Two weeks ago an inter­est­ing opin­ion piece in the NY Times by Mau­reen Dowd sug­gested that “social media has become the cock­tail party from hell… with the flood of infor­ma­tion jeop­ar­diz­ing mean­ing”. It caught my atten­tion when I first read it, but since I’ve heard it cited a few times since, I thought I’d add my 2 cents.

Let’s look at how social media has changed everyone’s lives:

  • 1.1bn peo­ple are now on Face­book, with an aver­age of 140 friends
  • 665m Face­book users are active every day
  • 189m Face­book users only use it on mobile (with some reports say­ing that users now check their mobile on aver­age 150 times per day)
  • 400m Tweets are sent every day
  • 90% of the world’s data has been pro­duced in the last 2 years
  • The amount of data cre­ated every 48 hours is to the scale of all data col­lated from the begin­ning of time until 2003

Need­less to say that is a lot of noise. If you’ve ever read Nate Silver’s fan­tas­tic book “The Sig­nal and the Noise” (if you haven’t you should), then you may also agree that whilst the amount of noise being cre­ated on a daily basis is increas­ing expo­nen­tially, the amount of use­ful infor­ma­tion is prob­a­bly not.

Therein lies the root of the prob­lem. The growth of all this data is also the rea­son why jour­nal­ists suck, as Dowd sug­gests, and that social media may have become “the cock­tail party from hell”.

It’s a great anal­ogy because for a long time social mar­keters have been say­ing that social media is like a cock­tail party and you need to work the room. In my opin­ion, the sen­ti­ment still rings as true as it ever has. Wouldn’t you rather talk to some­one inter­est­ing, polite and takes the time to lis­ten to you – rather than some­one who is loud, obnox­ious and tries to sell them­selves? Brands are no dif­fer­ent. They do need talk to their cus­tomers on their social media chan­nels as if they are at a cock­tail party.

The issue here isn’t that social media is los­ing all mean­ing; it’s sim­ply that it is more dif­fi­cult than ever to fil­ter out what you actu­ally want to hear from all the noise. Mar­keters have had this prob­lem for years. I remem­ber being in brand com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the late 90s when jour­nal­ists were say­ing adver­tis­ing was becom­ing mean­ing­less because we were exposed to over 10,000 adver­tis­ing mes­sages every day. The goal­posts may have moved but the issues and the prob­lems remain the same. Luck­ily there is a solution.

Adobe Social tracks over 10 mil­lion blogs, forums and social net­works for many of the largest brands in the world (NFL, Dis­ney, Levi’s) in order to help them make sense of all this noise. Brands that I reg­u­larly speak to may have mil­lions of men­tions of their brand each day, but only need to respond to a few thou­sand of the most rel­e­vant con­ver­sa­tions. Hun­dreds of peo­ple may be talk­ing about your brand, but only 50 may actu­ally be dri­ving sales or traf­fic to your web­site. It is impor­tant for brands – espe­cially the ones with small teams and even smaller bud­gets – to be able to make sense of all this data in a mean­ing­ful way. They can then deliver data to the busi­ness in a way that is going to help them achieve their objectives.

Sales pitch over! But the ray of hope I offer to you is Duane Munn. You may never have heard of him, but he is the super­star social media man­ager of the NFL, and he uses Adobe Social. What is most impres­sive about Munn is that whilst he man­ages a huge global pres­ence for the NFL and its 32 teams, he does it all on his own (with­out hun­dreds of com­mu­nity man­agers, social media execs or assis­tants). One man! He doesn’t wear his under­pants out­side his trousers or have any spe­cial super pow­ers, but he does use some very smart soft­ware to help him make sense of every­thing hap­pen­ing in social media. When you can make sense of what every­one is say­ing amongst all that noise, it makes the cock­tail party a pretty nice place to be.


Want more? Read –> Why Adobe Social 3.0 Rocks by Lawrence Mak