Social Media is Sun-Setting. Or Is It? part 1

Social Media has seen its sunrise, mid-day glory and is now sun-setting. Or is it?  Find out what these experts think in a four part series.

sunset through willows, winchester, ma
Sunset through the Willows, Winchester

As I wandered the HubSpot Inbound 2012 Sponsorship Pavilion I started talking with Peter Kim and Ann Handley at the Wiley Publisher table.

We reminisced about the early days of Social Media in Boston (a whopping 5 years ago) and marveled at how many of our friends had become well-known authors and speakers.

The conversation soon focused on how Social Media is being absorbed by Marketing, PR, SEO, Content Strategy, Customer Support and other established disciplines. Peter was pretty certain about this and I agreed.

Later I wondered whether there was any consensus across these disciplines so I asked a few folks that were at the conference, or maybe wish they were and some that weren’t to offer their thoughts. Here is what they were asked, minus the gracious introduction. 😉

The proposition is that Social Media is sun-setting. It is less and less of an individual entity each day as it gets absorbed into traditional Marketing, PR, SEO, Content Strategy, Customer Support and other established disciplines.

There are two questions.

1)      Could you explain why you agree or disagree?
2)      How would you describe what might be next? What’s the next big thing?

Below are responses from experienced professionals involved with Content Writing and Strategy, SEO, PR, Video, Marketing and others. I love how each has their own relevant experience and perspective that really helps to redefine the question and offer a range of answers. Social Media is not going away in totality. It is becoming another tool in the toolbox of marketing and other disciplines. That’s my view.



Peter kim and Steve Garfield love social media
Peter Kim and Steve Garfield


Peter Kim
Business Strategist



“Social” is sunsetting. That doesn’t mean it’s a meaningless construct; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Social is fundamental to business strategy and needs to be integrated across the enterprise.R/GA believes this, incorporating social and beyond. This video explains more:


Steve Garfield
Steve Garfield, author of Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business, on Twitter @stevegarfield, is a vidoeblogging pioneer, and knows more ways to get video online – more easily – than anyone. He is a stickler for ease of use and loves to experiment. Steve’s an online video host and an advisor and investor in internet startups. He’s also Jimmy Fallon’s BFF.


Social Media is not sunsetting, it’s sunrising.

As big companies embrace social media, we are getting more and more of a chance to talk with individuals.   Whenever I have a problem, and I want to talk to someone likely, the 1st place I look is social media.

There are plenty of people on social media, ready and willing to help.   The best, and most personal responses I get for help with issues with Comcast, is on twitter.

The same can be said about pre-sales activity.  We’re just starting to see new and exciting uses for social media, and I like to experiment all the time. I’ve used social media to shop for new car, and given that advice to many people via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, when they’re looking to buy electronics like TVs, video cameras, and microphones.

As more and more people embrace social media, the channels will get noisy, but that’s what filters are for.

The next big thing we are going to see is something like Kickstarter for investors, where backers of projects participate in profits.



Christine Perkett
CEO, Founder
I help companies and individuals connect and engage with their most important audiences – at the right time, in the right place


1) I disagree. I don’t think it’s sunsetting so much as evolving. Thank goodness! It’s becoming a more integrated tool in our daily communication – just as the phone, fax and Internet did.

2)      How would you describe what might be next? What’s the next big thing? The next big thing in social media is ease of use and integration. Like I said, it’s just becoming an expected way to communicate – so it’s moving from “hot trend” to “daily activity,” but…. We need it to be easier and cleaner and less clunky. So any tools that help us to monitor the truly important conversations and brand mentions (as a marketer, this is where I focus/think), and alerts us to them so they are easy to identify among all the noise, is going to be key.

There are monitoring tools out there but some of them were ahead of their time – they were just focused on capturing mentions, making lists. And they were often clunky, not easy to use and not intuitive. Now, tools that help us to see clearly and instantaneously what’s most important to us in social conversations is what’s needed. The value of social media in business is no longer a question – most companies, both B2B and B2C, now recognize the value in Tweeting, Facebooking, Linking in or even Tumbling their way to their customer’s hearts. It’s also quite useful in connecting with media, influencers, partners and prospects. But one challenge remains for many businesses – how much time should be invested, and how do you determine the value? Anything that helps us gain those two aspects is the next big thing.


What do you think social media is doing? What’s next? Share in the comments below.

This is the first in a series. Subscribe by email or RSS so you are sure to get the next post in the series.

Read Part 2 of Social Media is Sun-setting. Or is it? part 2

Read Part 3 of Social Media is Sunsetting. Or Is It? part 3

Read Part 4 of Social Media is Sunsetting. Or Is It? part 4

All photos by Jim Spencer, except as noted.

This entry was posted in Campfire Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

24 thoughts on “Social Media is Sun-Setting. Or Is It? part 1

  1. No one mentioned G+ and google hangouts and I think that is a medium that hasn’t even begun to be utilized to the extent that it can be. It can be used for meetings, for focus groups for many ways of support, that haven’t even been thought about. I do feel that we have not developed the tools to monitor completely what we need.

    1. Michelle, as far as specific social networks it willb e interesting to see how G+ matures and whether Google Hangouts become widely adopted. There is certainly room for wider adoption and we do need better monitoring tools.

  2. I agree with Christine in that it is evolving for how can it not and that Social Media is not at the end of it’s life. I think for the people that work in social media that with all the different networks available a kind of central network that would link them all in real time could be a great tool, sort of a super connector that could benefit everyone.

    1. Lisa, thanks for your comment. In light of Twitter’s recent halt to cross posting from Linkedin and other tools like IFTTT it is hard to imagine your dream tool ever seeing the light of day. Each community has its differences, and like people they all seem to want to be treated uniquely. I have to admit though running three brands and trying to maintain accounts across multiple social sites is impossible for me. I would love a super connector too for that reason.

  3. I think the key is in the word ‘media’, meaning the methods by which we do whatever it is we want to do. People who want to sell things have always used means to do so – in recent history that began with advertisements in newspapers, through direct mail shots, to cold calling by telephone and now online social media. Despite technological advances, advertising in print media still exists (just). In 200 years I predict we will still have social media, though the means of delivery may be different (by becoming universally ‘on’ in some way 24/7?)

    I am not trying to sell things via social media, but promote an idea. Thanks to online communications, it is at least theoretically quite easy to do this in a short space of time. I was going to say that without social media it would be impossible to do this in one lifetime, and then I remembered what twelve men achieved, simply by preaching door to door two thousand years ago with no help beyond letters on papyrus and their own feet.

  4. Good article. I always like to hear what other people think on this subject. Then I ask my teenagers, as they are the drivers for whatever the next big thing is.

  5. “…the early days of Social Media in Boston (a whopping 5 years ago)”

    Boy, are you a newbie! LOL! We’ve been “social networking” since the mid-80’s: The Source, Compuserve, GEnie, AOL.

    1. Kent, great point. The definition of social media is quite different for each of us. I was thinking mostly about the launch of Twitter and its rise as I saw from the social media scene here in Boston. Limited, but we all get to start somewhere.

  6. I guess we need to ask ourselves just we think we are referring to as undergoing “sun-setting”. Have brick mobile phones sun-set: sure, but mobile communications have increased and we use better technology. Will Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and a host of other social networks sun-set: maybe, maybe not. What’s certain is that the concept of increased communications, and especially of bringing the power of communication, opinion, and influence that was formerly the domain of the privileged few to the masses, will become more desirable with the passage of time, not less. Perhaps some of the current tools will sun-set. There may be a growing need for consolidation & standardisation, and tools for making more efficient sense of the noise and clutter – but the concept of social networking itself will most certainly not go away.

    1. Mark, humans socialize. Tools that make this easier will rise to the top and become integrated into our daily lives and less of a shiny new add-on. I am not sure that all will consider this “more desirable”, but I hope it is.

  7. I think that the tools are becoming more sophisticated and so are the users. Where there is media and advertising, I think social media is around and likely to grow as businesses move off of paper.

  8. Jim,

    Thanks for including me in your series. I really enjoyed reading the other viewpoints as well as the comments. And I know you have more coming, so I’m staying tuned!

    It’s great to learn about what others are doing and how it shapes their opinions and insights. I for one, am enamored enough to enjoy the ride regardless of when or where it ends.

    1. Christine, you are most welcome. I am pleased that your contribution is earning some comments and there are more viewpoints coming this Wednesday. Keep enjoying the ride!

  9. Like Kent, I’ve been socializing online since the days of Compu$erve, back when we paid 8 bucks an hour to be online. To me the idea of social media “sun-setting” is absurd. More and more real interactions, both business and as Laura pointed out personal (intellectual, artistic, etc etc) are conducted on sites like Facebook and Twitter. It seems to me we are still near the dawn of the glory days of social media.

  10. We’ve just scratched the surface. Unless you’re a good restaurant or Apple, brick and mortar is fading. The Best Buy’s of the world will be toast within a few years. These companies can’t compete with the online giants. This is a Google, Apple, and Amazon world. It’s about growth, and social media is an online mechanism that ties into this philosophy. Online and Mobile, time to board the rocket. I highly suggest not deleting your Twitter account.

  11. Social media is what it has been since it’s inception: a tool in the tool box. It was wrong of so many to think of it as an end unto itself. It was and continues to be one of many avenues that allow us to reach our marketing goals.

    1. Mark, I think you have hit on the point I was pondering with Peter when the term “Sunsetting” came to mind. Socil media is becoming less of a “thing” and more of “yet another way” to communicate. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *