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Social media – go ahead, annoy me and share it 1

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Peter Thompson

The next time you are thinking of sharing something, do us all a favour and truly ask yourself are we actually interested. How are we supposed to decipher the real value through the constant deluge of rubbish in our “news feed”? You know, it’s got to the point of stupidity when your bank really pushes the social media part hard. Personally, I am certainly not going to be friends with my bank. I mean, who likes banks apart from people who work in them? Can anyone actually remember a bank doing something nice for you? Hello, surprise, I don’t like you. You truly overcharge me and eat away my savings with your fees, and no matter what, I am never going to like you. Because, if I do like you, you are going to bombard me with new ways to overcharge me and provide updates on fees. Gee, thanks. I can hardly wait.

I actually tried an experiment this year. I resigned from social networks before my birthday to see who would actually make an effort to send their regards. Do I really feel special when someone I haven’t seen for a long time wishes me happy birthday? Deep down I know they logged into Facebook, saw it was my birthday in their news feed and sent me a message. I started to wonder whether a SMS message has a higher value status than a Facebook one. And then I wondered, what is the value status of a phone call let alone someone actually visiting you in person?

Is social media all just hype?

The hype surrounding social media is amazing, isn’t it? Companies have outrageous share prices based on the premise that social media is going to be so large, it is somehow going to take over the Internet and the world as we know it. It all smells of the heady days of the Internet bubble when press releases of how a no good 2c listed mine was changing to become an Internet company, just like a leopard changing its spots. The share price would dramatically increase on that news alone. But when you think about Facebook, and their supposed 1 billion users, you just wonder if they charged $10 per year for access, how many genuine users would they have? My understanding is that people use Facebook when they are bored or want to show off a new car or make a vacation update. I am so glad I am not holding any of the social media stocks. Boy are they going to tank it.

To be honest, the only social media I see value in is LinkedIn because it’s genuinely playing in a niche market, dealing with online CVs. It’s made the process of hiring people more transparent and reduced the importance of the role that recruitment agencies have played in the past. Finding professionals as both service providers and employees has become much easier.

A couple of social media translations for anyone unsure

Let’s take a look at some common annoyances in social media. Firstly, “please like my page”. In fact, take it to another level, make a pop up on your website that appears as soon as I arrive to your page asking me to like you. How about when someone shares some soppy photo with a caption that reads something like “my puppy is my best friend. If your puppy is your best friend, then share this link too”. But personally, I think the greatest disappointment is when people start playing Facebook games. Colleagues I had enormous respect for start playing games such as Farmville which deeply concerns me. How do I know? Well, in my news feed, I start receiving updates like “Bob is looking for some hay to feed his horse. Can anyone help Bob?”.

And if I “unfriend” you, does that mean you are not my friend? No, it just means that there was too much noise on the “news” channel and I couldn’t watch it anymore. It reminded me too much of Coronation Street. Every time I heard the introduction music, I was desperate to switch channel. If I don’t “like” or “+1” your company or page, it doesn’t actually mean that I don’t like your company or page. It just means that whilst you may well run a very successful funeral parlour business, it’s not a positive reflection on my profile to the rest of the word. Either that or I simply cannot stand any more news updates in my feed that just isn’t news.

The hype, the hype, the hype

To an extent, this social media posting is driven by stupidity. Marketers, particularly of large brands are being measured by the number of likes a campaign receives. Is that truly a measure of anything meaningful? I always believed that the success of a marketing campaign was the volume of leads, opportunities and sales it created. Who actually just sits there and follows the feeds anyway? The amazing thing about hype is that in the initial stages, there are people who make crazy amounts of money and others who come in to the stocks after all the hype dies and lose all their money. And the ones making all the money try and prolong the hype by making stupid business decisions purchasing pointless add-on companies or making press announcements about new features that won’t even make the slightest impact to any of our daily lives.

I tend to deactivate my social networks accounts on a semi regular basis. It usually occurs because I am busy and have real things to do. And, I can live without social networks to be honest.

I bet you are looking for an “unlike” or “-1” button right about now.


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About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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  • Adam

    Facebook reminds me of Hotmail 10 years ago, everyone got their Hotmail accounts setup and then the spam started… endless emails to friends with pictures of this, chain emails
    for good/bad luck, poems, what a nightmare!

    Now its back and its called social media… I predicted 12 months ago that Facebook would be history in 5 years, let the countdown begin! 🙂