Social media: A passing phase that’ll never catch on…just like the Internet

By Dodge Communications on May 4th, 2009

As history has shown us, most great inventions or innovative ideas have been greeted by a slew of skeptics and nay-sayers. But isn’t that a sign of true innovation? In my lifetime, the most influential innovation I can recall (and one not immune to skepticism) was the Internet. Just for laughs, see the 1995 Newsweek article from Clifford Stoll proclaiming why the Internet will never work. Of course, there were some other highly notable ones worth mentioning: “horseless carriages,” telephones and personal computers... I could go on for days with a little research using the “over-hyped” Internet.Was it just that these inventions and ideas had no practicality and made no sense at all? It’s difficult to say in hindsight, because I can’t imagine what we’d do without these things. But I do know that change is scary for some, especially those that are being asked (or forced) to alter their normal routine or how they’ve been doing things for many, many years. But let me steal a tagline from one of our clients and say “Change is essential to survival.” If you and your company are going to be relevant in today’s marketplace, you must not put up a barrier against new ways of conducting business such as social media. Social media is not just for college students or consumers – it has taken root and blossomed into a multitude of tools that continue to increase in variety and prominence within the business-to-business healthcare IT space.

With so many social media vehicles out there, it is overwhelming for some to choose which ones work best for their organization and how to effectively use each one alongside traditional public relations and marketing communications. I suggest you begin learning about them now or look to professionals that can guide you in your decisions. But sitting back and hoping it is only a fad that is going to be replaced by the next best thing is NOT a viable strategy. Advances in technology will only become more complex and more commonplace, and if you aren’t up to speed now it will be difficult to catch up later.So my question is, years from now, will you still be standing firm in your convictions that social media is a passing phase that will never catch on, or will you be in the trenches alongside industry peers who are embracing the technology as another tool to extend your brand and messages? I hope it is the latter.