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Evil Rising? Time for the Heroes to Shine

The Evil is growing. This pattern has been repeated over and over again:

New network springs up -> Golden Era, early adopters come on board and love it -> Mainstream Adoption
(it’s still cool but there’s a lot of new people and some odd things happening)

Exploitation Begins – some new users jump on board not to communicate but sell their own agenda, Celebrities emerge who can drive traffic, conversations fall to mundane topics like “Let me bitch about bad customer service”, or “Who’s hot”

At this point the drama begins, eventually the evildoers that slip up are revealed and start throwing chain lighting at young Skywalker. The better masterminds remain in the shadows, perhaps some of them even working for good (or at least non-malevolent causes).

At this point often a New Network arises to draw off the early adopters (when’s the last time you logged into Second Life? Podcast Alley? MySpace?)

Some opportunities that arise from this cycle that you might consider:

  1. When the new network arises and the cool kids leave, there’s still the back half of the bell curve to exploit – this is why email marketing still works like a champ – yes the kids are leaving messages on facebook so they don’t have to remember email addresses, but mom and dad are still slaves to the inbox.
  2. Are you exploiting a social network? Considering Facebook your digital home is not the same as seeing it as a list to be harvested. Both could be considered “Right” not “Wrong” – the happy citizen likes a nice place to hang out, a person with a business plan is looking for the .01% of users that could be customers and has no concern or interest in the rest of the community. Check out this cool post about Target allegedly setting up an astroturf group.
  3. Are you being exploited and do you care? A very interesting issue this week, Juila Roy vs. Justine Ezarik. Ms. Roy has been featured on Dig a Tech Girl (get the story from her), a site to vote for the Tech Girl you like. Ms. Ezarik is reportedly not a fan of the site. As much as I want to believe in the dignity and honor of the human condition, I’ve done enough in marketing to know that if either of these women looked like the 95 year old substitute teacher I had in high school, they probably wouldn’t be enjoying the same type of traffic.

Are you willing to trade the moral disdain some may try to hold over you for the additional traffic?

Is there a difference between silently benefiting from your appearance rather than actively capitalizing on it?

Are you still able to have it “Your Way” at Burger King (that one really bothers me) Forget it.

The only compass I can offer here are some marketing lessons. One: What does your Brand Stand for?  Let who you want to be guide where you showcase who you are. Remember that every digital neighborhood invokes personal opinion. Some of these opinions may strengthen your brand others may damage it. Two: Remember that human behavior is irrational. There’s nothing wrong with using humor, physical attraction, or FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) to open a conversation to talk about something else.