FaceBook is the New AOL


Last week I read an interesting post on Slashdot, although I must admit, I can’t remember exactly what the post was about. But it must have been somewhat interesting, as I did read it. On one of the comments on this post that I was so enamored with, the commenter had a great sig, it read: “Facebook is the new AOL.” It gave me a chuckle because in my humble opinion, it pretty much sums it up. It’s the hula-hoop of the moment. Man, remember when everyone had AOL, or when MySpace was the shiznit. How quickly the mighty do fall.

This morning I came across a brilliant post on Advertising Age, entitled “Why Do So Many New-Media Startups Ultimately Commit Suicide?” The gist of the post is in a nutshell, even though “old media” is always being targeted as “doomed,” it’s really the new media johnny-come-lately’s that have the history of crashing and burning. Where are Friendster, MySpace, TheGlobe, GeoCites or Tripod? Either gone or on the way out. The article pontificates that the real corpses are new media start-ups, who come out of the gate flush with venture capitol cash, no real plan for even a revenue trickle, and run by boneheads. The author makes the point that “old media” is in a much better position of having a real handle on the media marketplace and actual balance sheets, and because of their maturity, have the ability to use new media for what it actually is, a media tool, not the latest hula-hoop.

Just because FaceBook is the darling of the moment, doesn’t mean that it too can’t crash and burn. As quickly as it took off and built momentum, it too can whither on the vine if the users feel it has burned them or outlived its usefulness. Once upon a time DIGG was the social media darling to emulate. Recently DIGG has found itself with a loss of 26 percent of its traffic. Facebook in many ways is doing its best to shoot itself in the foot with what seems like a continuing saga of privacy issues. And Twitter, well last week it was announced that nearly three quarters its twits are well, unread. And of those roughly 25 percent active tweets, well over 19 percent of those were re-tweets. How is that for mature reach?

The lesson for broadcasters?

We are the media experts. Do what we do best and use social media as a tool, not the divine game changer that the social media trend jumpers pretend it is.

Honestly, I too was swept up in the new media frenzy early on, I saw this Internet thingy as something that was going to “change everything.” It has, but not in the way many expected. Nostalgia nor the future is never what it used to be.

Broadcasters have a device that is simple to operate and mature, try walking a novice or even somewhat initiated user on adding a podcast or stream in iTunes. It’s easy, but not as easy as it should be. Add streaming in the car in a couple of years, and after the novelty, most users will just return to their local stations. Why? Because it’s easy, local, mature and one button away. Anyone else think surfing the streams in your car juggling a coffee, paying attention to hazards and traffic while trying to make it to work on time is going to be anything other than an exercise in futility? I love reading Mark Ramsey and Jerry Del Colliano’s stuff online (Although not so much Jerry’s stuff anymore, cause he actually thinks I’m gonna pay for it!), they are really smart guy’s, but I do think that they drink the Kool Aid a bit too much.

As broadcasters we are the smart guys when it comes to media! Not some silicon snake oil baby with a cool idea and a bunch of venture capitol to burn. When the dust clears the mature folks in media will be the ones full of win.