Trevor Cook’s Unleashed piece has me thinking. His central theme is that social media evangelists’ current beliefs may not be coming about.
They believe that our big institutions will have to become open, transparent and accountable or they will crumble like so many Berlin walls unable to withstand the internet-empowered populace’s thirst for freedom.
Or they used to believe it.
Now, he says, blogging has gone mainstream, the dream is dieing and far from blogs and social media providing a vibrant alternative to the things MSM does well, or encouraging transparency:
In the hands of a PR pro, the opportunity to bypass the ‘media gateway’ can just mean an open invitation to pump out unfiltered propaganda.
I think he’s pretty much right. As I have blogged before, I don’t see how social media overcomes the combination of apathy and inertia that so many people display in their media consumption. The fact that some of that consumption has gone online seems to me irrelevant. If people are passive, it does not matter whether they are online or offline.
So I wonder if there is not a social media bust on the way.
I won’t be like bust 1.0, money-wise. The level of investment in Web 2.0 has been comparatively modest, compared boom 1.0.
But the reason for bust 1.0 was the collapse of the business models that excited investors. If Trevor Cook is right, the business models underpinning many social media assumptions could also go bang.