Yet social media is itself as temporary as any social gathering, nightclub or party. Its the people that matter, not the venue.
This is the classic argument against social networking properties. What’s true is that they tip in a good way very quickly but they also tip in a bad way very quickly. We have a lot of evidence that there are cultural and societal factors that almost guarantee that these properties don’t last very long but who’s to say that a company can’t break the cycle?
The more interesting question is whether there is a way to extend the lifecycle of any technology platform, and not just social media properties. Think of AOL, Yahoo, Blackberry, and Windows. These are companies that have good cash flows but they all know that a big change is required if they want to be a contending platform in ten years.
Next, think about all those conflicted companies that didn’t make any changes because they didn’t want to piss of their customer base in order to keep growing or stay relevant. And think about those paranoid companies that DID make big changes but pissed off their customer base in hopes that they’ll stay relevant.
So taking all those together, you can see that solving for this is a strategic issue that a lot of people are thinking about these days. In the end, we know that we can create highly valuable, high reach social media (and other) properties. Yes, these companies grow fast and sometimes die fast but there are entrepreneurs and smart business people trying to solve that problem.
I’ll bet on innovation any day.