Guest Post Written By Ciao Enrico
Let’s be honest with ourselves: Most of us who spend hours on social sites do so because we prefer it to spending hours with other people.
I mean, sure – everyone has a Facebook page these days, which they use to keep up with friends and family. Maybe they’ll send messages or share pictures or funny videos. I don’t mean those people.
I mean people like us – the somewhat “inside” people, who have an account on every known social site, as well as scads of others that aren’t, “just in case.” I’m very guilty of this – do a search for “ciaoenrico” and you’ll see what I mean. I’m both proud and ashamed at once.
Then again, I’ve always been very aware of my own anti-social tendencies, and am not ashamed of them. I’ve always appreciated the utility of just networking with people on Linkedin, without having to actually meet them at some soulless “industry conference.”
I also would rather exchange a few wall posts or instant messages with someone I haven’t seen since high school. Wouldn’t you? It sure beats going out for drinks and spending two to three hours with someone you find you barely know – with no means of escape.
This is what makes Facebook as big as it is, and what makes everything else so niche. Facebook covers all the bases for average people. For the rest of us wallflowers, Brightkite and Gowalla and Friendfeed and StumbleUpon and even Twitter allow us to maintain some kind of social life without having to actually know anyone.
That, I think, is what keeps the social media “revolution” from being truly mainstream. The geeks all see the light, but the rest of the world don’t yet have a need to hole up on their desktops or iPhones to have a conversation. The next big thing won’t be another tool or app that allows people to hide from the world in a whole new way. It will be that thing that makes the non-tech geek realize a need they never knew they had.
Search engines and e-mail did it, and now they’re mainstream. When’s the last time you heard someone brag, “I just got an e-mail address!” No one does that because everyone has an e-mail address. It’s like bragging you just got a library card.
Until that new thing and its accompanying awakening comes, social media will stay our own secret friend. Don‘t expect the rest of the world to wake up one day and decide they really need to be the Mayor of their local Taco Bells on Foursquare. They don’t get it, they shouldn’t have to, and no amount of proselytizing will change them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some restaurants I need to destroy with my sly wit on Yelp.
Ciao Enrico is a master blogger and marketing guru who calls Phoenix, Arizona home. His blog, as well as marketing ideas have been an inspiration to me – and one of the reasons for Blackbird Marketing Blog.