The Social Media Echo Chamber

Something is bothering me.

Every week as I cull through marketing stories for The BeanCast, I'm struck by the sheer volume of social media coverage. This, in itself, is troubling because of balance for my show. I'm trying to do a marketing podcast that offers discussion spanning the industry. Yet instead, I find we're always doing at least one story and often several stories touching on social strategies, TwitterFacebookMySpace, blogging, etc.

But here are some interesting facts that have just occurred to me: I find a heavy representation of journalists and PR professionals on Twitter and Facebook. I also find them all writing and promoting their own blogs in addition to their primary reporting sites. And I find many of them (as well as the people interacting with them) openly discussing the issue of how social media creates an echo chamber -- and echo chamber that repeatedly blows stories and controversies out of proportion to their relevance.

So, given these facts, isn't it reasonable to wonder if social media strategy as a whole is not itself a product of the echo chamber?

Important? Yes. That Important? Maybe.

Before I proceed much further, understand that I am not questioning whether social marketing offers value to advertisers. There is no doubt in my mind that it does. In essence, most social strategies are just ideas that advance what we have always advocated in marketing -- get personal and targeted with each customer's needs.

But is it really as important as some suggest? Is it even really its own discipline, rather than an extension of PR and customer service? And is it worth so much talk?

Let's Discuss

I'm going to reserve my judgment for the moment. But in light of the 

recent study questioning the effectiveness of social marketing

 and yet 

more controversies over the tactics

 being employed in the name of social, this will definitely be a topic of discussion on this week's show.

So what do you think? Are we blowing all of this social stuff out of proportion? Or is the topic worth all the hype and coverage? I'd love to hear from you as we anticipate discussing it with Steve HallBrian Morrissey and John Wall this week on the show.

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