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The Twitter germ spreads among its followers!

Ad bloggers and the trade press are once again pummeling the topic of social media…

On Adpulp, David Burn grouses he’s being limited to selecting only 2,000 followers. (Apparently, the limit is in order to thwart spammers.) From the recent Clio awards, Ad Broad reviews a somewhat contentious debate about whether Twitter is even useful to marketers at all. (Apparently, a number of senior creative directors pooh-poohed it.) Reporting on AdAge.com, Ruben Steiger suggests, “Brands in social media should be like George Costanza…and just do the opposite of what is conventional.” (Apparently, treating social networks like TV networks is way bad.) Another George (that of Adscam) thinks Twitter is a piece of you-know-what. (Nothing “apparently” about that!)

So, is Twitter like some foul pest, having recently been introduced and now breeding out of control? Or is it the second coming? My opinion: It’s both! Yes, Twitter is here to stay… only not for long. Far from going extinct, it will evolve into another form, just like one of Michael Bay’s crazy transformers. Debating its virtues only speeds the process up. And that’s as it should be. It sounds oxymoronic, but in 2009 things can be temporary and vital at the same time.

Since the advent of TV and computers, the evolution of technology has been nothing short of explosive. What was science fiction 20 years ago is now mass=produced. It’s one new new thing after another. And while the previous iterations die off (pay phones and landlines for example) their DNA lives on in the ubiquitous cell phone.

With convergence, the Transformers metaphor is even more telling. Indeed, your cell phone can do almost anything. There’s “an ‘app’ for that.” Likewise, advertising has to transform.

Back up for a moment. You Tube hasn’t killed TV and film but one wonders how many different screens people need or want moving forward. And, given that answer, which, if any, of these screens will tolerate advertising? Ironically, it appears the oldest form of advertising (the outdoor sign) will be around forever…though clearly not as vinyl. More screens! Digital billboards. Transformation.

In the ad industry, we keep trying to shape these myriad transformations so we can sell the lightning to our clients. We call it integration. Problem is we don’t understand transforming technology any better than the average teen-ager. Why not just go with the flow? Treat all media (mass, social & hybrids) as if they are temporary and vital as opposed to one or the other.

Calling the kettle black: Friends and Followers, I’m on Twitter and Facebook!

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