In the United States, we have a popular saying:
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Truer words were never spoken, especially as we observe the current frenzy around the topic of "Social Media". The current moda of social networks has captured the imagination of Advertisers the world over. Yet, paradoxically, due to their own self-interest and pride, their explotation of such social platforms is absolutely anti-social.
Most Brands that stake a claim in the current social networks are as irritatingly boring as self-absorbed monologists at cocktail parties. They neither understand the art of conversation, nor do they possess authentic interest in persons they still consider "targets" to shoot at. If they sincerely understood the concept of Lovemarks, they would cultivate relationships with individuals in search of connection and engagement and build true Communities together with them. Pure Cluetrain.
Sadly, this is not the case.
In fact, the looming saturation that is clogging Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other networks threatens to convert "Fans" into "Enemies", should ill-conceived "Community Manager strategies" continue. Far from transmiting a warm feeling of Community, many Facebook "Fanpages" are a hollow, tepid flow of conventional (spam-like) advertising messages.
Too many absolutely irrelevant posts. Too many Brands that all look the same. Too much infotoxication, as Alfons Cornella of Infonomia calls it.
We shut down.
Why? Because "We the Fans" don't feel the love... we don't see Brands that are truly interested in our opinions, nor in hearing our complaints. Worst still: such Brands don't understand a key concept crucial to the New Marketing:
They don't understand our "Digital Lifestyles".
As we say in Spain, ni flowers. They don't have a clue! And this is dangerous for Brands.
Because if they don't know how we live our "Digital Lives", they won't know where we are, nor how to connect with us.
If they did care, they would know how, when, why and where we connect. They would understand that Internet is our OXYGEN and that we "live and move and have our being" in the Net (to paraphrase a famous writer). And they would attempt to meet us there.
They would recognize that we listen to music in Spotify, play and explore in 3D worlds such as Habbo Hotel and Second Life, learn leadership skills directing groups in World of Warcraft, rent movies from Netflix or PlayStation® Network, set up birthday parties via Facebook and make decisions about new products using Flipboard on iPads, from high-speed trains and not from our offices.
If Brands truly cared about their Fans, instead of talking so much, they would relish any and all opportunities to create more off-line events. These events would be designed to come into direct contact with the leaders of the Communities they seem to be so earnest about creating. In order to listen, learn... and then lead.
What might be the result? New Brands for this new century:
humble, open, transparent, curious and... social.
Originally published on this blog on 18 October 2010. Updated on 23 October 2018.
Photo credits: Jeffrey Chen