Guest

Shiny Object Syndrome Hurts Us All

By: Guest | March 6, 2012 | 
50

Today’s guest post is written by Doug Haslam.

During the last several years as social media emerged, we in the communications industry have railed against “Shiny Object Syndrome.”

Well, many of us have.

Others have gleefully promoted it.

To you I say, “stop it.”

Shiny Object Syndrome hurts us, and I hate being lumped in with a train of fools. 

We follow dubious statistics

Say there is a Facebook for cats.

(Please tell me there’s no Facebook for cats. I don’t think I could go on). Also, say that Facebook for cats is the “fastest growing network” in some narrow-slice demographic, or is the leader in a selectively-edited list of social networks (refers more traffic to sites than the Facebooks for turtles, hamster, and kimodo dragons combined!).

Look at that last statistic. Do people think we are morons who would lap that up?

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

Look what we have done with Pinterest. The networks’s fast growth is most often wrapped up in the proclamation that Pinterest refers more traffic than YouTube, Google Plus, and LinkedIn combined! (Exclamation point added by me, but implied strongly everywhere.)

I also wear shoes on my feet more often than on my hands, head, and shoulders combined.

It amazes me how few people noted the absence of Facebook and Twitter, the reigning monarchs of social media referral traffic, as we shelve better judgment to fit the narrative the Pinterest is All That.

Not to pick on Pinterest, but that’s the one getting all the attention now – both warranted and unwarranted.

Shiny Object Syndrome exposes a mindset that reflects poorly on other parts of our business.

Are we simply short-sighted in all aspects of our communications plans?

Are we content to be reactive freak-out artists who don’t take a long-term planning approach to how  we present ourselves and our clients?

If we are jumping on board the latest shiny object without doing our due diligence, then we are saying we run off half-cocked in all our programs– or that we are constitutionally unable of being a calming influence on our clients, who often breathlessly exclaim to their agencies they simply must put up a page representing their vitamin supplements for seniors on the new, hot, “Facebook for cats.”

Don’t laugh, I’ll bet someone would try that.

Shiny Object Syndrome makes us look like idiots.

Take the long view: Does Pinterest work for you? Great, go for it. Are you bending over backwards to make your program fit into the new Shiny Object like Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to cram their feet into the glass slipper? The results may be just as bloody if you choose poorly.

We’re better than this. I know we need to act fast, but we also need to breathe and get it right before we move in.

Doug Haslam, a 20-year communication professional, is with Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli Company, where he leads social media programs for major brands. Find him on Twitter @DougH or at his blog

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

There are 50 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  
Please enter an e-mail address