Yesterday Will Akerlof posted an article on MediaPost titled “Twits: Why Twitter Won’t Change Marketing” I thought perhaps the title was a bombastic contrarian comment to suck the reader in. I was wrong. Mark feels that in a couple of years we’ll look at Twitter as
another online flash in the pan that the press and digerati got all excited about until they found the next new thing.
Finally he compares Twitter to a Ponzi Scheme Stating:
One could argue that social networks operate like Ponzi schemes. They require rapid growth to maintain interest and draw more users. There is inevitably a point where growth is limited by the size of the potential audience and the appeal of the service. When growth slows and the shine of newness fades, the network begins to wither and die
While twitter may not be the final iteration of the micro-blogging/social media sensation, the power of twitter lies in the “changing of the game”. Those that are participating in Twitter realize that they can leverage, and influence large numbers of like minded people. Ask Gary Vaynerchuk – (350,000+ followers). He owns a wine store in New Jersey, and rates wine on his online Vlog. He has the wine industry shaking, and is leveraging the power of Twitter. This type of influence is hugely impactful for marketers. To say that Twitter may be gone in a few years is possibly true, but that’s not to say that this type of social interaction will be gone along with it. This is word of mouth on steroids. If you look at it as if we were growing in the social sphere along the same line as in Maslow’s hierarchy, we have yet to come to self actualization. Twitter may take us there (obviously currently they are not), but what they are allowing people to do is to become experts, and receive esteem from their peers and to contribute in a community. Your post is well written, and obviously well thought out, but I’d recommend perhaps getting more involved in Twitter before passing judgment. I personally didn’t see the point until I fully immersed myself. Yesterday I found a solution from my followers regarding how to remove a stain from a marble counter, shared images from a car wreck on the Saw Mill Parkway to warn other travelers, and passed on a great vacation deal that lasted only 48 hours. Twitter works…for now. Ponzi schemes offer perceived reward. Twitter has already given back with human interaction and information sharing. Final thought – you should follow me @cdessi
here is Mr. Akerlof’s reply
Christopher: I appreciate the argument that I really just need to know Twitter better before I understand the value. I’ve only been using Twitter for a couple of months. I did go over to @garyvee on Twitter and in the first 3 pages of his tweets, don’t see any about Wine. It’s all random comments and a thread about his book on marketing. I think this proves my point about Twitter being an echo chamber. If the proof of Twitter’s success is that there is a man who has had success selling a book on having success using Twitter. I believe you, but I am not convinced it’s a new marketing paradigm.
I appreciate Mr. Akerlof’s contrarian view, and I commend him for sticking to his guns and offering a thoughtful, and gracious response to my comment. I still disagree with him. Again, I’ll state that Twitter may not be the savior here, but what it has done is shine a light on the fact that the game is changing and that marketers must evolve or die. This instead of saying this isn’t your father’s marketing: it’s more like – this isn’t the marketing you did 2 years ago. The world has changed, Twitter is the Tipping Point.