They say in the name of the almighty dollar my fellows and I have lost focus of what social media is about and have created pay-to-play venues that don’t provide access to the millions of readers we are entitled to unless of course we are willing to pay to reach them.
Sometimes I nod, smile and ignore those that sling those terrible barbs and sometimes I tell them to find a sharp stick and stick it in places both soft and warm.
Other times I ask them if they are interested in engaging in a conversation or if they just want to complain about something they have no interest in changing.
How Marketers Killed Social Media
It is a convenient to blame marketers for the ills of social media but it is not entirely accurate because it ignores the common blogger whose desire to monetize their blog and become a superstar at any cost.
You don’t think Brian Williams is the only person who has embellished, elaborated and or disremembered doing so now do you.
It wouldn’t be hard to point fingers at the common bloggers who were caught manipulating the truth for the purpose of reaching more eyeballs and generating more engagement.
Ask me if I have ever wondered or dreamed of this blog being the conduit to a book or gasp, movie deal and I’ll say yes.
I won’t even hesitate.
Why wouldn’t I want that?
In concept it sounds both exciting and romantic because when you hear/read book/movie deal you have an image of affluence and success.
Why shouldn’t I hold such a dream in my heart? What harm could it do.
You Didn’t Answer The Question
Hold on Jack, don’t get ahead of yourself. The question you are referring to is what is the purpose/goal of social media and how did marketers or common bloggers kill it?
If the idea/purpose is to connect people who might not ever meet than social media has been successful in making that happen.
Tim is in the UK, Jens is in Norway and I am in the U.S. which makes us neighbors in the sense we are humans who live on the earth.
But thanks to the magic tubes of the Internet we have had the opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
That screams success to me.
If I wanted to use fancy marketing terms I’d talk about engagement and conversions. We found each other online and decided it was worth our time to talk and here we are years later still hanging out.
Now if the question is in regards to who owns the Internet and whether social media platforms should be allowed to charge an access fee or require you pay for advertising that is a different question.
Flip through the pages here and you’ll see more than one post about whether you should pay for using Facebook to reach prospective readers/customers.
But if you want to save time I’ll tell you now I don’t believe in digital sharecropping and that I think every person/business should use their own self hosted website as their online hub.
When you put all your eggs in one basket you take a substantial risk. If Facebook decides your page violates their TOS (terms of service) they can pull it down and you have no recourse.
Facebook could change its algorithm and or business model in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to participate and you could lose too.
Technically that argument extends to any platform that you don’t own with own referring to a self hosted website.
And since you have me talking about Facebook from a marketing perspective let’s remember even though it is huge you still need to determine if it is a good place to reach your target demographic.
There are tons of people who signed up for accounts but never or rarely use them.
Again, same argument can be applied to any platform.
Social Media Isn’t Really Dead
My kids will tell you when they quote facts I ask them how they know those facts to be true.
That is because people like to believe that whatever works or doesn’t work for us is something that is true for everyone.
When my middle sister tells me social media is a waste of time I always remind her it hasn’t been for me professionally or personally.
Those of who have been around for a while like to reminisce about the good old days when you could measure influence by blogrolls and comments.
The days when every blogger took the time to write their posts and go read what other bloggers had written. That may or may not be true.
It might just be the opinion/memory of some old man/woman who joined the digital world in 1999 and has watched it evolve.
If you circle back to the beginning when I ask people if they want to complain or have a real conversation it is because I see the purpose of social media as a place/tool for conversation.
The question I ask myself and others is if our actions are promoting engagement or killing it.
Blame it upon my desire to follow the lead of Albert Einstein the Social Media Genius. I want to understand.
And if I understand any one thing about social media it is that you build relationships by talking with people and not at them.
That is where brands fail and that is where some bloggers do too.
Be a person online.
That doesn’t mean everyone will love or even like you but it is the most effective way to build trust and create a relationship.
What do you think?