10 Truths about Social Media that “Gurus” Don’t Want You to Know

So social media is the big craze right now. From Twitter to Facebook, to social media marketing companies and self appointed Gurus, no one will shut up about it. But no one really talks about the darker side of Social Media and what goes on behind the scenes. Let’s do some bubble popping, shall we:

  1. Twitter does not generate revenue for your company. The bullshit about Dell generating $3 million on Twitter forgets to take into account the last 25 years since Michael Dell started the company and built it into the mega-brand it is today. Seriously – do you think anybody could offload that much in product if they weren’t on brand via a frigging micro blogging service?
  2. The only reason Facebook and associated gaming companies have made any money is because they con the hell out of the end user. From diet rebills to mobile subscriptions, FB has some of the more scummy offers you’ll find on a CPA network. Say what you want about Microsoft and Google, but at least there’s some value to the end user.
  3. There is no conversation. Scoble, et al. just needed jobs.
  4. Spending time on Twitter, Facebook etc during working hours when not related to work is theft, just so you know. Although as a web publisher I love the work week – traffic and conversions go way up the from 8AM EST to 5PM PST, Monday – Friday.
  5. The majority of traffic to sites like MegaVideo, YouTube, and the various Chinese video sharing sites like Tudou is to pirated uploads of various television series and popular movies. You won’t see it in any official  statistic, but if you get access to unfiltered logs, you’ll see that I’m right.
  6. Most of the stuff that goes “viral” is prepared by expert marketers with extensive contacts, networks and resources at hand. Very few things go viral by themselves. Anyone who will tell you otherwise is full of it.
  7. The only company I can think of that got real exposure and sales from YouTube is BlendTec. Besides that often hyped case study, I haven’t seen anything come remotely close.
  8. Most of the Social Media “gurus” couldn’t launch a viral campaign if it killed them. There are a few who are really good – the rest just spout platitudes and corporate double talk.
  9. By using Social Media, you  give up the hard earned right to privacy. People paid with blood for the freedom to protect information, and here we are giving our whole lives away on the interwebs. You don’t even own your own data, anymore.
  10. This is not strictly Social Media related, but TechCrunch primarily rewrites press releases into fawning best technology ever articles. Occasionally they feature personal spats that Arrington is having with someone.

8 Comments


  1. You’re quite right. I’ve been wasting my time on Twitter & Facebook instead of creating content for my own websites. :D

  2. Really excellent article and about time someone actually spoke out about all the bullshit talked about twitter, facebook and all the other so called marvels of social media.
    I’ve been working in the SEO/PPC game for 12 years and im sick of hearing clients asking me about how important it is to be on facebook and twitter.
    Nice to have you on the scene my friend. I’ve subscribed to your articles – you da man…

    Jim

  3. Great post and great blog here. It’s refreshing to read some honest advice and not the usual guru BS.

  4. Ari,

    Awesome perspective… This is one of the reasons I haven’t tried getting into social – I haven’t yet wrapped my head around creating a consistent ROI from social media the same way you can from search.

    On the flip side, this is a bit of an “extreme”. e.g. I know people in the “fanatic product” communities who have built their customer base off of youtube video’s.

  5. I don’t know, Ari … I find value in social sites. They draw traffic and build major brand recognition.

    There’s a lot of hype, for sure.

    But all these social sites are just tools. A chain saw in the hands of someone inexperienced can be dangerous. In the hands of an ice carver, a chainsaw creates things of beauty. It’s the skill of the people who use the tool and what they do with it….

    I know this: when hundreds of millions of people go to social sites, that’s a force too significant for me to ignore. :)

  6. Thanks for your blog. For me it reads a little like you have some bitter feelings towards social media. If so that’s your prerogative. There’s no question that there is a large population of Internet Marketers that tout social media as the bees knees and the end all, be all of selling. There’s also no question that many “wanna be” gurus are trying to cash in on this phenomenon by selling themselves as authorities in the matter. But here’s my beef with them as well as you regarding this issue. Social Media as a marketing venue is only in it’s infancy stages. Heck, social media itself is just a baby. No one, and I mean no one including you or the gurus can make any emphatic statements about it yet. How can you? I mean, how much real empirical data is there out there to prove anything for certain. There may be some data but not much. I feel like you do when it comes to people trying to scam the public by telling people they need to tweet for dollars but I also think that to slam the gurus by emphatically stating that social media has no value is like trying to emphatically say call the winner between two undefeated football teams. To me, social media is about building relationships not selling. If you use social media to sell then you’re just another spammer in my book. Use it to earn the trust of your “potential” and possible “future” clients and I use those terms intentionally because nothing is guaranteed when it comes to social media. Not yet anyway.
    Thanks for the arousing blog.
    Ed

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