On prophesies of doom & gloom and survival of the shiniest…

The last few weeks my many news streams were exploding with scary headlines on all things web and seo related, courtesy of Google’s latest algo updates, of course.  Headlines like SEO is Dead, and this little gem, No Corporate Website? You Don’t Need One. Welcome to the Post-Web era  got me thinking on just how easy it seems to be to sway the herd in whatever direction the wind blows, even if only for a few days, weeks, months.

It seems that the wind for these and so many IM gurus is swinging rather solidly in the direction of a new world full of bright and shiny objects and social spaces.  One where curated content strategically clipped to Pinterest can and apparently should replace a corporate or business website; one where search will be done solely from within our social circles and where by virtue of our reliance on a complex and ever-changing ecosystem made up of a myriad of social communities we will all magically be immune from a slap by Google’s Panda or some such, and our businesses will forever be secure.

Photo Courtesy blathleam via flikr

And so the herd not only takes all this to heart, but spread these posts and messages within them to their readership, and in some cases to their marketing clients.

I have neither the time nor, frankly, the patience to battle any of these claims.  That they are baseless should be evident from the choice of titles alone, but I am seeing ordinarily reasonable people swallow the sentiments voiced whole, if only because some of these blogs are considered reputable.  And this brings me to the actual point of this diatribe.

Where do we draw the line between what we accept at face value based on the source and things we should evaluate independently?  How do we indeed figure out who to trust in the ever changing guru-scape?

No, I don’t have an answer that’ll work for everyone.  What I’d like to see more of is thoughtful conversation.  If advice of any kind is dished out to readerships even in the most trustworthy of pubs, we should still be able and willing to look at critically.  Taking anything at face value when it comes to how you run and promote your business can be a very costly proposition.  Just ask the owners of those very sites that are getting delisted as we speak – they took link-building advice at face value.  Chances are some of the people who peddled those nifty link farms are now peddling social media as panacea to all business ills, no matter what your actual service, product or niche is.

So if you must follow the thought leaders, choose them wisely.  And by that, I simply mean follow thinkers, not preachers.  Follow people like Jeff Turner @jeffturner, Matthew Shadbolt @corcoran_group,  Scott Stratten @unmarketing, AJ Leon @ajleon….  Yes, this is a short list and is only meant to point you in the direction of places where absolutes are rare and thoughtfulness abounds.  You won’t find any catchy titles, or how to guides.  But you just might accidentally stumble on a string of thought that leads you to a discovery worth making.  And I would trade that for all the how to books in the world.

Your thoughts?

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One Response to On prophesies of doom & gloom and survival of the shiniest…
  1. Lynda White
    March 30, 2012 | 12:14 pm

    Ironically, Scott Stratten is doing a RainCamp webinar called “More Social, Less Media,” so there must be something to it. I’m like you, I pay attention to what he says precisely because he is a thought leader.

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