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Lately I find myself becoming quite bored with social media. The noise, the contempt, the “it’s all about me” attitudes, and the lack of true interaction is souring me.

And this from someone who absolutely loves the idea of all of us being able to globally communicate at the click of a button. However, I can’t simply blame others. I’ve got some culpability here.

I confess…I’m a marketer and we stunk up the joint!

These days I’m feeling a lot like the guy in this iconic commercial from 1970.

Our social media landscape has become polluted. And, in my opinion, if we don’t do something about it soon, it will become untenable.

Many of us, myself included, have tossed our “waste” out the window on the Internet Super Highway. Content is like plastic. It never goes away. It just stays on the side of the road like old cigarette butts.

Maybe Google, Facebook and Twitter, should remove all content that nobody has visited in the last 60 days. Maybe WordPress can merge with Cyberdust and cause blog posts that no one is reading to disappear forever.

Unless your content can stand the test of time, unless your content can be proven to have long standing value…maybe it should be flushed.

Think about that for a second. I just posted a video above that is a digitized version of a television commercial from 45 years ago! Will anyone have any interest in anything that you’re creating 45 years from now? Then why should it still be littering the land?

As marketers, we are the worst polluters. We actually have the audacity to seriously believe that people give a shit what we have to say. Newsflash…maybe other marketers do, but as for the consumer…not so much.

As with this missive, I think we’re talking to each other and convincing ourselves that people care about brands. I don’t need to look at any data to confirm otherwise. Because I actually talk to people…a lot.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to a hall full of college students. The most targeted species on the planet. And I opened my talk to them with one simple question.

I asked…How many of you in here look forward to hearing what your favorite cookie company has to say on social media.

Not a single hand was raised.

So I asked a second question…How many of you in here care what ANY brand has to say on social media.

Again, not a single hand.

So naturally my third question was simply why don’t you care? Here are some of the replies:

  • Boring
  • Not interested in what they have to say
  • Not fun
  • Canned responses
  • Not real (my favorite)
  • Impersonal

This shouldn’t be eye-opening whatsoever. Anyone in social media knows our CRMs our filled with content calendars, response documents, legally prepared copy, approved images, and just about everything else that ensures a complete lack of authenticity.

Check out this snapshot of Wendy’s Twitter stream from the last 4 hours.


Nothing shows you care about people more than giving everyone the exact same response. This is why people don’t care about brands. It’s filled with social staffers, writing canned responses behind a logo.

Pop Quiz: How many logos do you interact with on a daily basis? Then why as marketers do we expect other to do so? I’m not picking on Wendy’s. I could post a stream of 100 brands doing exactly the same thing.

We’re simply polluting the social networks. Brands are fake images, making fake content, issuing fake responses, by people who for the most part don’t even have any interest in the brand…for the sole purpose of selling something.

At this point, we can all see behind the curtain. No amount of data mining is going to change that. We’re toast.

Another reason that we don’t care about brands is that they’ve shown not to care about us either. Did you know that 84% of social messages to brands go unanswered?

Let that sink in. Imagine your office only answering 1 out of every 6 phone calls.

Suffice it to say, we’ve reached a crossroads in social media. You have brands that only care to push out messages that they want while ignoring what their audience wants. I didn’t go to Wharton, but I’m pretty sure that’s a recipe for business disaster. At least it is in the digital age.

Now you see why I have a tear in my eye like Chief Iron Eyes Cody in the commercial above? I’m seeing the social landscape being littered and taken for granted by boring, lackluster, and inauthentic brands.

The irony of all of this is we as marketers don’t care but we expect others to. It’s shameful.

By the way, Chief Iron Eyes Cody wasn’t a real Native American either. He was of Italian descent, born in Louisiana. Everything about that commercial was fake.

How’s that for a punctuation mark?

Barry Cunningham

Author Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Check out our case studies. They will give you an idea how we help brands & businesses amplify their conversion and lead gen campaigns by deploying digital advertising campaigns at scale. And I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

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