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Innovation is NOT Dead

Alex Christie

25 March 2010

Innovation Is NOT DeadTwitter. Facebook. Digg. Gowalla. Flickr. Buzz… There’s an ever-growing list of platforms which businesses can tap into and create a profitable online social media presence. Many companies have already jumped on these opportunities, building creative strategies to engage online communities.

Some have misread the current environment incorrectly, believing that the social media creative market is over-saturated. You don’t hear of too many new platforms emerging and going mainstream- the current leaders seem to be hogging the headlines. Similarly, there are just as few new approaches to social media from businesses. Most jump into the space and follow in the footsteps of their competitors or subscribe to established strategies.

Entrepreneurs and businesses need to go back to the roots of social media and rediscover what made the field so exciting: the infinite room for innovation. Though there have been significant advances and several market leaders have emerged, there’s plenty of opportunity for new ideas- all it takes is a little creativity.

Foursquare, one of the newer entries into the world of social media and a favourite of the Tamar team, has an interesting story. The mobile location service originally started out under a different name: Dodgeball. The company showed plenty of potential for growth and was lead by two innovators. Google caught wind of the hype and bought them for an undisclosed sum. Unfortunately, the new acquisition got lost under the Google umbrella- the founders weren’t given access to the resources they need to develop their business. Eventually, they quit and one started a rival service called Foursquare. While Google’s acquisition died and was folded into the largely unknown Google Latitude service, Foursquare flourished. Innovation doesn’t always come from market leaders- in fact, a clever idea supported by creative beginners is usually its birthplace.

On that note, businesses using social media need to think outside the box. Using strategies that others have established will never lead to as much success as fresh approaches will. Today’s platforms offer an unlimited number of opportunities to interact with communities. Best of all, their versatility allows innovation to flourish. Take a look at the ingenious Twitter approach used by @peretti, a smart Internet entrepreneur. Peretti built a miniature “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style game for Twitter. The game made headline news, almost doubled his Twitter following, and earned the number one SERP on Google for the search “twitter adventure.” Imagine the potential for businesses who develop their own innovative approaches to the world of social media?

Whether you’re an entrepreneur entranced by the allure of social media or a business seeking to explore the field, don’t be intimated by the environment. The reason social media can lead to success is that offers something different- a new and fresh experience. There’s plenty of room to innovate in the space, so jump right and see what you can accomplish!

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