As the entrepreneur Prince sang, “So, tonite I’m gonna party like its nineteen ninety-nine.”
Social media is a means to end.
Social media is also increasingly horizontal in its application across the marketing funnel.
And it is a bubble.
As in 1999, this bubble is marked by four attributes:
Escalating valuations: Our panel will prove how Groupon cannot sustain growth, and the valuations of current social marketing stocks are not sustainable
Inflated salaries: How the scarcity of social marketing experts overinflated the salaries of the very people attending SXSW. This escalation came in part of a misguided panic in not understanding how to channel consumer behavior. This is why so many people are at SXSW with expense reports.
Dizzying competition: The world does not need more than 40 photo sharing services. We are at the end of the beginning, which will include a winnowing of services and consultants.
Tremendous hype: The number of publishers versus voyeurs is actually shrinking. This inversion of word-of-mouth to buzz is what bit Snakes on a Plane in 2006. Whenever there is a sustained inversion of buzz and word-of-mouth, the situation conflates.
SXSW is ground zero of this hype. The event elevates the channel over the objective, and the buzz over the results. It is a cultural event, but does not focus on analytics, results, and research, the cornerstones of social media. What happens at SXSW has little affect on the consumer unlike CES or E3.
9th–13th March 2012