"Riiiiiiight on duuuude, I'm a blogger too" chuckled the Spicoli clone I met at the beach.
Social Media has passed me by. I'm out.
I announced it on FB last week, I'm officially obsolete. My milieu, the sickest people pix and irreverent social commentary, seems stale in today's hyper-connected, nano-seconded attention span, energy drink, ping me world we operate in. I have not embraced mobile. I'm not Instagraming. I'm not feeding my Go-Pro into Viddy
I'm going backwards. No smart phone for A. Party. I tried it, Google gave me a prototype android...a year before they came to market. Eventually my Google phone stopped taking a charge. So I free-cycled my old Nokia flip phone, clicked in the smart chip and all my contacts showed up. Sweeeeet. No GPS, no i-Pod, no tivo, no tablet...just me..my dog, the NY Times (hard copy) and my lappie.
#SM has become a real live corporate business and I'm still just tweeting "for fun". Brands are all over the web battling for eyeballs trying to create and establish brand loyalty with their customers using social media tools and content strategies. Actually now that everyone is a "journo" #sm has become a lot less interesting and the overall level of content has dropped...in my opinion. Everyone is a promoting something. Now it's all about the ad's, and all about the benjamins. Are people standing around the water cooler with their tiny screens talking about the latest gatorade ad? I dunno...I'm not.
I'm a super-loyal dude, a Scorpio ..which explains a lot. If I find a product I like, I stick with it. Q-Tips for example. I only use Q-Tip brand cotton swabs. I didn't care that Chesebrough-Ponds sold out to Unilever... its Q-Tips only in my bathroom. Patagonia is another one... the consumer loyalty to Patagonia was made famous in a Harvard Business School case detailing how people are "willing to pay more" for perceived quality and a high level social conciseness.
The first time I can remember being disappointed with a brand was in the late 70's. I got a pair of Converse Dr. J model hightops. I used to be a gym rat. Hanging around Gorosh's or the Greene's or at the I.M. @ MSU. Those Dr. J's were sooo sweeet. I wore those kicks until I wore them out. They seemed to make me quicker..and I'm quicker than I look. I went through a second pair and went looking for a third. Nobody had 'em. Converse had changed the model design. I was pissed. I remember screaming at the retail clerk "what do you mean they stopped making them??? Those are the best shoes ever." That day I bought my first pair of Nikes and subsequently twisted my ankle. Ironically Converse is now owned by Nike..and by using tools such as the internet..I could probably find a pair of Dr. J's tonight.
So fast forward to 2007. Social Media is just getting going. Facebook had out grown the Ivy League and began launching their strategy for world domination. My Space was killing it. I spent the Summer in San Francisco and through FB, I met some of the "thought leaders" in the social media space. It was a pretty heady time. Mashable, Tech Crunch and twitter were taking it all to the next level..and mobile was still just a concept that was not fully social. Those were some good times. It was easy to connect and engage with real people, interesting people... in real time. Social Media was just rolling out to the masses. Brands were not in the game yet. It was fun and the user seemed to be in control of what was on their screen.
Now it's 2012. Two weeks after FB's IPO. The stock has performed poorly...a classic market top. The hype was incredible. Zuck went public, code jammed (hack-a-thon), got married (for tax purposes) and made the cover of People Mag. all in one week. The offering was a pure flip...perhaps the biggest pump and dump of all time. There is no denying that with 845 million users...500 million of whom are active is a force to be reckoned with. FB is unquestionably a valuable company...but the eyeballs and the data are impossible to measure in dollars. Earnings are the most important thing now. But no one can quite figure out how monetize mobile and revenues are dependent on jamming ad's down users throats. "Promoted posts" are not that interesting.
It's not only facebook.
Twitter....it's a lot of white noise...and when you get down to the lowest common denominator...things get ugly. I'll save that rant for another time.
Mobile? Why people would opt in to have advertising texts pinging them all the time...I'll never know.
Foursquare? I still don't understand why making your exact location public is so much fun. I get why the restaurants, bars and stores want you to check-in. I get that connecting with your friends in real life is fun...but i don't understand why it's important to broadcast that out publicly.
Groupon...I tried a few deals. My experience was always disappointing. I almost felt violated...close to being a bait and switch. I tried a few places and services that I will never return to..at any price. They had the algorithim...they knew what I liked. I opted out.
Pinterest and Instagram...I made a conscious decision to skip these platforms. Am I crazy?
Google is generally smarter, but ad sense always shows me the wrong logo. Every time I log on, I get pop ups for an iconic Aspen hotel, The Little Nell. What the algorithm doesn't realize is that I will never stay at The Little Nell (TLN). First off---I live in Aspen so it's a moot point. 2nd, I no longer would consider spending $1200 a night for a hotel. Google doesn't process the fact that I used to be a huge fan of The Little Nell... and for 7 seasons I spent $1500 (plus tips) for the privilege of keeping my boots and my ski quiver at the TLN concierge. The service was excellent, the convenience a luxury and I probably ate $1000 worth of brownies during the season. I was TLN's biggest fan...on-line and off. I used to brag about TLN...I couldn't name drop TLN fast enough. "Meet me at the Nell" was my standard line. I felt a tremendous sense of brand loyalty and I mistakenly thought the feeling was mutual. I was a self appointed key influencer and unofficial ambassador. I often recommended TLN, firmly believing that it was the "best in town". But Google's formula cannot read between the lines. I'm not really a fan of TLN any more. A new manager came on board. He dissed me to my face and made reference to "unauthorized photos" and quoted from the "paparazzi laws". I was offended (per usual), but I got the message. The loyalty and admiration was not mutual. I immediatley found a new ski locker and hit the road. Now every time I click You Tube (owned by Google) I get a TLN banner. Every time I peruse a site with "ad words", there's the TLN logo. Time has passed, The Nell is cool, but I rarely patronize the place any more and I'm not interested in their ads. The concept of negative goodwill comes to mind. Kind of like the Apple commercials with Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanal that have played incessantly during the NBA playoffs. You've seen the SIRI spots with "hotspacho" and "tomato soup in the rain". Cute ad's...but 8 to 10 times a night??? After that advertising overload I will never enable Siri...I assure you.
Whats the point of all this? The Golden Days of Social Media are behind us. Brand managers and ad execs have taken over. The person-to-person interaction that was the foundation of social media is much harder to obtain... when you have to sift through the ads and promotions and blurry pix of someones latte...or their feet kicking back on a lounge chair.
Remember?...like in the olden days...when you were sitting around the dinner table with your family and the land line rang... interrupting the meal. Mom or Dad would hop up to answer, only to discover it was a telemarketing call. Remember how annoying that was??
I fear that's where social media is heading. Brands are calling it engagement. I'm calling it an invasion of privacy. Social media was much more impactful when it was just social.
Party / Out