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No, this “INSANE Graphic” will not make you a better social media marketer

When Business Insider Advertising posted a story about an “INSANE Graphic” about social media marketing last week I simply shrugged and moved on. Since then, the post has attracted huge amounts of attention online, amassing over 500,000 views and around 9k shares on each of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And with LinkedIn reporting that the story is now trending within Accenture, Microsoft and IBM, perhaps it warrants a second look.

The graphic, by Luma Partners, is a visual representation of the logos of some of the top products and services associated with social media today. It’s one of a series of similar diagrams that attempt to explain the complex ecosystems of various online marketing sectors. Here’s the “Social LUMAscape” that’s attracting so much attention:

Social LUMAscape

Take a moment to drink in the enormity of what you’ve just seen.

It’s a complicated diagram alright. But is it helpful? No, of course not. It’s utterly absurd. Charts like this are much loved by “social media gurus” because they help make something no-one controls or fully understands look structured and professional. But never in the history of the internet has anything useful been done as a result of a chart like this. No-one needs to know all these services and any attempts to compartmentalise each service misses the defining point of the social web: that no service operates in isolation, but is interconnected, conceptually if not physically, to every other service available online.

I can understand the appeal of complicated charts like this and I confess to having used similar diagrams in the early days of the social web to help explain the vastness of the online ecosystem. But the days of this sort of visualisation serving any useful purpose are long behind us. We need more enlightened and informed guidance if we’re to make sense of our rapidly changing digital world.

Alright, if you really must, other LUMAscape diagrams can be found here.