How’s that for an odd title? Here’s what I mean: about a year or two ago, I heard rapper-turned-business owner-turned-actor-turned-jazz singer-turned-spokesmodel being interviewed about the secret to her success. Her answer was clear and honest: “I stay in my lane.” Such a simple concept but one that has stuck with me ever since.Although she’s evolved tremendously and reinvented constantly, nothing that she has done or is currently doing is outside of the realm of who she is at her core. She has always been a champion for girls, a vocal role model for women, an unapologetic breaker of barriers, and she has always pursued projects that further those goals. She knows who she is and what she stands for and, as a result of her choices, so do we. Can we say the same for say, Google, Twitter or Facebook?
In an article posted on MinOnline last month, Karen Macumber shares some recent announcements that The Big Three (Google, Facebook and Twitter) have made about how they are “improving” their offerings. Macumber is dead on when she remarks that: “there are now several social networks some consumer, some business focused trying to become all things to all people,” and she reminds us of the “portal” boom in the late 90’s where companies like Yahoo! Excite, AT&T and Alta Vista unsuccessfully pursued a similar strategy.
Along the same lines as Macumber’s advice that “sometimes less is more” I would also urge The Big Three to take a page out of Queen Latifah’s playbook: it’s OK to not be everything to everyone; in fact, it’s better. It’s more important to have a focused mission statement and a solid brand identity and to stick to it. After all, we all know that those who are the most successful are not the ones who are jacks of all trades and masters of none. With Twitter trying to be more like Facebook and Facebook trying to be more like Twitter and Google trying to be more like, well, everybody, wouldn’t it be nice if each just decidedly chose to stay in their respective lanes?