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Don’t Drink Social Media Kool-Aid

October 9th, 2009 by Bob Bly

David Armano is a VP at Edelman Digital, and I never heard of him until today when I read his column in Advertising Age (9/21/09), p. 43.

But now, after reading his piece on “separating the social media snake oil from the vinegar,” I’m a fan.

His main message: Don’t think social media will save you, because it won’t.

“Anyone framing social media as the solution to the world’s problems is either drinking Kool-Aid or looking to make a buck,” writes Armano.

He acknowledges that social networking is causing a shift in the way we communicate. But, he warns, “don’t confuse shift with salvation.”


This entry was posted on Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 12:21 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

63 responses about “Don’t Drink Social Media Kool-Aid”

  1. The Successful Catholic said:

    Nice to see this kind of acknowledgement. Personally, I’m getting a little tired of the “social media” label being thrown around. Many people don’t consider blogs to be social media anymore, instead it’s got to be Facebook or Twitter, etc. Not long ago, blogs were the ULTIMATE form of “scoial media.” Before that it was good old fashioned forums and message boards.

    To me, “social media” is simply becoming the buzz phrase for the latest hot Internet publishing format. Like anything, it should be explored and tested, but it’s not the “future” of online marketing success. Instead, it’s simply the latest chapter.

  2. T said:

    Is there a link to an online version of this column? (If not, think Irony!)

  3. Twitter Trackbacks for Don’t Drink Social Media Kool-Aid - blog - direct marketing blog [] on said:

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  4. Bob Bly said:

    T: It’s probably on the Advertising Age web site. But I don’t know, because I get Ad Age in print, not online.

  5. media guy said:

    just to fact check for you – david armano does NOT work at edelman and never did…he was at critical mass and is now at dachis

  6. Lou Wasser said:

    Isn’t this important distinction between “shift” and “salvation” true of all contemporary media?

    Is a website or a blog any more or less a salvation than a twitter or facebook account?

  7. Phil dunn said:

    “Don’t drink the communication Kool-Aid.”

    I agree, ignore the hype and the buzzwords, but make sure you’re communicating where you need to be (target your audiences, etc.)

    Here’s one of my takes –
    And several others (no particular order of stories but all SM related)

  8. Bob Bly said:

    Media guy: I will assume you are correct. I could have sworn Ad Age said Edelman, but I spilled coffee on the issue and had to throw it away….

  9. Greg said:

    I suspect social media has already hit its high point. Yesterday, I was roped into a lunch with a presentation essentially pushing a new social media web site for multi-level marketing.

    Facebook and Linkedin have helped me reconnect with friends and colleagues from my earliest days in business. I am pleased that I was able to do so. That may even lead to some income, but I am not counting on it.

  10. Phil Wrzesinski said:

    Social media, no matter how you define it, is just another form of communication, another tool for fostering relationships.

    I agree, Bob, that it is a shift not a salvation, just as the fax machine was a shift in how we sent documents (that was replaced by email, soon to be replaced by cloud computing).

    The same principles that have governed business for centuries still apply. You have to build relationships.

    Facebook & Twitter can do that. So can blogs. So can good old fashioned networking. They are all tools in the business tool shed, and like tools, each has a job it is designed to do.

    The good news for copywriters is that no matter what your chosen tool, good copy trumps bad copy every time.

  11. Mack Collier said:

    Bob glad you are discovering David, he’s one of the leaders and sharpest minds on social media. Make sure you read his blog, Logic + Emotion, as well –

    But Media Guy is right, he’s not at Edelman, he was at Digitas, then Critical Mass, and he’s currently at The Dachis Group.

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