Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Its sad what Social Media has become...

I have been in this field for too long now and it hurts me at times to see where it is headed. Social Media - The buzz word that is on every marketeers books now has come a long way. Its almost as if we started something and we made meaning out of it. Remember the days of blogs and Orkut? When these mediums where not about pushing content, not about what would you want to throw at the feed of the world today. Also not about your product or in-your-face advertising to grab peoples attention.
It was about connecting, talking, sharing and collaborating.

I think over the years this "essence" of Social Media is gone. When facebook came along with advertising options, agencies grabbed the first opportunity that came to make money off it. Brands fell for it. First it was a number game,then it became all about "content" - and by content agencies meant one post per day over random topics that not always make sense. (Sorry if this sounds rude, but it had to be said out loud) I have been a part of the online industry and have been a part of this "scheme" and randomness of pushing content, I agree to that. But now I feel the people like me who actually feel close to and relate to the old naive and nascent age of Social Media (the Orkut age) will not like what is going on.
Creativity is lost. More than half the agency executives (there are a good bunch too in the other half) dont understand nor are serious to capture the essence of content sharing on Social Media. In the end brands just end up sending out day-wise posts and tweets into randomness.

And now that number of fans and unwanted "theme-of-the-day" posts everyday were not enough, there is this new fad for running contests! I have one question -WHYYYY??? 
Look at twitter - it bleeds my heart to see just contests after contests being run on the platform. No relevance, no relation to the brand, no aim - just run contests. Brands end up loosing more by attracting the wrong audience (most people who enter these contests are there to do one thing - play contests!). Loved this article on twitter contests I read sometime back --Do read this
Seriously, twitter is not contests.com

I think we need to re-think how we want to use Social Media. Yes, it is the next thing in advertising. But there is a method to the madness. Learn it, embrace it, be intuitive, be creative.
Not everything can be planned on Social Media,not everything need be about numbers and reach for the buck you spend. Your ROI need not be so short term on Social, your strategy and approach need not be the same as you have for other mediums of marketing. Most importantly - Dont be on Social Media just because everyone else is. 

This topic takes me to the future of Social Media...the way I see it - Facebook would not be dominant and would not "define" Social Media. Conversations will survive, the medium for Social would be something else.
Most definitely, it would not be about pushing content and contests into randomness.

Having written the above, its worth mentioning (and I am glad about this) that there are agencies and brands who correctly value the importance of Social and are creating beautiful stories off this medium.Thank you for the ray of hope and I wish to see more from them. 


Thanks for the read. If you think I made any little sense you can follow me on twitter for more insights in Digital & Social Media -
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