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Social Media Won't Consolidate: Alexandra Samuel Has Five Reasons Why
Digital and Social Media | June 10, 2013

Social Media Won't Consolidate: Alexandra Samuel Has Five Reasons Why

Digital media speaker Alexandra Samuel writes about a contemporary quandry. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine: Why can't we have one social media site that does it all? In The Harvard Business Review she refers to our current "embarrassment of riches [which] has given marketing, communications and customer relations pros a major integration headache." With so many different platforms, it's tough to stay on top of them all. Since these tools are doing so many different things, it doesn't look like consolidation is on the horizon. "Nor is the fragmentation problem limited to the tools: the ecosystem of social media platforms is fragmented, too, and growing more so."

An entire industry pulled in different directions, but why? Here's five reasons Samuel thinks social media won't be coming together any time soon:

1) Low barriers to entry: With a social platform, I can aggregate much of your social data as easily as you can, simply by pulling in your social mentions across platforms. That makes it easy for me to show you exactly how my platform will work in tracking your social universe...and significantly reduces the competitive barriers to later entry.

2)Ease of migration: Unlike ERP or database migration, changing social platforms often requires no data migration, but simply the effort to move a bunch of keyword searches and social network authentications.

3) Fragmented needs: Social media tools are fragmented in part because businesses' social media needs are fragmented," Samuel points out. "Any integrated tool is likely to represent an imperfect compromise between these units' very different needs.

4) Consumer demand: Your customers, not your staff, decide which social networks they'll use...and you'll have to go there to meet them. So far, consumers (goaded by the tech and business press) seem prepared to embrace at least one new social platform a year (this year, it's Vine...last year, it was Pinterest). Enterprise social media managers must prepare to do the sam/.

5) "Startup" mentality: The reliable emergence of a new platform or two each year means that working in social media will continue to attract people who have not just a tolerance for novelty, but a hunger for it.

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