Is any phrase more incorrectly used these days than “long tail”?
Initially, (immediately following Chris Anderson’s Wired magazine piece which introduced the concept) it was a self-conscious badge of Internet insider-dom to bandy the term about. The article’s since morphed into a best-selling book. Way too many people have read neither the article nor the book nor the blog, but nevertheless don’t hesitate to flaunt their Web illiteracy by bandying the long tail about.
Recently, I saw an e-mail announcing a new corporate analytics program had been deployed. The subject line, incongruously, was “The Long Tail.”
Today, I’m at the McGraw Hill Media Summit. I won’t name names, but a moderator just asked a panelist a questions about consumer-generated media, asking “where’s the Steven Spielberg of the long tail?”
Steven Spielberg represents the opposite of the long tail.
Please, media and marketing people. Get this right — before that long tail lashes out and destroys your credibility.