. Whether you agree or not, it’s important that you read this.

We think all of this social stuff is building value for us– building wealth for some and just well-being for others. This is somewhat true– but I suspect we are overvaluing what it can do for us– most of us anyway.

It is true that there is a massive population going social online, but this growth might just be building value for established companies like Facebook. A few of us are making money off of it, but many people are at the bottom of this pyramid and will be left without anything to show for it at the end.

Because most people are not financially invested in this space, the bubble will not leave people broke. But it will leave people thinking they’ve wasted a few years of their lives.

If you’re like most people, you did not start here early, which means you’re closer to the bottom of the pyramid than the top. So it’s possible you’re being had.

But I want you to avoid this, and I will endeavour here to show you how.

But first, why.

“Friends” are valueless. Well, maybe. I’ve written before that audience is an asset, but is it really? Most of your “friends” on Facebook, if you’re a typical social media douche, will never do anything for you except social proof your popularity, an effect which is blunted over time anyway as more people realize the reality of the situation.

I view the hyperinflation of friends the same way I see the valuation and false growth of companies based on inflated/purchased ComScore traffic stats. They convince those with money to spend, or those not savvy enough to tell the difference. But eventually valuations become so unreasonably high that they are unbelievable to even the uneducated.

This collective “A-ha!” moment is when the bubble bursts. It’s when we all call bullshit on online friends, comments, and connections as a reason to know someone– online, that is.

Most startups have no business model. I worked for a startup in the late 90′s with a great idea but no business model or revenue (it was an early Google Maps type thing). It was very interesting but the decline was evident. The model was clearly to get bought.

I had a discussion with an angel/VC type the other day who is very smart. I asked him why people do this instead of, say, real estate. One of his answers was “ego.”

I think another may be that people now feel that anyone can do it. This collective sentiment is based on watching regular guys be able to develop massive followings, but it’s common to all bubbles to find an “anyone can do it” mentality. Think housing, dot-com, and many others.

Everyone is looking for the “next” Facebook or Twitter. This is probably the question I get the most often from conference attendees, as many of you probably know. Possibly many of you are looking for it or are trying to build it. God bless you and I hope you do well.

But it’s likely that the “next” anything will not be social at all.

What’s really interesting is that Facebook, Twitter, etc actually benefit from this inflation. Their valuations are not public and therefore don’t impact the public at large, but those of us inside here will definitely feel it, especially if we work in the space.

Now to the next question. How do you avoid a crash?

You must exit. This means convert to cash.

Your assets must be diversified. You cannot sit there with your Twitter expertise– you, and your company, must do more.

Your assets must be real. They must be outside this space– or if they’re in it, they must provide actual profit.

If you do not have the ability to do any of these things, your personal stock may plunge– soon.

There are those who know how to really turn networks into an income stream, by the way. They are called SALESPEOPLE.

Do you consider yourself a salesperson? This is not most of us. Most people are anxious about turning weak ties into money, but for some, it may be necessary.

So your options are to step out, or to learn to create value from what you have built by stretching your social contract to include selling to them.

Final note. During the dot-com bubble, some very interesting people emerged. I think of Frank Schilling, who is quoted as saying that, after the dot-com crash, everyone just went back to using the internet every single day. And this is where Frank picked up over 300,000 dropped, and valuable, domain names– while everyone thought they were valueless.

Now, he lives in the Cayman Islands earning… well, let’s just say a lot.

There will always be people who survive crashes, or who grab undervalued assets and use them effectively to make a killing, one way or another.

But there are many more people who think “everything will be fine” and who walk along with people all the way off the cliff.

The choice as to which kind you will be, of course, is yours.

* Filed by Julien at 11:18 am under risk, social media, strategy


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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48 Responses to “How to Survive the Social Crash”

  1. Josh Says:

    Julien,
    Appreciate your thought on this. Especially appreciate the tribute to tulip bulbs at the top.

    This is probably the current biggest delta between perception and reality.

    -Josh

  2. Christine Taylor Says:

    Thank you for this post. I believe this is a very timely warning. I believe, as more PR and AD agencies are hiring “just out of school”students to staff up their agencies to offer social media management more mistakes will be made. Big ones. As an agency that has made those mistakes and learned from them, our philosophy is, if a client JUST wants social media setup, be a Twitter account or Facebook Fan page,we pass them along. If it is not part of the overall marketing plan it will fail. And it will be our fault. Good message.

    Christine Taylor
    JTMarCom

    • Julien Says:

      Christine, it’s also true that as more agencies do that and it becomes more obvious it becomes devalued. So a PR agency that used to do this and profit off of it is now a fucking joke… an “email expert” if you will.

  3. Joshua | The Minimalists Says:

    I’ve thought of this whole online thing (espeically the social aspects of it, including blogging) as pyramid for a while, whereas the vast numbers of people at the bottom—and the bottom can be defined in many different ways—are essentially going to be hosed, used like an Amway “salespeople” in the 90s. I consider myself a salesperson, but I have 12 years of sales and sales management experience—real world experience, that is—to hang my hat on. That said, I don’t call myself a sales person or a manager. I’m a leader. I find ways to add value to other people—to contribute to them in a meaningful way—thus, as you say, turning weak ties into money. And you do this with your content too, Julien; your content (i.e., you) contributes to other people, it is meaningful to many people, and so you have nothing to worry about. Other people do, however, have much to worry about if they are not adding real value (I’d posit to you that this is true for the real world as well).

    Julien, this is a thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing.

    Joshua Millburn

  4. Brandon Says:

    Interesting POV, Julien. This really underscores the importance of developing strategies for connecting with people that are tool-agnostic. I suspect there are a lot of people and companies that have bet the farm on their Facebook or Twitter profiles, but if either of those networks fell out of fashion tomorrow, they would be caught like deer in the headlights.

    Your point about salespeople is well taken. If people are not buying, it doesn’t matter how many of them you ‘have’ in your camp. I’ve never really obsessed over numbers of friends, followers, etc. I’m more concerned with connecting with the people and organizations with similar passions that I want to work with. A handful of these is way more powerful than a bunch of people on a friend/follower count that I would never work with in a million years.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  5. Rufus Dogg Says:

    I found myself asking why you spent so much time on writing something so obvious, but then realized a lot of people didn’t think the tulip bubble, housing bubble or the dot-com bubble were obvious as well. :-)

    I was talking social media strategy with a long-term client the other day and he wanted to know the ROI, the specific strategy, blah, blah, blah. (he forgot for a moment he was talking with ME) I just told him we were going to just answer phones, make pizza.. answer phones, make pizza.. and everything will be fine.
    http://www.dogwalkblog.com/businesses-that-look-small-are-huge-as-long-as-they-stick-to-the-knitting.html
    What I meant for him was write solid blog posts, do solid SEO, use social media channels and keep doing it.. no hype, no bullcrap promos… nothing that contribute to the bubble…

  6. elliott f. Says:

    this post really had me thinking about how afraid everyone is. if you’re not asking julien, “what comes next?”, he’s telling you to duck and run.

  7. John McLachlan Says:

    YES. I think you may be right. We may be in a growing bubble. The pyramid thing is so true and so is your comment about being a salesperson (which I’m not) and it’s had me thinking of retreating recently and asking why I bother with some aspects of what I’m doing online.

    It’s all very alluring, this building of “social capital” and it sure can take you off the ball of how you make money. Rufus said in an earlier comment about his client “make pizza, answer the phone, make pizza, answer the phone” which is great advice for most of us. We’ve been looking at recipe books about how to make pizza lately far more than we’ve been answering the phone taking the orders.

    And then there are those “teach” social media. Drives me nuts but I’m glad I’m not counting on that business. I could be wrong. We could all be wrong.

    You’ve done it again with an insightful and challenging post. Now, back to my client meeting in 10 minutes.

  8. NomadicNeill Says:

    The internet is a manifestation of the ever increasing connectivity amongst humans.

    And people still have the same psychology as they had 10, 100, 1000 years ago.

    It will manifest itself in different ways, but the above will certainly be a case for a long while.

    It’s just the means of delivery that changes from time to time.

  9. Ron Ploof Says:

    Cool post, Julien. And thanks for the link!

    Before I focus my attention on business audiences, I wanted to share with you one of my father’s favorite sayings.

    “If you can go through this life and count five true friends, five non-family members who will be there–no questions asked–in your hour-of-need, then you are a very fortunate person.”

    In difficult times, real friends rush in. As someone who has experienced couple of these moments, I found myself shocked by who actually rushed in and who just vanished. Take a look through your Facebook friends and see how many fit Dad’s definition. The experience is humbling.

    Which leads me to the business audience. The value of today’s audience must be measured in quality not quantity. In the old days, we bought media based-on raw numbers, because advertising is inherently inefficient. The theory was that the more spaghetti thrown against the most walls, the higher the probability of something sticking.

    The distribution channels available to businesses today change the game. We don’t need large “generic” audiences anymore. Rather, businesses need the “right” audiences, consisting of people who want their products and services. The way to attract those people is to create useful content that helps them make purchasing decisions–which, frankly, is the ultimate business relationship.

    In other words, I’d rather have an audience of 10 solid customers than 30,000 “friends.”

  10. Lynette Young Says:

    This is exactly why I stick with tech. It’s always needed, but what people *do* with it changes. Twenty years ago I was running wires between two computers so they could ‘talk’, now I run ‘wires’ between companies & people. End points and data are different, but my tools just evolve. No biggie. I’ll survive.

  11. Martyn Chamberlin Says:

    Now THIS is a post I can truly get behind, Julien. You’re starting to sound like me. You’ve been reading too many Problogger articles. Oh, and you’re hanging out on Chris Brogan’s blog waaay too much too. I love it.

    Yep, friends are valueless in business. If they’re not helping your bottom line, you’ve got to terminate them. That’s not being mean, it’s just life. Grow up, people.

    So…we need to figure out how to find a business model? I’m glad to see you say that Julien. But I remind you, your blog doesn’t have an extremely direct ROI. You could be making big money if you wanted to. But you’re not.

    How do YOU plan to survive the social crash, Julien? Are you going to practice what you preach and convert to cash? Don’t just talk – do something. Put your butt where your mouth is. :-)

    Social crash is coming, sure as eggs. It’s time to get radical. Starting today.

  12. Lance Anderson Says:

    This piece seems pretty spot on to me. In a much different way, I’ve been singing a similar tune…

  13. Ian Wright Says:

    Hi Julien, very interesting post, like any fast growing areas online there is always a period of crash and burn and then consolidation.

    As in all business areas if you have highly experienced and successful staff and offer quality advice at cost effective pricing you will come through the envitable consolidation in Social Marketing.

    Having worked for major media companies and agencies in marketing I have a glowing feeling inside that everything will be okay for businesses who treat their customers like they would their own personal successful company.

    Social media is changing society and there maybe a crash and burn scenario in some areas of the services offered within this marketplace. However there are fundamental changes going on in society and marketing will have to adapt even more to succeed in the future.

  14. Susan Giurleo Says:

    AGREE! Friends don’t make money from friends and eyeballs/readers aren’t customers/clients.

    Social anything is a tool that we can use to do business, but they are not businesses in and of themselves (unless you are FB and Twitter).

    Converting a group of vaguely engaged people to buy something is the real secret sauce and not many people have those skills, or the desire to be the salesperson.

    I encourage people to have a reason, a focus and a plan before even jumping into social media. Otherwise,they’re just standing at the water cooler talking about their weekend plans….

  15. Nei Grando Says:

    Julien, Thank you for the WARNING, but I really think everything will be fine, if people really try to understand social media at all. And for me:
    - Web 2.0 is already a success
    - There are really great blogs with all kind of topics
    - People have now more information then ever
    - People are more connected then ever
    - Networking always will be important, personaly and professional speaking
    - Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing are converging and becoming more mature
    - The society is changing for better, more transparency, more trustability, more integration
    - We have more power to express ourselves and to communicate to others then ever
    - All company sizes are learning better how to communicate with their partners, colaborators, customers, final users, …, and even get more profit with this

    But you are right, there are one think the Social Media related Startups must take care about: The Business Model, the real market, the competitors, how they will really get profit, …

    @neigrando

  16. Paul Says:

    So will you be removing the tweet button at the end of this article then? :)

  17. Paul Rubillo Says:

    Hi Julien,

    Great Post. The BS and hype in the market surrounding social media and the web is immense. You have VCs that are magically creating higher valuations out of thin air. Mark Cuban recently wrote about the “pyramid scheme” in VC land and it is making the late 90′s look tame. My piece of advice to entrepreneurs out there is to read the post above and build real businesses that are focused on actually making money. Otherwise, you will be be left without a chair when the music stops.

  18. alec Says:

    EBITDA … that was the word during the dot-com-bomb among others. rising reas estate prices was the mantra in the last decade ….

    when companies have unjustified valuations as a multiple of non-existant earnings as they once did in the 90′s , or rosy projections during the real estate boom-bust ( tulips as well). one has to wonder where is the justification for these valuations. why do we through common sense out the window …

    some will always survive and make tons of money, most will be like the majority of my PR clients fro the dot-bmb days, a punchline for a joke.

    so what to do?

    cash out
    have an exist strategy
    constantly re-invent yourself and your skills
    know how to read a balance sheet and see through the BS-EBIDTA and other buzz word speak thta is a sure sign someone either drank the Kool Aid or has no clue (read Cluetrain manifesto)

    that’s what i idid during the last 2 bubbles and will do with this one ….. and while i don;t have a place in the Caymans, we do have a beach place in the west coast of florida ….

    enjoy the bubble …. @alecjr

  19. David Jacobs Says:

    You are echoing something I have been all about from the start. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in this game for awhile as a very early podcaster. Things were more clear then. The social services were great tools to promote our podcasts and gain listeners. Yes, tools to promote. Nothing more, nothing less. One of my fundamental tenants is that while the social tools are great and cool and interesting it doesn’t change a thing. Business is still business. The bedrock business principles hold true and my job, in all reality, is to make your phone ring. It should be the goal of all marketing really but it’s easy to get lost in all the fluff on top.

    • Julien Says:

      Hey David, you may not remember, but I was there podcasting in 2004 as well. I have the same sentiment. The web, or social web, or whatever, is an add-on to what you do, and cannot be anything but complementary. If it becomes central, then you will eventually be commoditized and your profits will be cut down based on the popularity/ease of use of the tools.

  20. Lucretia Pruitt Says:

    Sadly, there will be those who read this and descry it as alarmist. Even more sadly, other people will believe them and rely upon their word when it comes to making the decisions that impact their livelihoods. When it turns out that this very predictable outcome happens? Those same naysayers will say “Who knew? No one could foresee this!!”
    I think that’s the part where you get to just nod and smile and say “Yessss… who knew? Certainly no one could’ve ever foreseen this!” and smile as you walk away Julien.

    Well said. Only wish it weren’t true, because so many nice people are going to get hurt when it does come crashing down.

  21. Kevin Westgate Says:

    I found this post interesting. So much of the hype that you read about is “get twitter followers, get facebook fans” blah blah and this is how businesses will succeed in this day and age. I tend to think that alot of these things are a little bit more of a gimmick, and that business still works the same as it always has; offer value, give people something that they need and turn a fair profit. The big thing that has changed is the medium for delivering this product. The internet has changed things, in alot of ways for the better, and I actually look forward to this “crash” and what will grow from the rubble.

  22. Kevin Says:

    What looks like a crash to some may be a timely transition for most.

    People learn best by doing. Some dreams will evaporate but the value of the experience will not.

    Many have learned the of value of being ‘authentic’. Isn’t that enough?

  23. Howard Stein Says:

    Wow, I’m pleased you left the house before the polish, you might have removed the grit. You really nailed this one Julien, LOVE this post. Making a livelihood online is certainly not for everyone—I’m a graphic artist, I’ve tried it and nothing happened. I figured I simply had no idea how to do it, though perhaps I just had to keep my assets outside of it and support them online. Well … I am polishing.
    I’m sure when you are facing east one dawn and the sun comes up colored blue, you’ll already be in the clouds making the adjustments.

  24. Michael Says:

    I didnt realize forbes redirected their url

    Friends DO make money off friends. But why are you spending precious time in a space so tentative to begin with? This post and the some comments lean toward money as the sole reason for engagement. Maybe its just me but playing around in social spaces and constructs where 99% of the time I’m invisible is OK. I can parlay what I do into money in areas that have nothing directly to do with the space. Sounds like many are burnt on “Following” a formula theyve no business in as a function of following.
    Well what do you expect within the lowest of low barriers to entry archetypes?
    Come on people.
    Everyones not a genius and everyones not participating to make money.

  25. arlen wood Says:

    I love your post and the tulips are glorious. I have been investing in justice for nearly two decades. The rewards I have been given are reams of files, shredding them is but a transitory triumph. I’m always contemplating on writing Odes, self-deprecating hexameters and a book about the experience. I need an idiot board that blinks to remind me to get on with it. Regards and keep on posting.

  26. Michele Nicholls Says:

    As one who grew up in a world where only ‘posh’ people had telephones in their houses, I’ve seen quite alot of changes when it comes to how people communicate with each other!
    The net is a fine tool for communication, just like film, tv & the written word on paper, but it cannot be an end in itself, let alone an income stream for any but a few – we can’t all make hammers or paper, and earn a living!
    The world offers many ways of earning a crust – it’s a mistake to get hung up on ANY of them!
    Another nice, thought provoking article, thank you ;o)

  27. Joe Sheehan Says:

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

  28. Rich Tucker Says:

    Great Post Julien.

    I agree that Social Media is a huge pyramid scheme… And as some of those who are toward the top of the influential pyramid like yourself and Shankman (his recent article titled “social media will kill you”) write articles like this the crash may happen sooner than later. And guaranteed there are many more articles like this in the pipeline – no one at the top wants to be the last to predict the crash.

    Or these types of articles may remind people to reign in the social hype and to focus on the core aspects of your business because the reality is that we could be on the verge of a social media bubble. If everyone takes on this more conservative attitude it could possibly save social media although not likely. Wall Street is now heavily involved which is a pretty good indicator that we are at the bubble and it will burst soon. I agree there will be huge opportunities after burst from under-valued assets that will survive.

    After the crash, those who will come out best are the ones who took the opportunity to turn as many weak connections as possible and make them strong connections by meeting face to face and sharing real life experiences. I believe there is still plenty of time for people to use social media to aggressively strengthen their network by using Twitter as a catalyst to meet as many people face to face as possible. Then there will be a crash and you better have done a good job keeping a contact list.

  29. Christopher S. Penn Says:

    Think about this:

    The biggest warning signs from the 2007-2008 crash in the financial markets were the ballooning portfolios of junk debt held by banks. Anyone with access to the data could see, years in advance, a completely unsustainable pattern over a 5 year period where it was clear the sky would fall, and sure enough, it did, right on schedule as the Alt-A and subprime debts collapsed like a house of cards.

    To be more than alarmist, to be more than tinfoil hat stuff, you need an indicator of some kind, data we can look at now, that clearly illustrates that in the social space. Hell, you wrote Trust Agents, where trust is the currency of the new economy.

    If trust is the currency, then show the futures market in the trust currency and how it’s hyperinflated. Then pattern match the curves so far with the technical analysis plots from every major recession and crash – I’ll bet you’ll find a lot of similarities.

  30. Chel Wolverton Says:

    ROI keeps getting dismissed as something that distracts from “relationship”. Thinking about the bottom line is crass now?

    If you come away from social after a few years, feeling as if you’ve wasted your time, then you didn’t get enough ROI out of it. Oftentimes that means cash, sometimes it means something else, whatever it is, it is still important to people. Especially C-levels.

    Anyone that says otherwise has never looked a CEO in the face and said cashflow doesn’t matter.

    It’s amazing how many businesses need to be reminded that a) social media won’t save their business and b) social doesn’t matter if your systems aren’t functioning correctly and c) visits to your website/video/blog post/etc shouldn’t be your goal.

    I have a hunch that you are right, which is why focusing on more than just social is important to me.

  31. Uwe Says:

    Julien,

    I think you state the obvious.
    Software engineers use often the slogan “garbage in garbage out”. In other words if people/companies interpret differently what a friend or fan is, and think ‘more is better’ then they get different results.
    The two keywords mostly important IMHO in this discussion are ‘value’ measured by ‘results’.
    As long as you can’t define a measurable result, which brings value to a person/client, social will be smoke and mirrors.

  32. DJ Waldow Says:

    Julien: I was just asked on a Community Management panel on Tuesday in Tampa (Social Fresh) about what the future looked like for Community Managers. My answer? $, Sales, Revenue, etc. As you state above,

    “There are those who know how to really turn networks into an income stream, by the way. They are called SALESPEOPLE.”

    I think we are already starting to see a shift. I can be the biggest evangelist for email marketing in the world. I can comment on every blog post, tweet, LinkedIn group, Quora question, etc. However, if, as a Community Manager, I’m not helping to bring in and/or close new business, I’m not really all that valuable in the long run.

  33. Amy Tobin Says:

    Hmmm. I guess my thought is Thank God I’m a Salesperson. And sure, Social Media is PART of what I sell, or at least explaining it to clients and helping them develop a strategy, but I tell ALL of them that you can never have all of your eggs in one marketing basket.
    I know this: the internet is going nowhere and people will always need to connect to other humans in order to sell them their wares. The trick is to know what works in order to sell them, and THAT is my job. Whether Facebook/Twitter fade into oblivion to be taken over by the next My Space is only important if I don’t see it coming and convert my strategy.
    But change isn’t scary to me…

  34. Mark Says:

    Curbed my enthusiasm. The money, like cash and fast friends will be winnowed and burned.

    Value questions are fascinating–I’d add that we consider diversifying our meaning portfolio. When I declared spiritual bankruptcy I got a Mercy trust fund…no more real anxiety.

    A surfer, it’s much easier to ride the waves than try to control the swell.

    Shalom, Julien

  35. WeePeng Says:

    This post reminds me of the dot com crash when companies fell like cards. But, I don’t think the social crash will be of that magnitude since as Julien has rightly pointed out, not many people are financially invested in it. Unless, social media is the only thing you do.

    To me, social media is just another channel to reach out to people, since that seems to be where people are congregating right now. Of course, we are fattening Facebook and Twitter’s bank accounts by using them, but hey, we use them for free. I think it’s fair.

    I wonder what triggered this warning? Did Julien know something that we don’t?

  36. David Cain Says:

    Hi Julien. I’m sure there will be some kind of cultural “give” soon and the nature of internet business will change, but I guess I’m not sure what kind of crash you’re expecting.

    Do you mean people will stop reading blogs, stop using facebook, stop buying out startups? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just not sure what you’re getting at here.

    FWIW, I think social media will only expand, get quicker and cleaner. There will always be fluff content and fluff services, but I think blogs will only get better as people naturally gravitate to the ones that are more useful to them.

    I people will continue to increase the amount of time they spend online (and the amount of money they spend online) for a long time, as it will continue to become even more accessible and even less separate from offline life.

  37. Andre McKay Says:

    once again you have had me in “aww” your very brilliant and have a great way of getting my attention i mean hell, you get me in 140 characters 10 times out of 10. your on point with this one julez, it is scary actually, I have been on twitter i believe 5 months now and i only hopped on because of an article i stumbled across by @ChrisBrogan which led me to you of course. I have been fortunate to meet or tweet many people but one things for sure “a bull can always spot shit” wait.. ok yah thats right. I have seen many people try to call them selfs Gurus and Pros in this Social Media game and its so funny considering this Social Media thing is still at such a premature level. I dont believe any of us are Gurus or Pros in it, I do believe that most of us have learned the quality of engaging with people on a more personable level thanks to “Trust Agents” ;-) one of my faves might I say, but yah… Greed and arrogance will always be what tears us down, breaks us up and spreads us apart. some are always so quick to hop on a Get Rich Quick Scheme never taking into consideration the lives the could have such a more positive effect on by just giving out good genuine advice or better yet sometimes just saying… “i really dont know but heres what has worked for me”. I wish every tweeter, facehooker, “not the myspacers those guys are just ….” but i wish this country and “Canada” the best, I hope we all learn that the power of unity and trust is what it takes to prosper in any field hell ill buy fresh shit from Julien if he told me it was good for my plants, ya know why? because i trust the guy, hes got character, hes got millions of friends and he still finds time to say a quick hello to a lil guy like myself, and not to mention im sure his shit cant be worse than than manuer i put on my plants.

    Keep your heads up high and spirits even higher, may that sun shine upon your faces and that wind be at your backs

  38. leah Says:

    Ok, so you’re saying that by participating in Facebook or Twitter, when the “social media crash” happens, I’ll lose because of the time I spent?

    Like the time I lost reading magazines or watching TV as I was growing up? What do you mean?

    I guess I’m ok with the lost time. If I hadn’t lost it on Facebook or Twitter, I’d have just lost it somewhere else, most likely in media of some form. Or maybe an old-fashioned face-to-face party. I’m ok with that.

  39. Heidi DeCoux Says:

    A social media crash may or may not be coming, but I do know that businesses need an overall marketing strategy — what I call a Blueprint.

    Your blueprint should outline your sales/marketing funnel, how you fill the funnel with prospective customers and how you convert them into paying customers.

    I believe social media should be ONE component of your sales/marketing funnel.

    An effective and lasting sales/marketing funnel needs to have several components to it.

  40. Heidi DeCoux Says:

    Social media is really just to support the blueprint by helping build the “know, like trust” relationship by delivering good content to your prospective customers. I agree with you that the businesses that are trying to sell through social media are going to wake up when they run out of money and realize that was the wrong approach.

  41. Mark (in London) Says:

    Julien,

    All this is very sensible, and like the economic analogy a crash in this area is inevitable. So there’s value in reminding people that this will happen.

    Beyond that its impossible to predict when a crash will happen. People make a living out of predicting them, as if they know, and eventually of course they are proved right, but there are so many false ‘real soon now’ predictions that one or two are bound to co-incide with the event.

    So, I think everything you say is good advice – at some point – but as to it being ‘real soon now’ I don’t think we can say it is, or isn’t!

    Still, I like what you’re saying so will subscribe.

    Mark (in London)
    theWebalyst.com

  42. Josh | Trend/Peek Says:

    Could not agree with you more on this subject. A day of reckoning is rapidly approaching for all these friend collectors and social media “gurus”. At the end of the day, cold hard cash, and revenue is going to win, not friends, not followers.

    Josh

  43. Colin Peterson Says:

    I would add avoid the vapid bullshit your co-author Chris Brogan and all his cronies come out with. There’s no business acumen; just lightweight theories that if businesses put them into practice, they’d go bust.

    Get rid of these bohos and listen to real business writers.

  44. GirlPiper Says:

    “It is true that there is a massive population going social online, but this growth might just be building value for established companies like Facebook. A few of us are making money off of it, but many people are at the bottom of this pyramid and will be left without anything to show for it at the end.”

    Yeah, that and massive amounts of personal user information that can be harvested by mega corporations and governments on and off-shore. I suspect that (us) “typical social networking douches,” willingly giving away our private information is for another another day and another post. No one really cares that Joe Blow ate a chicken parm sandwich and used the bag as a napkin anyway.

    I agree, “real” profits rather than “virtual” pretend popularity, which means businesses and sales people stick to the basics of personal contact and outstanding customer service. The whole point is to connect directly with the person who needs and wants your particular products or services. Having a decent website with solid SEO can make all the difference in the world.

  45. Naomi Niles Says:

    You touched on the exact thing I’ve been thinking about for awhile. You have a knack for doing that, by the way. :)

    This is a good reason why I’ve never felt comfortable putting all my eggs in one basket with any software or tool. I’ve been around long enough to know that things change fast.

    I know a lot of web designers who position their whole business around WordPress, for example.

    I’ve helped build a lot of sites in WordPress (and other CMS’s), but I’ve never focused my business on this. It’s just a tool, you know?

    Social media feels the same way to me.

    I’d rather focus on the tried and true, which is offering something people need and then selling it to them.

    It’s common sense, but people keep shifting around depending on what the next shiny thing is instead of taking care of the basics first.

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