My Thoughts about The Altimeter Social Media Proliferation White Paper and Solutions

Been wanting to write this post for a couple of days – there’s been so much thought, back and forth, on projects, there was no energy left to write (and that’s unusual for me – often, I’ll stay up and post here, instead of sleeping, as a measure of just how important it is, to me).

But sometimes, we just can’t (post).  Anyway – this is rectified, today – here’s a thought out post on the new Altimeter White Paper (really, it’s a position paper) which I promised to write about, last week.  I also embedded the White Paper, below.

Jason Falls calls the Altimeter paper on Social Media Proliferation, a buyers guideI agree, and there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the Social Media Management Systems (SMMS), which are really hard to tell apart for the average person.

Here’s what I liked about the paper (the ideas in it, that is):

  • Jeremiah Owyang / or whomever, at Altimeter, who did/does most of the actual work, managed to show that organizations who are mature in their understandings of social technologies, get much more value (and return on investment) out of these platforms than those that are early on or mid-stage.  I felt that was a significant, though hardly, surprising finding, and falls right in line with Collective Intellect’s Social Maturity Curve (Continuum).  After all, if you know what you want, it’s much easier to get it (amazing how findings in white papers often end up saying stuff that is really common sense -
    • What would have been surprising were if companies totally inexperienced in social technologies were getting more out of SMMS systems than those that do know themselves better – something like fish swimming upstream, or flying – but not in a surrealist painting – ha!)
  • Coming up with the 5 use cases and the RADAR map (and telling organization to be introspective and figure out what their use case(s) are, before buying anything, was smart – though, again, isn’t that common sense?
    • On the other hand, why should I  expect people to have common sense when they look at a bunch of SMMS systems, and are unable to tell them apart.
    • The visualizations on the RADAR map help companies figure out which SMMS systems to look at first.
  • The bios on the vendors, while short, provided more information about the vendor’s platform and USP than the vendors seem to be able to provide for themselves – showing just how unclear the very insiders are, on their own real differences.
    • Since the vendors have done a inconsistent and sloppy job of describing what they offer, and why we need “their solution” to handle the “179 social accounts Altimeter says, larger companies, on average, have“, is it any wonder, why the rest of us can’t figure out what the meaningful differences are?  And we thought Social Media Monitoring platforms were hard to disambiguate – this “SMMS” space is even worse!
  • Altimeter gets points for pointing out the API integrations that make these systems work in the first place, is also part of the reason we have such a hard time telling them apart!
    • The paper also points out that API integration the platforms almost all use, may also make them run somewhat unreliably and with delays, which you, as the business owner, might not be aware of.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the paper:

  • Well, it’s an Altimeter paper – I expect that, more or less, I’m going to get the same information I already know, for the most part, repackaged in such a way as I think I’m being given a bar of Gold!   I think that might be the case here, though I have to admit, I wish I came up with papers that got that much attention, that quickly.
    • But this paper was highly pimped (nothing wrong with that, by the way), and Jason Falls clearly acknowledged he was interviewed as part of it, as well as some of the other familiar names.  To be somewhat hypercritical – if they had somehow gotten my name in there, I’d being singing praises!  Nah.
  • Are there really 5 use cases?  I see a lot more people citing 3 basic use cases – but OK, if they want to call “hybrid” or custom white labeling, a use case, go ahead (maybe they needed an extra column in the RADAR chart).
  • Some of my friends who have read the paper have felt the treatment of the companies profiled was superficial
    • …and that’s kinda interesting – since even Altimeter has managed to make these SMMS companies look and sound better than they are to make themselves sound.

I’ll have more to post later – this is all I have time for right now – but certainly, The Altimeter Social Media Proliferation White Paper is well worth reading.



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