Social Media Disruptive Innovation

Disruption Social Media

Like Big Dan Teague the Bible salesman in one of my all-time favorite movies, Gary the church directory peddler showed an unexpected side in his comment today on this post, in which I had explored the idea of using a Facebook group as an alternative to a printed church directory:

You stupid p*$#k. The money you tell people that they are saving by not spending it with a church directory company is a false statement. Most people will spend it somewhere else like sears or a much more expensive studio. Just give it time. This is an excellent opportunity for people to get inexpensive portraits compared to a studio and the church gets free printing on the flip side. This is a lasting historical document. You are so simple in your view it just shows how pathetic you really are.
I can just tell you are a loser who has been envious of people who make money. That is why you have a mean on for this low margin business.
GO F&*@ YOURSELF!
You pathetic piece of s^!$!

I guess I should be thankful he didn’t show up in a bedsheet. (And by the way, I have edited his comment to at least modify if not delete his expletives.) Maybe cleaning up his language would help him make more sales in the church market.

I’m thinking this means he doesn’t want to be my Facebook friend.

Gary’s comments do illustrate, though, that when disruptive technologies provide new opportunities for consumers and businesses, there are some losers. (Gary says I’m one, but if that’s the case how come he’s the one who’s mad?)

I’ve written a lot about the disruption in the mainstream media. Cable TV started the disruption for the broadcast networks a generation ago. CNN stole viewership from the Big 3. Then came MSNBC and Fox News Channel. And now with internet video and iPods people have infinite choices. In the last year NBC has laid off 700 employees.

In addition to the web-based competition that affects TV, newspapers have found that their cash cow of classified ads has been milked by Craigslist and monster.com. So in the last year we’ve seen the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press buy out nearly 100 employees from their newsrooms alone. Meanwhile, the valuation of Facebook, based on Microsoft’s investment, suggests that it may be worth more than the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times combined, with YouTube and the Chicago Cubs thrown in to sweeten the deal.

And Wikipedia clearly makes it harder for World Book to sell multi-volume encyclopedia sets (like the one we bought at the county fair in the mid-1990s) for several hundred dollars.

So it’s easy to see how Gary and others who face the disruptive innovation of social media may feel like singing along with the smash hit of The Soggy Bottom Boys.

I am a man of constant sorrow
I’ve seen trouble all my day.
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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of nine, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

0 thoughts on “Social Media Disruptive Innovation”

  1. O Brother Where Art Thou is one of my favorites too. I love that song! Whoever wrote that comment on your post has serious problems. There is just too much anger this day and age and especially in this country (the US).

    It’s amazing what people will write and never say to your face. Thanks for the link to the song!

  2. Thanks, Aruni. Disruptive technologies by definition are upsetting to some people’s worlds. Some react constructively and try to see how the technology can become their friend, while others just vent. But the technology isn’t going to go away, so it’s a lot more useful to think creatively about how to employ it.

  3. Just a point of clarification … technologies in and of themselves aren’t disruptive. Its the entrepreneurs and business models that they inspire that do the disrupting. This is why you complainant is so upset. The web is a technology that birthed Facebook as a business offering. This offering is more appealing to consumers than old fashioned directories and hence the companies that peddled them. Progress can be a fearsome thing!

  4. I completely agree. One disruptive business offering (Facebook) causes people to think in disruptive new ways (on-line church directory), and therefore compounds the disruption.

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