Human Relationships Still Matter Most

I had a reader cancel his Feedblitz account yesterday, citing as the reason ‘unsatisfied with the subject matter.’ I apologize if I haven’t been blogging as much recently about social media, but there is a reason: I’m bored with it.

I subscribe to over 50 blogs and I read nearly every post from each of them daily. While I would never claim ‘expertise,’ I’m probably as well read and versed as anyone on this subject. The problem is that there isn’t a whole lot I find exciting right now in social media. On a typical day anywhere from 15-25% of posts I get are about Twitter. Twitter is a simple and situationally fun service, but beyond that I don’t see the need for all the attention. Likewise, with Justin.TV. So the guy didn’t want to film himself having sex with a girl he really diggs; good for him! Pronet Advertising has been another long time favorite, but I really can’t handle another article on marketing through Digg. In fact, if your company’s primary means for marketing is through Digg, I’d suggest going back to the drawing boards. Also after all the hype and lavish praise surrounding Joost, a.k.a ‘the Venice Project’ (sounds like something from a James Bond movie, right?) I finally got to try it – not impressed. It’s TV on my laptop ‘“ so what? I already watch 24 for free via MySpace.

Three weeks ago, I actually ended my subscription to Mashable! because global social networking is over. Yep, you heard me. Until I see someone doing something really innovative, I don’t care to read about some new niche social network and its new application of Ajax or some points-based currency.

So what am I saying here? Well, I’m waiting for someone to shake things up a little. It seems like everyone wants to jump on the VC gravy train ‘“ they see one social network or widget get funded, so why not them?

I think the true social media innovators of the next few months and years will be the folks who learn from people like me when I say that the most important element in all this technology chaos is still direct human to human relationships. Human relationships matter the most – Justin and J get it. The services and companies that will really succeed will be the ones that are able to take their online communities and go offline. The most powerful interactions don’t translate into HTML.

Yvon Chouinard currently graces the cover of Fortune. Patagonia is an amazing company and a perfect example of what I am talking about. Patagonia is powerful brand because of its people. Patagonia is a community of like-minded consumers who love the outdoors, demand quality products, and appreciate the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices. A social network that would succeed would be taking this amazing community and providing them with the platform for online interactions. But, going a step further, Patagonia would also use its store locations as places to facilitate offline the relationship building, networking and product interactions that take place online. Such online/offline interfaces are what will define the next wave of great innovations. I for one am not willing to live my life vicariously through SecondLife.


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