Twitter and other digital bling

Twitter and other digital bling

“What value are some of these social networking tools or are they just a fad?” questions James Carlini.
Do you have Facebook account? (2 Million users) What about TWITTER? Aren’t you on NING yet? Are all these a “must-have social networking tool” to conquer the pressures and opportunities of today’s society or are they just part of the current digital bling that will fade away as quickly as a Nehru jacket did in fashion?
Business networking tools like LinkedInN and PLAXO need nurturing. Which one do you put some time into to populate a database of contacts to maintain? Are you still keeping up your resume or have you figured out that it’s a time waster?
Some that were touted as a must-have tool for keeping connected in business circles have already lost their importance as well as their panache.
Some universities contemplate adding new curricula to try to stay up with ever-changing society and social networking tools. They are contemplating developing courses on this and yet there is really no depth in these types of tools. Some PR experts look at offering courses and/or degrees in social media equaling a Masters in “Republican”.
As one source put it: “Digital Bling is for the “joiners” of the world who need affiliation.  Hell, it’s all about “notice me” or “I am cool too.” Nothing is wrong with that. I’m just not one of ’em.
There have always been both real and hyped status symbols in the physical world that were the “Bling of the Day” throughout every decade, so some of us are leery of a must-have social networking application in the digital world.
Look into your non-digital life. What did you buy in order to part of the “in crowd” at the bar, disco and/or school?

  • Members ONLY jacket
  • NORTH FACE Jackets
  • Harley T-Shirt
  • Columbia Jackets
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • And of course any NASCAR Jacket
  • And in Wisconsin only – Green Bay Packers jackets

Certain labels scream “I belong” or “I am part of the in-crowd”. Or, do they really just bray, “I’m another sheep that wants to be accepted”? Wait sheep don’t bray – but donkeys do.
Even watches have gone through a series of “what-is-the-coolest-to-have-on” phases. Are they expensive status symbols, a true symbol of the affluent, or just “Look-at-me – I’ve got one on too”? So which one do you have on?

  • ROLEX (Why buy one when the fakes are so good?)
  • Tag Heuer, Patek Phillipe or Breitling (These all scream I belong.)
  • Swatch (Do you have the one that has message channels on it?)
  • MOVADO (some fakes were so good, you could not tell the difference in a bar)
  • INVICTA (Oh yes, you belong. As they say on TV, “This is a fashion forward statement.” — NOT. The real big ones look like a sundial is on your wrist.)
  • No watch at all, just a PDA

Everyone understands the status symbol of cars. They have been around for awhile and have gone through a dramatic shift in what is the ultimate cool. Unfortunately, many names that defined the cool crowd or the in-crowd are not even produced anymore.
Except for a small group of cars that have become rare collectibles and out-of-reach to mere mortals, many brands that screamed class, culture and cool are no longer made:

  • Duesenberg
  • Delahaye
  • Cord
  • Stutz Bearcat
  • Bugatti (the originals)
  • Avanti
  • Bricklin

Today, up-and-coming “affluence addicts” are worshipping BMW 3-series while others look down their noses commenting, “Oh, it’s ONLY a 3-series”. Other BMW devotees, believe you have to drive a 7 series to be “really up there”.
Depending on what club you talk to, the “in car” is a Lexus, a BMW or a Mercedes but some are crying that a Cadillac CTS-V should be up there somewhere.
Green cars? Please. Here is a car that screams real status with the likes of Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) driving convertibles. Everything else sort of pales next to a twin-turbo 600HP Bentley, especially when you can slide it into a “Fast and Furious” four-wheel drift. ( )
Green cars? Yes there was one in the video.
In the non-digital world, we have used many “tools to promote someone’s status” but let’s return to social networking tools on the net.
Some questions to ponder. Is having 5,000 in your network that much better than 500 or 50? How much time do you start to devote to maintaining this tool? When do you have to hire someone full time just to manage your social networking tool for you or do you just stop doing whatever you were really working on to “manage your connections”?
Throughout the years, the gimmicks change but the same strategy is being sold: “Here is the silver bullet that will cure all your problems” or “You must belong to the group”. Digital bling is nothing more than the virtual equivalent of flashing that “I belong” card for some group or car club.
Are you a twit? Do you send stupid Twitter messages like “I have arrived” when your plane lands? Or other classics like:

  • Are you there? I am at______(fill in the blank)
  • What are you having for lunch?
  • I can’t decide between the hamburger and fries or a chili dog.
  • Where are you?
  • I am in my car driving. (If you text message while driving you are MORE than a twit. Unfortunately, the editor will edit out my comments on this.)

Will we move beyond Twitter? Yes, because it’s a pretty shallow application. There will come a time in the near future when someone will comment, “You still Twitter? How lame.”
Let me save some time and move the future forward. You still Twitter? How lame.
CARLINI-ISM : All technology and revolutionary gadgets eventually timeout. Social networking tools are no different.
James Carlini will be the Keynote speaker at the Service Industry Stimulus Summit to be held on April 20-21, 2009, Hilton Milwaukee Center, 509 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Register here
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on the Strassman Report on Etopia News
Copyright 2009 – James Carlini