As sites like Twitter and Friendfeed continue to increase in popularity on the web, so does the potential for users to extract value from these communities. However, while there are many people who love to be at the forefront of it all, others are only there because they have to.
I’ve found there are [VERY] generally, two schools of thought on Social Media and it’s future. There are the skeptics who I call Type X thinkers, and the believers who I call Type Y thinkers.
Type X (Skeptics or Pessimists):
This school of thought sees Social Media as a big, never-ending popularity contest rife with narcissism: “Look at me, I’ve got 5,000 followers, I’m awesome!”
Skeptics also adopt the idea that Social Media has no real ROI and if it does, there’s no standard way of quantifying it. Some base it on page stats, while others base it on influence via network size but most find it hard to tie it back to $$$, market share, etc.
Even though the most hardcore of skeptics cannot deny the existence of the growing phenomenon that is Social Media, most are cautious about taking it too seriously.
Type Y (Believers or Kool-aid drinkers):
Type Y thinkers see Social Media as the incumbent future of interaction on the web. They are avid tutors for those still stuck in Web 1.0 and yearn for the mainstream adoption of Social Media. Contrary to the skeptics, they believe that Social Media ROI can be measured effectively; while being linked to revenue, market share, and other corporate benchmarks.
In addition, the Believers foresee more to Social Media than just revenue. They see an opportunity for real world social change through activism, community building, and awareness.
I’m not trying to label you
I’m sure no one fits perfectly into either description; I consider myself a Type Y thinker, I’d really love to see Steven Hodson’s impossible dream of social technology come to life. On the other hand, I’m still a little skeptical about Social Media ROI.
How do you see Social Media?