making sense of social

The Shoreditchification of Social Media

Alex Proud wrote a piece on the Telegraph website about the Shoreditchification of London. This paragraph pretty much sums up what he means by the term:

“You find a previously unnoticed urban neighbourhood, ideally one that’s a bit down on its luck. Pioneer hipsters move in and coolhunters ensure it starts trending on Twitter. A year later, the mainstream media notices and, for the next 12 months, the neighbourhood is byword for urban cool. Soon property prices soar pushing the original residents out, the bankers (always a trailing indicator) begin to move in and a Foxtons opens. Finally, the New York Times runs a piece in which it “discovers” the area and the cycle is complete. The last hipsters move on and find a new neighbourhood to play with.”


Now if we swap ‘urban neighbourhood’ for {social platform} or {tech trend} I think this description could still remain true.

Marketers, brands and agencies have become obsessed with the next big thing – I believe most refer to it as ‘Innovation’ currently – although even the terminology or words suffer the locust-like effect of Shoreditchification.

One minute, platforms, apps or technology are under the radar, picked up by the early adopters and played with out of genuine interest. It’s then brought to the attention of the masses by a Mashable article and suddenly everyone wants a piece, there’s a land grab to be first but in the process the real value or end user is forgotten and there’s a potentially great platform filled with attention-seeking CTAs. Much like in the real world that Alex describes in his article, those early adopters that unearthed the original potential have now moved on. Slowly, everyone else starts to do the same as Mashable flags another ‘next big thing’. And so the cycle continues.

The rate at which this happens is getting faster and faster. The time a brand spends or invests in a platform seems to get shorter and shorter. Everyone focuses on growth over a sustainable existence.

Alex mentions how a Foxtons will pop up and the bankers start to roll into town. Again, a metaphor for the point that a platform brings in a bigger sales team and starts to pay more attention to how much money or new ad formats they can rollout instead of enhancing the user experience or offering. Perhaps this is the IPO or over-inflated evaluation stage which it seems now happens on a monthly basis.

Alex’s take on Shoreditchification could be a positive in terms of urban renewal and allowing cities to spread outside of their congested city centres. Maybe things have become a little same-y with the pop-up restaurants and stripped brick walls, compared to a few years ago. The Shoreditchification that engulfs the Internet does not build towards something to be left behind to carry on, it seems more like we move on leaving something behind to die.

How to cut down the Shoreditchification of the internet?

1) Stop looking for the next thing, look at where you are now – are you doing it right?

2) Where’s your audience? Move with them, not with the trends that the media report.

3) If you do turn up and everyone is making burgers, don’t be scared to make Pizza.


Alex W has posted before on ESS about putting the customer first and how we need avoid getting caught up in platform hype with: Snapchat – apples, oranges and marketers



About the author

This post was written by Mark Carroll

I'm a real boy in a ever-increasing pixelated world. Interested in the interesting. Guilty of capturing life through a lens.

Follow them on twitter: @themarkcarroll

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