Jeff Bullas just published a provocatively-titled blog post that's making the rounds: 5 Reasons why Social Media is Not Fun Anymore. He notes that the roots of Facebook and YouTube were in silly, mindless entertainment and personal time-wasting.Now that companies take these spaces seriously and are spending billions of dollars to market in them, have they stopped being fun? And, consequently, does that spell their imminent downfall?
So will social media maintain its fun origins or will big corporate marketing take the fun out of social media and turn them into business tools that are organised and sterilized?
What happens when mom and dad crash the party? Is it the beginning of the end? Or can they join the fun?
Jeff thinks that they can coexist, and that social channels can "continue to keep us entertained, amused, informed and educated all at the same time".
But what about the underlying claim - that people are fun and corporations are serious? Does a company automatically get releged to "boring" status just because its interests are business, not personal?
Maybe. Maybe not. We're seeing examples of companies breaking through the clutter and getting their message across to customers by virtue of the fact that they've retained that sense of fun. And social media is letting them do it in a way that seemed inaccessible when the options amounted to TV or radio.
Sure, far too many companies rely on their agencies or creative teams to "make them look cool". The thing is, social media has a funny way of letting the true character of the company shine through. The boring ones come across as boring, no matter how much they try to hire the young, hip community manager and air the quirky campaign. The fun ones, on the other hand, can display their character and actually get recognition for it.
Jeff makes a great point, that if you suck all the fun out of these spaces, people will migrate elsewhere. If too many marketers march into these parties all buttoned-up and insist on flooding them with boring ads, social media will stop being fun.
But marketers shouldn't feel like they can't join the party. It's easy. Loosen the necktie, roll up the sleeves, and take a few chances. You can be fun and successful at the same time. You just have to dress for the occasion.