Business Advice

Is there a maggot in your social media?

What’s worse than finding a maggot in your apple? Finding half a maggot.

If you were one of the millions of people flocking to Pintrest, Google+, Unthink, Facebook Timeline, Path and so on while they were still in Beta, you’ve probably already swallowed the other half.

As far as I can see, there’s only one reason for the proliferation of social media platforms in recent months.


Users dissatisfied with the way that existing platforms force them to display themselves.

Brands chasing those users because they’re dissatisfied with the ROI of their existing owned/earned spaces.

Each hoping that the new platforms will allow them to get a little bit closer to their true, underlying nature, to close the gap between their actual and their idealised selves.

Welcome to the maggot in the apple.

In fact, the maggot has nothing to do with social media platforms per se.

The maggot is the feeling that “It will all be better if…”.

If I join Pintrest, my blog traffic will go up.

If I get the new Facebook Timeline, I’ll be more transparent and authentic than ever.

If I am one of the first into Unthink, I’ll find a new audience who appreciate my time, effort and insight.

The maggot is the reason that we’re not as famous as we’d like to be in the first place.

It is the unrealised potential of what we’ve already got.

It’s nothing to do with the platform.

It’s got everything to do with how we use it.

Here’s a free piece of advice, learnt from hard experience.

Before you fly off into the next big thing, the thing that everyone else is doing, ask yourself this question:

Why am I doing this?

If it’s because you’re an early adopter and it’s in your nature, fine. Great, in fact. The rest of the web needs you.

If it’s because you’ve made the most of your earned and owned spaces within other platforms, fine. Well done in fact.

But if it’s because you’re not quite as famous as you’d like to be, and think that you deserve a bit more, STOP.

Instead of jumping platforms, work out what’s so wrong with where you are. What you could do to wring more out of it. How you could share differently, what you could share differently, who you could engage more effectively.

If you’ve done this, and know that where you are is truly broken, then fine, go to the next big thing.

Just don’t waste your time – or your brand’s – in going to the next big thing because it’s the next big thing.

You won’t be solving the problem, just transferring it.

Do this, the maggot wins and you will never be as famous or well-regarded as either you think you should be, or as you actually deserve to be…

Neil Hopkins is a Marketing and Branding Theorist at heart, and a Marketing Communications Manager by day. His blog – interacter – is the primary location he shares insight and information relating to marketing, branding and advertising strategy.
You can follow Neil on Twitter, circle him (like an escaped bull) on Google+ or track him down in any number of other ways.
The image used at the top of this post is taken from kahunapulej’s Flickr Photostream under Creative Commons.


7 thoughts on “Is there a maggot in your social media?

  1. Thanks for that swift kick in the pants. I found your article just in time. I guess in my search for fame, I have taken the first steps to spreading myself too thin in too many areas. I will definitely take your advice, and stick to the platform that works best for me. And if it isn’t working so great I will see what I need to do to fix it on my end. I mean seriously, how can I be successful in 10 marketing areas if I haven’t been able to conquer my first one yet? Love it! Please keep sharing…I am learning as I go.

    • Hey Patti

      I hear ya! I think that one of the most difficult things in social media is resisting the urge to be everywhere all at once. I know that I have certainly fallen foul of that in the past… I had a count once, and I think that I was registered on 11 different networks at the same time, all with different degrees of use. I know that many others were registered on even more, which is why there were so many discussions about social media burnout when Google+ arrived.
      (Excuse me for being self-referential, but here’s a post about that and about how burnout could be a good thing!
      You might also be interested in these thoughts about fast and slow paced social networks, which could come in handy too: )

      Part of this is because most of these networks are free and can be signed up for in 10 seconds flat. So there isn’t the “Should I or should I not pay for this” barrier to stop people signing up and giving it a go!

      So which networks are you on, Patti? I see that you’ve got your blog and Facebook too – are you exploring any others?

      Also, do let me know if I can be of any further help. I’m not a social media expert, but I follow/friend/circle (!!!) quite a lot of people who have some phenomenal knowledge in this area – I would be delighted to share some links.

      And thank you for stopping by and leaving the feedback – I do appreciate it!


  2. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for all the extra information. I see I have an education in store. I haven’t done a lot with Google+ yet, except my personal information. Nothing on there about my blog just yet. I am on Twitter as well as FaceBook.

    In today’s economy, my audience is pretty wide range, my only real Target Market would be people trying to find ways to save money. As we both know, that is 3/4 of the nation. So, my first thought was to filter into EVERY free site out there. But alas, I don’t have enough hours in the day. There are way too many of them. So, I will make an effort to concentrate on the top 3 info pushing sources: Twitter, FaceBook and WordPress. I may look into Google+ a bit more, but I’m just not sure how it works yet. So I will take a look at your article and possibly make some adjustments.


    • Hey Patti

      No problem! One group I’d recommend you check out is #UsGuys on Twitter – great group of people and really knowledgeable on all aspects of Social Media.

      Have you also checked out any money saving forums? These can be great ways of building a niche but highly engaged community…


      • Hi Neil, I will check out #UsGuys, and see what knowledge they have to share. As for the money saving forums, I am an information, research hound. I visit them daily, however I haven’t become as engaged as I need to be. Thanks again Neil, and do keep on sharing…I really am learning as I go.

  3. The way I see it is that different platforms perform well for different businesses. B2B types might get more value from a site like LinkedIn where as the lastest coolest brand would do better trying reach consumers via Facebook and viral content. Arty types and designers should utilise sites like Pinterest while musicians do better on MySpace. It’s different strokes for different folks, except for Twitter where pretty much any business can benefit. I think the best advice I’ve heard is to pick three and focus your efforts on those. We’ve all seen the “Share This” bar taking up three rows at the bottom of a blog post, does anyone actually take the time to share on all these random sites? Of course not, they stick with the icons they know and love so why bother wasting time with the rest?

    • Thanks for the comment, Mike! Totally and utterly agree with you.
      The advice to pick three is spot on – hopefully the maggot will catch a fish (to push a metaphor) with the right attention brought on specific platforms!

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