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just because it’s new doesn’t make it awesome August 3, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Observations, Technology Trouble, Unsociable Networking.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One of the many things my company does is provide a live video streaming service. For many years, we would help clients set up Windows Media streams because that was the most reliable thing. Then Flash streaming arrived and… and nothing. We still haven’t quite figured out the exact right way to get it through our insane firewall system, so we’re not streaming locally via Flash except by a third-party solution.

That’s right: we’re telling clients to use a third party. In principle I have no problem with that, but it’s not making us any money.

Now someone in the building has discovered Skype — which, first of all, isn’t new, but as NBC once said in their summer reruns promotion, “it’s new to you”. This person has seen Oprah do Skype interviews, and if it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for us — neverminding the fact that Oprah has a huge budget and would never air something that looked subpar.

Apparently we don’t care about that.

socialshirtMore surprisingly, our clients don’t either. They’re so wowed by the words “Skype”, “Facebook”, “Twitter”, and “streaming” that they forget web users want quality content, not just stuff thrown in their faces.

Whenever a new client is pitched, one of two things happens: either the salesperson says “oh, and we can integrate your Facebook and Twitter feeds onto your site, no problem”* or the client says “we want to set up Facebook and Twitter**; can you help us?”

Guess whose job it is to do that.

The corporate office recently created a support group (technical, not emotional) for the company’s web developers. I was talking to my contact there and he said, “the real problem is that companies don’t understand social networking; they just think they have to have it because everyone else does.”

Needless to say, I like this new guy. Very much. Because he’s put his finger on the problem: if you don’t need social networking, why have it? Do you really need a Facebook fan page for Widgets R Us? Do people who buy Widgets want to become your fan on Facebook? Do they go on Twitter? What are you tweeting? Are you tweeting deals on your Widgets, or just saying “check out our awesome widgets”?

Some companies — occasionally including mine — hold seminars to teach people how to properly use social networking to build business. The proper way is not “find the newest thing and get us on it no matter what”.

I just wish the people who work in my building understood that just because it’s new doesn’t make it awesome.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

* At which point the client says “Sure, if you set the accounts up for us.”

** Usually in a bewildered tone of voice.



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