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kidOne of the great paradoxes of the internet is that the more information we have, the more myopic we get. This myopia is a dangerous thing. We have brilliant political thinkers and economists blogging every day, yet most people get their news from biased factoids. And from a strictly democratic economic standpoint, businesses need options. But as a business, we're in the middle of a myopia that borders on blindness.

The subject is of course, Twitter, Facebook, and Google. May the internet Gods continue to bless all three. Irrational exuberance surrounds all of them right now. But when they have to live up to those expectations of consistent triple-digit quarterly growth, and they have to face competition, and they have to struggle with advocacy groups that want to brand themselves at their expense, these three will change. Yet, they dominate press coverage and conference events and people speak of them as if they are immune to bad breaks or random events. They're not.

Google is different. Over the past few weeks especially it has turned a deaf ear to the stock market and launched significant new products. And it continually smacks away the business version of the Mongol Horde (Microsoft) daily.

For the press, our myopia is failing our readers a little bit because there are innovations in search outside of Google, and innovations in social media beyond Twitter and Facebook. But here's the problem that has dogged internet media since we could count page views: readers want to read about the big three. And we buy in.

For marketers, keep your head up and make sure someone is watching the radar. Find the next Google. Find the next social media star. Find out who will compete next year. Competition isn't just a nice word. The lack of competition is a power consolidator. If Google is the only search engine worthy of a budget, you're at their mercy. If social media settles down to Facebook and Twitter, the ability to innovate within that media and outside those sites becomes tougher.

The beauty of internet marketing is unpredictability. History proves that today's cover star is tomorrow's whipping boy. Ask Jerry Yang about that. Remember when Yahoo was unbeatable? Lycos? Excite? Next year at this time we may be myopically focused on companies we haven't heard of yet. That would be a good day.


Published 25 March, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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