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Who’s who of social media: where did the old guard go?

Brian Solis wrote a quick blog on a new report by Pivot Conference that looks at social advertising present and future. The report proper is only due to be released today, but Solis revealed a sneak peak at the top 10 marketing sites for social media marketing trends. The figures come courtesy of a survey of 230 brand and marketing professionals.

As is perhaps to be expected, Mashable is the favourite go-to site for social media marketing trends.

Mashable’s star has been rising for some time now. It was launched in July 2005, which means it’s been going strong for six years. I’ve been following it since 2007.

In 2007, I thought it was amazing. It was incredibly relevant for anything SEO and SEM news. It provided a wealth of valuable information, as well as interesting opinion pieces. Pete Cashmore was starting to become a superstar and was probably one of the most influential men on the net.

In 2009 Mashable made it to Time Magazine’s list of 25 best blogs. I think that’s when it peaked. It’s not exactly set my world alight since then.

In my opinion, and let’s face it, I could be a lone voice in the darkness, its reputation has preceded it. It’s grown too big. It’s got too many branches. It’s not the beacon it once was.

It used to have nice in-depth articles, now it has much shorter snippets. Content used to be original, now a lot of it is rehashing and redistribution. When I go to the site (and I still do, every day) I can just about bear to scroll down the first page of headlines and then I have to click close. The days when I open an article are very few and very far between.

I prefer the old standbys, like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Read Write Web, Marketing Pilgrim and Social Media Today.

Interestingly, none of those made Pivot’s list.

Instead there are:

I have nothing against these sites. I subscribe to most of them. But it makes me wonder whether the age of the SEO/SEM rock star is over. Is Danny Sullivan no longer as highly regarded as he once was? What about Matt McGee, Barry Schwartz or even SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin (you’ll note that SEOmoz didn’t make the list either)?

Is it a question of style over substance, or has our definition of substance changed?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

(Image by By Seanpaune at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)

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