Someone knock me down

Image credit: Josh Atwell

Someone knock me down

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Pat Phelan ask if the experts of social media, well… matter.  Do they matter for a given business?  Do they matter in general?

One of the named experts is Jeremiah Owyang and I only know of Jeremiah Owyang because of the world shaking and deeply altering historical signifiance of the Exxon Twitter Crisis of August 2008 (I’m only slightly kidding).

The comments on Pat’s post are lively.  I was inclined to comment but mine was moderated so I elected to blow of the dust here and try an actual post for the first time in many months.

I even referenced one of the prior comments by calling out one name from the comment thread in particular via the use of  “@name”.

(See? I used a @ in front of a name because that is how social media works and surely I’ve created some monetary construct by doing so and there is probably a social media expert that can break down the deep global impact of using the @ as a way to reference the dance hall sized conversation area that is the un-threaded social media destinations — yes, this is a tongue in cheek example of what “experts” provide)

One of the areas that mobile wireless companies and telecom are concerned with is the not so surreptitious land grab for social connections — more commonly called “the network”. Another area is regulatory maneuvering since communications are an interesting path to deal in CPNI and how such CPNI is leveraged.

For the vision and big picture I’d look to analysis of calling and texting patterns for the true size of a social network vs. the opining of someone that has no clue where financial patterns emerge in handsets, carriers, MVNO’s, etc… even geniuses get mobile wireless trends wrong. Newly minted experts in “duh” probably won’t impact the bottom line either.

I’d liken this to a debate between the value of a historian vs. a futurist to the road map and efficacy of a business and its financial model.

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What so few experts in social media seem to articulate while they are diligently describing the nuances of short hand and new ways of using a given tool is questions like:

1) What and how does the operator make more money or make the customer relationship more resilient to competitive attack using social media techniques and how is this ROI tracked or proofed?

2) What is a reasonable growth metric for net new accounts when releasing or applying social media against a line of business or a high margin feature in terms of demand generation?

3) What percentage of my existing customer base is making use of a social media platform already and what is the total costing for my global support organization to add another element outside of call centers, web/email ticketing systems, and internal tool sets that link CRM in a regulatory compliant manner?

Those are just three off the cuff questions that matter.

Beyond that, all I seem to read is of the form:

“[X Service] is neat. You should be on it. Here’s a random example with no bearing on your business model. If you aren’t on [X Service] you are missing out. Please come visit my panel on [X Service] at the [X Convention/Conference] that also has no bearing on your business model.”

Maybe I’m just reading the wrong folks.  Or, maybe the noise is so high now that I’m losing interest and/or hope of finding commentary that shifts away from the pumping of the person or tool du jour.

Please, someone knock me down with some examples to the contrary.