I'm beginning to wonder if declaring something deceased and in the ground is happening simply because we can't figure out how to make something work for US.
Tearing apart something that doesn't work for you is easy. Anyone can punch holes in something they don't understand. Doing the hard work to actually determine whether or not it's got potential is the difficult part.
Corporate blogging isn't a failure just because people are screwing it up. Corporate blogging is failing because businesses don't understand how to do it well. Whether that's the fault of those of us teaching or the disconnect with companies not paying attention - well, that's for another post entirely.
I've spent a career in communications of one stripe or another, and never before have I seen such a thirst for instant gratification as I have in social media. We expect things to work right out of the gate, and sometimes we're expecting that we can just chuck aside everything and do something different to "shake the tree". And more and more, I'm seeing tools and tactics dismissed out of hand, simply based on critiques or popular opinion rather than an objective evaluation. (Heaven help companies who let Mashable or the Wall Street Journal determine what they should or shouldn't do in social media.)
Just because the web moves fast, it doesn't mean that results always do.
A New Lens, Perhaps?
"Old" practices are going up in flames all around us. But what's also happening is that many of them are rising from their own ashes, in a new context.
We can make PR work if we focus on the story instead of the sale. We can make marketing work if we're doing so through the eyes of what a customer wants instead of what we think they need. Journalism is evolving from a closed society to a renewed grass-roots effort that's collaborative and fast paced, rooted in atomized channels scattered across online and offline. And we have a slew of new tools that make shifting our focus that much easier.
But not everything need be shiny and new. Perhaps it's applying old concepts in new ways - returning to basics, if you will. I keep thinking of the movie Elf. Santa didn't ditch his sleigh, there was nothing wrong with it. He just strapped on an engine to make it work better. Your newsletter might not be out of date, but your approach to it might be. There are fundamentals of communication that underscore each and every communications revolution, and this one is no different.
Do I believe that some things are antiquated and irrelevant and irretrievably broken? You bet I do (sorry pop up ad dudes). But more often than not, it's our perspective and approach that needs adjusting, not the tools themselves.
So here's the positive and helpful bit of this: please don't dismiss things because of what you read on the web. Don't follow the latest meme and buy into the idea that one size fits all. Please? Do your homework and do what's right for YOUR business, not someone else's.
Your turn now. Are we now in the age of truly burying old practices? Is it that those practices are truly dead? Or is this merely the dawn of reinventing them?
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