Here is my column published in The Times this week. It has been up for a day and has already stirred up a mini-controversy. What do you think?
Social Media is dead. What are we going to talk about next? What is the next cool thing going to be now that Social Media is old news? You are probably a little confused because of all the hype you see and hear around you about Social Media and all the wonderful new tools we have to share our lives on the Web. You may even be a little confused because for the last few months you have read my columns about the wonders and benefits of these tools. That is ok, this idea will take a little getting used to. To paraphrase my friend Jonathan, it isn’t all bad just yet. It is just the demise of Social Media.
Although Social Media is only just picking up steam here in South Africa, if you read the feeds on blogs and news sites in the United States and Europe it is fairly obvious that the whole thing is running out of steam. We saw a flurry of Social Media sites like Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and lots more in the early months and years of the Web 2.0 era. It seems industry pundits were right and there has been a Bubble 2.0 which has reached its limits and there is a noticeable hissing sound as the air escapes and the whole thing collapses.
The fact is there is nothing new of any real substance. All the new launches are reinventions of Social Media companies that have been around for years now or are simply new applications of existing tools. There is no real innovation in this space. Social Media has climaxed. It is all downhill from here.
Sure, all those Web 2.0 sites and services are still running and have millions of users but the fanfare is over and Social Media isn’t the Next Big Thing anymore. The tide has gone out, the train has left the station and there is a note on the wall that reads “Will the last person to leave please turn the light off?”. Social Media is dead. It was fun while it lasted.