At the heart of it, we’re all still researching the social media space. While we try to capture, explain and operationalise our learnings and best practices, the space is so nascent (even after 10 years or so) that nothing is set in stone. In fact, every campaign, every whitepaper has an epigenetic effect.
Epigenetics – how the study of an organism effectively changes and influences that organism. There is an excellent case study from the world of anthropology where a researcher conducting an ethnography into a tribe’s rituals was incorporated into the rituals – changing the ritual for subsequent ethnographers.
My main bugbear with social media has been how the self-styled experts have a totally different experience within the space than the people they are seeking to influence and educate. If you are one of the lucky 1% to have a massive following on Twitter or on your blog, you see huge value in the community – if you have a question, you can have it answered because there is a much high chance of a member of your community will know the answer and be motivated to share it.
So by participating in the social media ecosystem, and then using your findings as recommendations or sweeping statements actively changes the expectations of newcomers to the space…expectations which rarely get met, especially if you are one of the 93.6% of Twitter users that have less than 100 followers.
It has been and will continue to be an interesting ride.