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Can “next fatigue” help brands?

July 9, 2007

It appears the relentless innovation of Web 2.0 is already sapping the mental strength and willpower of some of its most ardent supporters.

I just got a Pownce invite yesterday and was excited to try it out, but I must admit a sense of horror came over me as I realized that I had to find everyone all over again.

I mean, I have spent a lot of time adding friends on Facebook – I have used it to reconnect with people from eras throughout my entire life and I have poured days of time into the effort. I have done it to a certain extent on Twitter, where I have a pretty solid snapshot of my industry colleagues. I have done it with my MSN friends list, but it is becoming less important these days as I forget who most of the people I have added are – there is very little context with traditional chat applications as you have to rely on remembering silly screen names.

Then I thought, what about everything else, like Xbox Live, Finetune, LastFM, AIM, MySpace, and so many many more.

This has turned into a nightmare.”


No one has time to read blogs any more; “the weberati” are spending so much time downloading, trying out new web applications and plugging their friends in.

This is a huge issue for social networks as they evolve and fragment and as brands try to create their own, but does it all become too much?

Maybe it’s just one example of the constant quest for the “next” now characterizes contemporary consumption. Brand loyalty is fast disappearing and has been replaced a constant search for the “next” thing.

It explains marketing’s latest fetish for innovation; brands constantly need to have something new and “next” to talk about, if they want to engage.

However, in an “attention starved” world, how much work do people really want to do? When does the trade off between the cache of discovering something new and the effort required to discover it become too much?

Will people get “next fatigue”?

Brands have to hope this is the case.

It’s what they are supposed to do, simplify.


Has the quest and display of the shiny and new now become more powerful than the cache of brand, because the consumer no longer trusts brands to stay ahead and look after all of their interests?

Posted by Ed Cotton

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