Once again, Seth Godin has written something that make me think:

When Google + launched, millions of formerly optimistic people became optimistic again. Maybe this was going to be the one, the social network with just the smart people and none of the lame stuff, none of the spam or the pitches or the people we're trying to avoid.

...

Of course, it rarely is. So much disappointment and so much bitterness. It's never as great as you hoped it would be. Ennui and then, eventually, waiting for yet another new frontier.

In internet marketing, this is referred to as "Shiny Object Syndrome" -- the tendency to jump from technique to technique whenever something new comes out, and never follow through with anything.

So, why is it that we chase shiny new objects instead of shining up old objects? I can think of two reasons:

  • We haven't found anything that works for us yet. We're optimistic enough to give new techniques the benefit of the doubt till they've been proven to be as useless as those we've tried before.
  • Pure laziness.

Actually, the first is a nice way of saying that we still believe that someday we'll find an easy button that works.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Diffe...
List Price: $17.99
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Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
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If we weren't looking for an easy button, we wouldn't be trying out shiny new objects -- we'd be shining up old, time-tested objects. Or we'd be using grimy old time-tested objects, and not worrying about whether they shine or not.

The bottom line is that some things are known to work -- things like the marketing methods taught by the old masters. They may not be glamorous or easy, but they're dependable.

There's nothing wrong with trying out the new in addition to the old. Sometimes the old has to evolve. But ignoring the old to jump from new to newer is like putting a roof over a stick-figure drawing.