Are the social networks barking up the wrong tree?

MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have a long way to go before any one of them will see a return on investment, if at all.

Here's my POV on the topic as posted in Media Life Magazine today.


The video that follows, courtesy of its maker, LMcDuff08, exhibits massive movement among media executives as reflected in his Mad Ave Blues video.

We just can't keep track any more! Enjoy the video....


At the heels of the MySpace announcement that they are cutting 30 percent of their staff to accommodate a more efficient view of the site's future and to bring staffing in line with its Facebook rival, I had to sit back and think .... WTF!?

Where was Rupert? Has he been that distanced from the business of running a business that the oversight of News Corp's major investment ran away with itself?

To suggest, as Jon Miller, the new Digital Officer for News Corp does that their labor pool was "too big considering the realities of today's marketplace" is nothing short of a lame excuse for his predecessor's lack of vision and a complete misread of the fickle markets that make up their user base.

Blame Rupert. By contrast, Miller is a brilliant strategist supported by his turnaround of AOL.

It will be tough sledding, if not impossible, for Miller and the new CEO, Owen Van Natta (39) as they learn to scale the business to meet the falling demand for their network.

And as MySpace fortunes decline, a reciprocal increase in users for Facebook and Twitter take the stage,front and center. Never mind that neither has come up with a business model that turns a profit. They will continue to pile on the users until they become so top heavy with unchecked expenses and debt that the cash burn will ignite the house that Facebook and Twitter built.

These social networks, built in an instant, are the "course du jour" .... until the kids in the garage down the street launch yet another version of the same game by any other name.


Early this afternoon, one of the staffers at Agency Spy, a member of the MediaBistro empire, Twittered to ask about a recent Chivas commercial. His interest was the background music in the spot.

The music was “driving him crazy”…. He couldn’t recall where he heard it before.

This is where the artist, the album, the commercial, YouTube, an Apple iPhone App, Grooveshark (a free music sight) and Twitter all came together in a few short minutes to make our friend at Agency Spy a bit less crazed.

It’s a classic example of how ordered digital forensics can make a difference.

1-Search YouTube for “Chivas Commercial” and rank by date.

2-Play the clip and confirm it’s the right commercial

3-Use the iPhone Shazam application which “listens” to the song and plays back its title, artist and, in some cases lyrics, with a link to iTunes for potential purchase. Granted, I did hunt for a few seconds in the commercial with no voice-over to capture the music.

4-Jump to Grooveshark (, search for the album and pick the music track that matches the commercial. While on the site, you can also create a widget that can be embedded in a blog.

5-Capture the URL link to the music and forward back to Agency Spy on Twitter.


Here’s the widget with the soundtrack … sometimes it all comes together neatly, with potential for monetization and data capture along the way.


Posted by LMcDuff08 on YouTube, this brilliant video pulls together all things media in nine entertaining minutes.

It is certainly worth a short break in your day. DO IT!

With thanks for the forward to Donna Halperin, President at LifeOnKey, an online PHR (Personal Health Records) company.


No words ...just watch the video
.... wait for it to load


If success were measured by the number of followers (or users), then Twitter is undeniably a success.

Unfortunately, success in our world equates to the flow of cash and profit. In those, more realistic terms, Twitter is an utter failure. It does, however, keep good company with MySpace and FaceBook that have yet to show investors a return (an likely never will).

Before I explain what Twitter is, let me rant a bit about what Twitter is not.

Twitter is NOT social media. The term media applied to social implies a communications environment or channel that is expected to be tagged with commercial messages. Newspapers, television, magazines, radio, the internet are “media”. Social in not. Social environments can be traced back to the open air market, or agora, beyond 300 BC as merchants and buyers met to exchange information and goods.

We have, unfortunately, come to recognize today’s social environment(s) as a place where marketers can interfere in the communication process with a commercial message. Social Interference is the order of the day. And it is an arrogance that will eventually backfire on those that continue to play that game.

It has been reported that only ten percent of Twitter users generate ninety percent of the systems messages …. And those messages rarely solicit a response. Twitter is a one-way vehicle, pushing 140 character messages with little feedback. Twitter is simply an electronic Fax machine, pushing staccato (often meaningless) messages to as many as one million “followers” at once. Hardly a success.

Would YOU invest in Twitter? I would not, but I would certainly be part of the experience that drives new communications tools, win or lose.