Microtrends Fail

microtrends fail

I was shocked to discover that Mark Penn’s book Microtrends has its own Facebook application. Here’s what it does:

One percent of the nation can make or break a business, tip an election, or start a social movement. Which 1% Are You? Take the Microtrends quiz to find out and compare results with friends. You’ll be automatically entered to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

A new winner is picked every month and contacted via their Facebook email. To qualify, please complete the quiz and be sure to keep the Microtrends application installed, as we can only contact active users. For complete details, please see the Microtrends Facebook Sweepstakes Official Rules.

So basically, famed consultant Mark Penn has created a Facebook application that does pretty much the same sort of inane polling as the Gigolo-Meter, only now there’s a gift certificate to win.

I was less shocked to discover that Microtrends only has eleven fans (and only 3 regular application users). Had I thought about for more than 2 seconds before checking out who they were, I probably could have predicted that at least 4 out of the 11 fans were Burson-Marsteller employees.

As the kids on the internet would say, You’re Doing It Wrong!

This is likely an example of where a social networking consultant went way wrong and predicted that there would be value in something that there clearly is not. Time was spent developing an application and if the people building it were anything like Mark Penn, they billed an obscene amount of money for what is effectively an inappropriate and ineffective product.

One of the worst trends in online political organizing is for campaigns or organizations to feel compelled to create their own internal social networking platform. These platforms almost universally tend to do poorly what Facebook and MySpace do quite well, at a tremendous cost to the client (while obviously the existing, successful social networking platforms are free). But I think there’s an equally bad trend emerging in social network weaving efforts which is demonstrated here by Microtrends. Not everyone needs a Facebook application. Some things just don’t have to be replicated in Facebook. Often times, like here, what is produced is either shoddy or lame, and thus unpopular. Since the whole point of doing things on social networks is to gain popularity and connect people to your work, I think it’s safe to say that Microtrends presence on Facebook is a failure.

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