Social media is pretty amazing, isn’t it? It is a reflection of all that is good and bad in society. Concentrated social media efforts have helped raise funds and create awareness for numerous causes around the world. Social media has made it easier for us to communicate with each other; to share the special moments in our lives with our friends and family. Social media has also helped us make better buying decisions in regard to what, where, and from whom to buy.
Social media has also made us pretty damn stupid, too.
The amount of business advice floating around the social space is like a noisy traffic jam – each post honking desperately for your attention. Social media has spawned a new generation of “experts” who say the darndest things sometimes. Becoming a social media “expert” isn’t very hard either. If you have 8-10 hours a day to spend online and/or nominal experience in any marketing/PR/sales position (to include internships or having a friend who works in either marketing/PR/sales) and/or a large twitter following and/or a respectable Klout score, then you’re pretty much qualified to advise on traditional business practices.
The disturbing thing is that many people will actually believe these people to be experts in business, regardless of whether or not said “expert” has ever held an executive position in any business (nobody bothers to check their bios anyway). Despite the redundancy or, in many cases, the absurdity of what they write. Despite the lack of any credible research or data to support their theories. Perception becomes reality! And this perception has a way of spreading to the social masses through twitter RTs and facebook shares, like a deadly plague, until it is accepted as truth.
“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” ~Friedrich von Schiller
This past week, I came across a guest post on Gini Dietrich’s very respectable Spin Sucks marketing/PR blog that brings to light the stupidity being shared on the social space, Miracle Max Presents 11 Things That Aren’t Quite Dead. I’m not even gonna get into who Miracle Max is (if you don’t already know) but the post goes on to challenge the claims made by numerous social media marketing bloggers that many traditional business strategies are, indeed, dead.
Marketing is Dead! E-Mail is Dead! Direct Mail is Dead! Public Relations is Dead! You’ve all seen the posts at one time or the other, yes?
What’s really dead is our intelligence and common sense. RIP.
The fact that we’d even need such a post to dispel these ridiculous claims is a poor reflection of our own sensibilities. Do we really believe everything we read online? Moreover, the fact that the post offers up no research or statistical data to back its own claims (besides, of course, the opinion of Miracle Max) is another poor reflection. Do we really believe everything we read online?
Or are we too easily influenced by the source of the information? The blog or the blogger? “Well, if such-and-such blogger wrote it then it must be true! Right? Hello?”
Let’s do our homework first before we proclaim social media hyperbole as truth, yes?
The facts are (if anybody would bother to dig up actual unbiased statistics) that many of these traditional practices are still going strong, while others are in a transitional state, while still others are on the rebound after a dip. But why bother with facts when these types of posts make such great blog fodder?
You wanna know what’s alive and/or dead in business? Do yourself a favor and stop reading so many social media marketing blogs (there ARE a few good ones out there) and go out into the business community where you live and work and “engage” with real people running real businesses. Attend your local Chamber of Commerce’s business events and get to know people who hold executive marketing and PR positions. Volunteer with a local charity and interface with the executive directors and board members. Get to know how “real” people (people who leave their homes to drive/commute to an actual brick and mortar business/organization to interact with other “real” people) are doing business.
Only then, can you intelligently discern what’s happening in the “real” business world (where being profitable is the ultimate goal) and what these so-called “experts” think is happening in their tiny, little social media business world (where eyeballs and book sales are the ultimate goal).
Until then, Long Live Stupidity!
[Digital images by Norvz Austria aka xetobyte]