I'm speaking specifically of the trend toward bashing social media to get headlines and readership for your blog, tweets, site, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for contrarians. Galileo was a contrarian. So was Columbus. Heck, so was Jesus. But I'm always skeptical of whatever article du jour is panning the power of social media. I haven't kept a running list of these posts, but you know the type - they drop an eyebrow-raising headline featuring a cherry-picked stat that indicts a major network's ability to produce results, then go on to offer qualification after qualification for their "findings." Others simply offer straw men dressed up as important business issues social media has yet to resolve.
Here's a recent example calling out social curation and specifically sites like Pinterest. The author's view is that the platforms promote selfishness and don't allow enough collaboration or storytelling. You're almost inclined to be persuaded, until you realize the author is the CEO of a "collaborative digital storytelling" site. Selfishness indeed.
The author is at least misdirecting his criticism, taking potshots at the platforms and seemingly forgetting that it is people that are the driving force of social media - for better or worse.
But to the larger point, the need to be noticed is trumping the need to be helpful in these kinds of articles. It doesn't appear to be a far cry from the kind of thing I've been blogging about going back several years: the publishers and editors of these news sources are trying to build an audience just like any other outlet, broadcast or otherwise. Unfortunately, sometimes it means misleading people or at best executing a content bait-and-switch, luring them with an attention-grabbing headline for an article that doesn't support it.
Here's the truth: most people are too proud to admit or too naive to realize that social media is evolving much more quickly than anyone can possibly keep track of it. If there are such things as experts, their credibility rests in their ability to grasp changing trends and platforms. They can communicate the change. They are researchers, not historians.
So please, take the next "social media is a waste" post you see with a considerable grain of salt. It is a snapshot in a constantly evolving ecosystem, not the definitive death knell of a communications arena.