Image by "roygullem" on Flickr
If you’re a fan of sports (specifically College Football), you’ve heard of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Odds are you’ve even complained about the BCS once or twice. We won’t get into what a horrible system the BCS is, but if you think about it, the BCS has a lot in common with social media.
1.) Nobody likes the BCS…but the BCS – “Nobody” is a little extreme, but do you know anybody that has argued to keep the BCS around in the last few years? They’re not on the popular side unless they are sitting in an office with the BCS officials. Similarly, who are the largest advocates of social media? Those that make money as a product of social media.
If people on the inside are the only advocates, they are often blind to outside opposition. When logic and reality fly out the window, you’re drinking the Kool-Aid. Luckily, social media is gaining momentum in outer circles while BCS stock has been declining since it was established.
2.) The BCS “mission” isn’t exactly the goal of the BCS – If you ask a BCS official what the goal of the BCS is, they’ll tell you their goal is to find and match-up the two best teams in college football. If you ask an advocate of social media what the benefit of getting involved is, they’ll tell you about building relationships and reaching consumers where they spend their time. What’s the reality of both? The goal is to make money.
The BCS doesn’t necessarily win if the two best teams play in the championship, and businesses don’t necessarily win if they talk personally to consumers. The odds that both will be successful increase if they achieve their stated goal, but neither can exist if they don’t establish the underlying need of profitability. The rest doesn’t really matter.
3.) The big boys always have the edge in the BCS – In theory, the BCS puts all teams on a level playing field and the best teams will compete in the championship game each year. You see where this is going? One of the largest selling points of social media is that it puts small businesses on the same level as big corporations. Don’t be fooled though – the power conferences always have the upper-hand in the BCS and large corporations are still the ones that will push social media forward and make the largest splash when they get it right.
In the case of the perfect storm, small conference teams can impact the BCS heavily and the same goes for small businesses in social media. If they big boys aren’t making the news, an excellently planned and executed social media campaign will get noticed and hit the big time.
What do you think? Maybe the BCS and Social Media are crossing paths while heading different directions.
Here’s a bonus comparison – If the more established communications fields (marketing, PR, advertising) are the BCS conferences, social media is still the mid-major looking for the chance to get into the big game and prove itself against the heavy competition.