Are Marketers Ruining Social Media?

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old person shouting at the kids on her lawn and complaining about the long-gone good old days, one question has been at the back of my mind for a while now:

Are marketers ruining social media? Untitled design (2)

When I first started working in social media 5 amazing years ago I was, admittedly, wildly optimistic. I loved my job because it was the chance to talk to people, to be creative, to listen, and to be a part of something different. Since then, I’ve held on to a few steadfast beliefs that have shaped my work over the years. They are (in part):

  • Social media is for talking with people who share a passion. It’s my job to facilitate a two way conversation between brand and fans.
  • If something is worth writing, it’s worth writing well.
  • Respect pays in dividends and people are not dollar signs.
  • An effective storyteller is also an excellent listener.
  • Social media gives us the opportunity to surprise, delight, inspire, help, gossip, serve, and tell a story.

I’ve been fighting to hold on to these core values as social media has grown and evolved into something that people actively try to ween themselves off of.  Aside from a few radicals who are still holding out, social media is now something different:

  • Passion and conversation have been replaced by pragmatism and broadcasting.
  • Writing is cheap, generic and boring.
  • Respect and service can be automated.
  • Listening = Metrics
  • Stories are sales pitches.

Admittedly, I saw this coming. We all did, right?  Social media is a way to harness an increasingly valuable commodity: attention. That said, I still believe the best social media marketers are the ones who stick to the core tenets that our social business was built on. There are still some who still understand the traditional, self-serving ‘all push’ method of marketing is dead. They deeply care about the end-user and don’t see people as merely prospects.

So, I’d like to ask you….. no, beg you…. to remember the good old days of social before you hit ‘publish’ next time. If it helps, this is my litmus test for all posts, editorial calendars, and content plans I write:

  • If this came through my personal newsfeed would I like, comment on, or share this?
  • Is this content unique, entertaining, educational, informative, or inspirational?
  • Is this timely and relevant to fans of the page?
  • Would I call this a low quality image, post, or meme?
  • Would I complain about seeing this content in my News Feed?

I’m curious. Do you agree? Are marketers ruining social media?

One thought on “Are Marketers Ruining Social Media?

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