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Business model for social media?

Escher's Crystal Ball

Escher's Crystal Ball

Years ago, folks had to figure out how to use the printing press in a way that generated revenue instead of creating a financial loss. Bright minds figured it out after a little while, and their ideas have been in use ever since.

Then, suddenly, we had radio. Coolidge embraced it and won the post of US President. Another prominent politician of his day, Elihu Root, reacted badly when a radio microphone was placed in front of him as he prepared to give a speech, exclaiming “Take that thing away! I can talk to a Democrat; I can’t talk to a dead thing.” (Listen to Terry O’Reilly’s podcast episode, “There’s Never a Marques of Queensbury Around When You Need One,” The Age of Persuasion, Episode 1, 2008-01-12, also available free on iTunes.)

(Oh, and have you ever heard of the “Press-Radio War?” Sounds eerily like the Press-Internet war of 2009! Want to read more?)

Along came TV, and Super Bowl half-time ads came to epitomize the confidence that businesses have (had?) in using TV to support their business goals.

The millennium turned, and the Internet came of age with companies like Google and Amazon mastering their business models for the internet, processing almost unthinkable revenues.

Now we have social media, representing a whole new medium to figure out. Unlike Coolidge’s contemporary, we can adopt it, experiment with it, grow with it, and weave it into a new style of business model.

I just wish I had the benefit of hindsight to help me know what the best ideas are going to be (ever try to compile a list of all the social media channels out there already? Check out this list of just-news-sharing social services alone…) and get going with them instead of the “loser” ideas! (Remember the Betamax-VHS wars of the 1980’s?)

But wait: that still leaves me trying to figure out a supportable business model.

Do you happen to have a super-smart crystal ball I can borrow?

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About Erin Anne Beirne

I use storytelling and "content marketing" to promote my clients' work. I develop and implement communications strategies using all the on- and offline tools and media at our disposal, publish books and ebooks and market them internationally, or even just simply create a new website and teach the client how to run it. If you have something interesting to say, a valuable service to offer, or an important cause to promote, I'd love to work with you, too!

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