The New York Times recently posted a debate about the importance of social media. Keith Hampton, a professor of communications at Rutgers, made the following point in his post:
“Only a small number of social media are used by a majority of Americans (i.e., Facebook), but many others have obtained a critical mass with niche populations. The biggest threat to discontinuance does not rest with the possibility that social media are a fad, but with their proprietary nature. The failure of a single telephone company does not undermine the value of the telephone. However, because social media are both brands and channels of communication, a significant strategic or technological failure is the most likely impetus to mass abandonment.”
Social media is not a fad. It will, like telephone networks, reach critical mass, and I guess, based on his analysis, stay on that plateau until the next big thing. I guess at critical mass, social media becomes a utility, like its traditional media kin …. at least until the next Facebook.