Quit Jumping The Shark!

May I tell you a little story?

Years ago on an insipid but entertaining TV sit-com called "Happy Days" there was an ultra cool character named "Fonzie." The Fonz somehow emanated cool. For example, I recall one episode where he was able to pop an imidating 50's hook bra with one perfectly calculated touch. Two of his lovable dweeb friends had been discussing bra unfastening technique and had left one wrapped around a radiator in the boys room at their favorite burger joint, Arnold's. Guys gushed about Fonzie, girls swooned, and James Bond probably took notes. OK, not really, but you get the idea.

The Fonz embodied coolness in American culture. Kids coveted t-shirts with "The Fonz" on them. Toys were sold. The series was a huge success for years. And then something terrible happened...

The show's producers got so uninspired with the show's worn out characters and plot that they did something desperate, something truly despicable that ruined "Happy Days" forever for most fans.

They Jumped the Shark.

You heard me. Greedy to snag one more round of ratings, the producers made Fonz waterski in his leather jacket... and successfully jump his waterskis over an enclosure teeming with huge sharks while adoring, bikini wearing girls and dorky guy friends cheer him on. His hair never moves an inch. It's corny, bizarre, and totally unbelievable on every level. Now "jumping the shark" expresses going too far with something and ruining it.

How do people Jump the Shark with Social Media?

Sometime over the summer of 2011 the status quo of running a Social Marketing campaign with Facebook, Twitter, and a Blog (with a little LinkedIn, YouTube, or Tumblr thrown in for flavor) got completely destabilized. Google Plus entered the fray, but they only represent the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. There are more social networks than you can shake a stick at and the number proliferates daily, as well as the tools and applications that help us to use them. It's become a full time job keeping a brand presence on all the major networks.

Your precious time should be spent on working your magic, whether you're an artisanal bread baker, a poet, a photographer, an accountant, an author, a software developer, Obama, or Santa's Little Helper. You should be doing what you're best at most of the day and not gossiping about coffee brands online or even plugging your brand 80% of the time in an effort to "be current" on every large social network out there.

All this shark jumping might get you some temporary buzz, but is it making you any money?

I've talked with a shocking number people were featured on major television shows, like 60 minutes, The Today Show, and The Food Network, only to get a 48 hour publicity buzz and a lot of sleep deprivation out of it. There was no pot of gold waiting for them at the end of that rainbow. They needed a savvy PLAN so that when that publicity arrived there would be something to make of it. Getting attention online or even on TV, national magazines, or movies only works if you have your stuff together.

Lori Randall Stradtman, ConsultingThere are still a few spots left to work with me one on one with me for private consulting. My coaching is for business owners and authors who want to connect with their particular online audiences effectively without wasting precious time. If you're interested contact me for details. I don't bite. But I do move you forward quickly with a strategy that works.

Quit Jumping The Shark. You've got Magic to Make.


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