Going Social On Your Ass

Go Social

Social Marketing: sequence of events

Three years ago some ad agency dweeb leaned into my office and smirked “Dude, our campaign just went social”.

And I think, after a brief pause, my immediate reaction was to throw up in my mouth.  I silently hoped I would never hear that stupid little term again. That something “went social”.

But boy it’s catchy isn’t it?  Sounds all proactive and edgy and exciting, right?  If you work in an ad agency, you probably just enthusiastically thought ‘Hell yeah’.

Those of you who know me know I hate these little, after-the-fact terms.  Badges that agency people glom onto in an attempt to own the things that happen to them by accident.  To claim it somehow, despite the fact that they exist outside the users’ intent.  “Viral”, “Word of Mouth”, and now “Going social”.

Hello!?  It’s all the same thing, people.  Yeah yeah, someone will feel compelled to bloviate on behalf of the need for, and variances between these dumb little labels.  And it still won’t change the fact that users are in complete control – share what they want, how they want, only when they feel like it – and that advertisers have never actually had permission to interrupt or effect a desire of their own upon users no matter where they do it.  And if, in wishful disregard, the advertiser still has some desire for proactivity of any sort, may at best, bow low and deep, and beggingly offer service to the king, the user.

But they rarely do.  Advertising seems meaningless unless advertisers think they have control.  So we now spend a lot of money developing and executing marketing plans that will “go social”.

In the words of my old friend Nick, Social “this.”

Ad agency people: in a couple short years you will no longer be uttering that term.  So save yourself the pleated, acid-washed embarrassment, and don’t utter it today either.

Look at the big picture.  Make things that are valuable.  Then be silently grateful that something you created isn’t held in utterly dull regard by the user.

And then maybe I won’t be forced to keep swallowing my own vomit.