An unapologetic look at Hospitality

Entries tagged as ‘social media’

Beware the Guru… Social media is a scam?

July 9, 2011 · 2 Comments

BEWARE: this is not entirely safe for reading at work!

As much as I gave the PriceLine guy a hell for calling social media a scam, which of course it is not (although — credits below — it was pointed out to me that coming out of the gate with a denial is fishy), there is enough crap to go around. I am talking about all those guys (and gals too) that call themselves experts just because they have a Facebook page.

Sturgeon’s Law states that 90% of everything is crap. This law was created in the 1950’s, much later Gary Vaynerchuck stated that 99.5% of all social media experts are clowns. Remember the early 90’s when everyone and his brother all of a sudden became a “web designer”? My late father (a REAL designer) is still rolling over in his grave when he hears that word… Web designer. The same thing is happening all over again!

TwitterIn 2010 B.L. Ochman did some research and found that Twitter was the home of 17,283 “Gurus”. Using titles such as “social media ninja”, digital marketing guru” and my own personal favorite, “change agent”. What the hell is a change agent? Somehow I am supposed to understand, from that title, you are NOT the guy putting orange cones on the road during periods of construction? I mean, that is change right?

Anyway, that number led someone else to project that by 2013 there will be 360 million social media experts out of an expected 375 million total Twitter users. In other words, a contingency of people larger than the population of the United States, will somehow be helping us “getting the word out”. Yeah Right! That begs the question, who are these people and who are they working for besides each other?

You really ought to watch the AMAZING presentation that Scott Berkun did called “Calling BS on Social Media Gurus”. You can watch it here. Humorous and informative, Scott shows how to call BS (yes that stands for bullshit) on the so called social media experts to a group of social media experts (that’s guts right there). During the presentation Scott explains why social media is not a “fundamental shift” or “transformative”. That if people start by saying “it’s not a fad” they probably have something to hide (coming out of the gate with a denial is fishy) and that anecdotal data should probably not be trusted.

If you still don’t believe that 90% of everything is crap (Sturgeon) or that 99.5% of all social media experts are clowns (Vaynerchuck), then maybe you should read Alex Blom’s “Why social media gurus should be trampled by elephants“.

Lastly (thanks, Scott) it’s probably a good thing to inform yourself of the true meaning of the word Guru. According to Wikipedia:

The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.

Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5

That’s some heavy stuff! That’s almost Darth Vader shit! Do you want one of those 300some million clowns going all Star Wars on your bee-hinde with your marketing budget? As always, the comment lines are now open!

Categories: Social
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@Hospitalitystat Twitter top 10

June 13, 2011 · Leave a Comment

As you know I have got this side project going on (, collecting interesting stats about how hotels use social media. I just used all that information to come up with the first ever “Hotel Twitter Top more than 10 less than a 100”. The results and full analysis are over this way!

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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No Vacancy 2011 – Social Media is a scam!

April 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

On March 23rd the No Vacancy conference was on in Sydney, Australia. I was supposed to go but instead I got stuck in the office dealing with real business. You know how that goes, someone has to stay behind making sure service to our customers isn’t interrupted. I was stuck following the events through various live-blogs, Twitter and the likes. What follows are a few highlights of #novac11 as seen through the eyes of an absentee.

William ShatnerFinding himself amidst several key-players in the socio-sphere, I couldn’t help but think that Mister Glenn Fogel of should have gotten the price for gutsiest performance. Either that, or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Given that you don’t just become EVP of a company that large on good looks alone, maybe there is something he knows that we don’t. But to paraphrase, he called social media people scammers. Hmm! As the Web In Travel folks asked on their Facebook page. Did he say that out of fear or conviction?

The exact quote got somewhat lost in the shuffle for me (that in itself is an interesting side-effect of social media). Web In Travel used the term charlatans, while the Tnooz live-blogger Graham Robertson quoted Fogel as saying,  “No one understands if social media will work out. They are hucksters trying to steal your money.” Hmm times two!

To be fair to Glenn, he seemed to have mostly been talking about buying advertizing space on social networks. I am with Glenn at least on that one.  I don’t think an ad on Facebook will ever be more than marginally successful. In the greater scheme of things however, saying that no one understands social media flies directly in the face of soc. media success stories. A few of which being told at #novac11 that very same day.

Take for instance Accor hotels putting TripAdvisor reviews right on their own web site(s). That is a bold move! And it’s not just some test in a backwater market where nobody ever books a hotel either. During #novac2011, Accor’s Australian VP  Simon McGrath explained that Accor saw a booking increase at properties with lots of review traffic compared to those with less reviews. When asked why Accor didn’t use their own review system, McGrath’s answer was that TripAdvisor, as a third party, had much more credibility.

In the end it’s simple. Who do you trust? William Shatner or your neighbor?

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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