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Social media is already passé in Silicon Valley

Social media is already passé in Silicon Valley

By Carole Bersillon, Intern

Nowadays it is an obvious fact that social media cannot be ignored by PR professionals. Agencies have to build their digital presence to demonstrate their ability to manage online branding, online influence or their capacity to be there where it is trendy. I myself do not seriously consider an agency in my job search if it is not on Twitter (I do not tweet, but inherently and inexplicably I believe they have to do so), if it does not have a serious blog (I am not going to read it but it shows they have some sort of thoughts about their industry) or if the Facebook page does not depict a fine and fun work environment. Not only do PR agencies need social media to build their brand and obey to the be-trendy imperative, but also clients expect them to be good at managing them, even if they do not necessarily always fully  understand social media or will make profit from social media strategies. Sometimes they just do not need it. But at the same time they have the odd feeling that they have to be on social media. So individuals, PR professionals and companies threw themselves into social marketing strategies, started building relationships via digital conversations or being part of online communities.

Although it is indisputable that social media are trendy and a necessary and requested skill/knowledge for PR professionals, the news this week gave me the feeling the wind could be turning. Few articles/op-ed in The Wall Street Journal made the point that social media is a non reliable fad (financially speaking) that attracts criticism.

One of the biggest news this week concerned General Motors’ decision to stop advertising on Facebook because GM Says Facebook Ads Don’t Pay Off and it is not proven that the $10 million spent last year on ads have impact on consumers’ car purchases. We come across one of the big questions of PR/advertising/marketing again: how to measure success of the strategies and the profits on sales and business?

The two opinion pieces by David Weidner (Here Are 10 Reasons Not to Buy Facebook Before You Buy It Anyway) and Rich Karlgaard (The Future Is More Than Facebook) raised concerns about Facebook’s risky IPO coming soon and its sustainability in the future. Here again, profitability is discussed as well as the social network’s survival. The infographic about Facebook IPO by David Cohen on Allfacebook is also pretty meaningful.

Finally, Ralph Gardner wrote the hilarious piece Brand Takes a Tweeting about tweeting or not tweeting (that is the question) in his daily column. “I resisted jumping aboard the Twitter bandwagon until last week for reasons both practical and philosophical. (…)Anyway, last week I threw in the towel and started to tweet. So far it’s backfiring, badly. I thought I’d have more followers by now. I have 15. The first time I tweeted—just that day’s column—my wife asked me several times how many followers I had. I think she was being passive-aggressive, trying to cut me down to size. I got all excited when I got two more followers in quick succession, then realized they both worked for The Wall Street Journal’s communications department. As much as I appreciate their support, I don’t think that counts.”

Thanks GM, misters Weidner, Karlgaard and Gardner, you made me feel better about my own online presence, skills and interest.

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