To many measurement and PR people, social media is not the latest new thing, it is the thing. But to those who think over the really long term, social media is just the latest step forward in the punctuated equilibrium of the evolution of communication technology. See, for instance, our interview with Jim Macnamara.
Stephen Baker thinks like that, witness his NYTimes essay suggesting that social media is not necessarily the greatest thing since tin cans-and-a-string. (Can Social Media Sell Soap?) At least when it comes to selling things. Perhaps social media and sales are just very complexly related, and the real potential of SM is yet to be discovered:
"Even if this matrix of humanity sputters in advertising and marketing, it’s bound to spawn new industries in consulting, education, collaborative design, market research, media and loads of products and services yet to be imagined. Maybe, just maybe, it will even be able to sell soap."
Go read the whole essay.