Dr. Carl Sagan once said “You have to know the past to understand the present”. With the said one of the great cities of the world would be Rome, especially during the peak of the Roman Empire. Rome believed in a civilized city where the success of people was judged on what city they lived in. Here is an excerpt from Roman Society, Roman Life “Romans were after all social creatures, which craved being part of a society. The truly civilized citizen had to be more than educated or successful. No, in the Roman mind set it was necessary to belong. The Roman needed a community, a family, or at least a group of friends around him. No better place was there for this than the city.”
The minute I read this I thought, this is Facebook and it was MySpace, as I thought about it more, it is every social media site. So instead of separating by brand and .com I starting thinking of Social Media as a whole, basically a city or even empire. Now I am not comparing Mark Zuckerberg to Julius Caeser , yet his vision of Facebook did and does have some similarities.
The problem with all great cities, societies and civilizations is they eventually fall.
What are the key factors for their fail and how can the current leaders in this evolution of social media prolong their empires.
Many say, amongst other things four main factors in the fall of Rome were decadence, monetary troubles, military problems and the incompetence of leadership.
So if we look at these individually what can we learn?
* decadence – this is a tough one to avoid, success breeds it, it also breeds greed – straying so far from the core and adding feature after to feature till basically the original fantastic product is diluted away
* monetary troubles – ROI, law suites, patents, pay-offs – these are all very common terms in the land of the social media giants. Eventually it becomes simply too expensive to run the empire the way it needs to be run for it to be fantastic
* military problems – security – security of the products, security of the proprietary information and security of holding on the key minds/employees
* incompetent leadership – everyone things they can be a Biz Stone, Reid Hoffman or Sean Parker but it just isn’t true. No matter what your mamma tells you not everyone is a revolutionary who has the IQ, wherewithal and collateral to be successful at their own start up. Yet with every bad social media site and failure, it takes away confidence in the strong ones.
So perhaps we don’t live in a time where our lives are defined by the city we live in or in a ten mile radius but tell me the last time you spoke to someone and they didn’t ask you what your Twitter name was or how to find you on Facebook or LinkedIn. Maybe today’s civilization has only adapted and not really progressed much from the days of the ancient civilizations.
esful at their own start up.