Forgive the Easy Rider Fonda era tone/vibe to this post. I typed the initial bulk of this post at 3AM on my BlackBerry, Halloween morning.
It seems funny to me that Social Media is considered this new thing to everyone. It actually seems kinda sad. A natural behavior that sites like Twitter and Facebook just happen to catalyze, has a *special new name, if not only for the reason that apparently we repressed a natural aspect of who we really are. Since we are not repressing it anymore, something that was always there inside us is now considered some new way of thinking, the brilliant new marketing method and approach that everyone is hyping and talking about. Why do we find it so surprising and fresh human beings actually want to engage other human beings directly in business? Are we using the fact that there was no Twitter or Facebook or MySpace before as an excuse to not directly engage customers? Are we somehow ready to come out of our little anti-social hovels and holes and cubicles that we essentially put ourselves in as a standard for the last bunch of decades?
It’s funny to me that we have ads and TV commercials whose attempt to yield a return were created with a “personal touch” by our usually overpaid agencies of record to be successful…yet they were all one way communications, directly engaging no one. It’s like a mother trying to nurture her new baby and raising her child through a glass window. The child never gets to actually be touched but the mother is there talking him/her through life without ever truly bonding or connecting with it. This is how marketing has always been so we never questioned the morbidity of it as a standard. We needed the internet, a bunch of computers (in essence a robot network), to teach us that what we needed all along was inside us already but that we were too caught up in corporate insecurity to realize the natural importance of engaging other humans directly as a standard in business.
Social Media to me, I’m starting to discover, does not currently exist as this great new idea. It is just filling a gap in business of sociological depravity that we have created for ourselves emotionally in our culture. Think about the family-owned bakery in a small village in Greece somewhere, 10 generations deep. All they know is consistent sales, happy loyal customers, and real relationships with those customers. Take a look at all the cultures that don’t have big business but still consistently make money because of a human touch that they just executed on naturally. Social marketers could learn a thing or two from these people. Yet, here in big business, while billions of dollars have been made, billions have also been lost because we struggled to have that winning marketing campaign in Q1 of nineteen eighty whatever when the culture-created consumer zombies stared at the TV, watched our commercials that didn’t quite stimulate them enough to get that false sense of “I need this to truly be alive inside” that we were hoping.
Are we finally ready to stop being in denial that being social is necessary for the survival of business? Did we just need the information age and networked computers and the chat rooms AOL introduced us to in the 90′s as an excuse break down walls so that we could learn this new fascinating discovery about being alive called “talking directly with other people?”
Don’t get me wrong, I love social marketing but Social Media and it’s current success as “the new thing” is kind of a big slap in the face reminder that we’ve kind of lost ourselves, as a standard. Maybe it won’t just help our companies. Maybe it will have cultural healing properties and help us exploit human qualities that currently STILL work to bond indigenous tribes in remote parts of the world with their families and communities.
Social Media is about the basics.
Pseudo hippie rant done.