OK, something of a rhetorical question, as I think SM does have a really important role to play in the comms mix. But I do wonder sometimes whether it's efficacy is all that many SM evangelists would have us believe.
There are a few famous exceptions (that prove the rule?), which hit big numbers. But even some of the more famous digital campaigns end up looking quite boutique if you dig into the numbers.
And that's before you get to the ones you've never heard of.
The counter argument will be that this is because these campaigns are only hitting the people that matter. But surely the whole point of social media is that (in theory) it explodes out of particular niches and across boundaries which other media cannot cross.
And even then, from my own experience, I've come across many campaigns that were spot on for me only after-the-fact (usually on marketing-related blogs!)...and I'm social media-ed up more than most.
Case in point: Al Gore's Climate Reality Project.
I've already mentioned it over here. And I think it's a great initiative.
But it happened yesterday. And I only found out about it today. Despite my social media use, and passion for environmental and sustainability issues, topics which I follow in some depth online.
And if I didn't hear about, how many other people missed out?
I'm sure for the people involved, it will be deemed a success (and at some level may well be). But it just leaves me questioning whether there's a trick being missed somewhere along the (on)line as far as delivering mass social engagement is concerned.
Think it's vital and the future, don't get me wrong. But we've maybe not yet arrived at the point which many think we have.
PS I also accept them many will argue it's all in how you do - do it well and it works - which I guess is a point for discussion.