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How Long Will The Social Media Hype Last?

Social media is a hot topic and there is a high element of hype. Social Media Hype CycleMarketing companies and brands are working out how to implement all the different platforms and are experimenting with different strategies and tactics.

Facebook is being used to promote content, run competitions and listen and engage with customers.

Twitter is treated with disdain by most of the uninitiated but others are using it for sales promotions and customer service to good effect and bloggers are using it for content promotion.

Brands are using social media monitoring suites, tools and apps for monitoring buzz about their brands so as to quickly answer and respond when sentiment goes pear shaped. (If you write something negative about a brand on your blog and tweet it …don’t be surprised if you get a tweet or blog comment in response.. I have, both from Ford and General Motors).

YouTube was just about personal videos, now it is about video blogging and is applied to websites and blogs in creative ways for companies and brands that was never part of the plans when the platform was initially established.

So where is all this hype going? Can we predict how long the ‘Hype’ will last and can we use that information to our advantage.

Gartner issues an annual ‘Hype Cycle‘ of emerging technologies and will be issuing their latest next month but I think is worth having a look at last years and see how the technologies are placed.

The Hype Cycle Of Emerging Technologies

Gartner Hype Cycle Of Emerging Technologies 2009

So what are the years to mainstream adoption for the hottest trending and social media technologies based on Gartner’s ‘Hype Cycle’?

  • Corporate blogging – 2 to 5 years and on the slope of enlightenment
  • Microblogging (Twitter) – 2 to 5 years but on the downside of the peak of inflated expectations and is experiencing the inevitable disillusionment around ‘channel pollution’, but is starting to earn its place alongside other channels such as email, blogging and wikis
  • Online Video (YouTube and others) – 2 to 5 years and in the peak of inflated expectations
  • Social software suites – 2 to 5 years but according to Gartner”Within businesses, there is strong and rapidly growing evidence of experimentation and early production deployments. The movement from point tools to integrated suites has brought broader adoption but also high expectations. Disillusionment is beginning based on the realization that, even with a suite, much work must be done to build an effective social software deployment“.
  • Wikis – 2 to 5 years and in the slope of enlightenment
  • E-Book readers – 2 to 5 years but in the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’

If you are interested in a more in depth look at this topic Gartner has a book called ‘Mastering the Hype Cycle

The challenge for companies is timing their decisions to ensure that they are not too soon or too late. Maybe it is  better to be a little too early rather than too late before your competitors have the jump on you.

So how can you apply your decisions and innovation so that you invest in the right social media technologies before it is too late?