Cumulus Partners

5. May 2010 01:06


Great column by Andrew McAfee looks at why social media projects often fail

5. May 2010 01:06 by mike barlow | 2 Comments

I just finished reading a great column written by Andrew McAfee for Forbes.com about why social media pilot projects often fail. He's an advocate of social media, so I was interested in hearing his take on the subject. The column is definitely worth reading, especially if you are the manager of a corporate social media initiative. Here's my takeaway: Too many companies are treating social media like some new flavor of CRM, which is a serious mistake right off the bat. Next, it seems as though many executives expect social media pilot programs to show results after a couple of months. The best analogy I can think of would be if you were disappointed because your four-month-old child hadn't already been signed by a major league sports team or hadn't been admitted to Harvard. Imagine what it would sound like if you started complaining, "Hey, what's wrong with this kid? Maybe we should bring him back to the hospital and exchange him for a better model. Or maybe we should just rethink this whole kid thing and get a dog instead ..."

But sometimes I hear comments just as absurd by executives who ought to know better. Here is the stark reality: Social media is in its infancy. In fact, every aspect of information technology is in its infancy -- every platform out there is young! And social media is certainly one of the newest, and therefore one of the youngest. I think we need to give it a few more years before we begin judging the real "value" of social media to the enterprise.

Comments (2) -

You just reminded me how disappointed I am that my kids haven't all signed major league contracts!!! Anyway, I'm thinking that some of the disappointment with Social Media may lie in the grand promises of the people hyping it. Hmmm... Think we all need to take a deep breath and get a little better at expectation setting. You've done a nice job of that here.  

Britton, thanks for your comment. There's definitely a gap between expectations and reality in the whole social media discussion. That being said, there's a real need for business case studies and anecdotes. Ideally, the book I'm writing will get the ball rolling. As you've probably noticed, the one-to-one crowd has already created a new niche they call Social CRM. This will only continue to get more interesting ...

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