Being a neophyte in the world that is termed “social media”, what I really wish is that I had someone who is really using things like Twitter, Facebook, etc. and actually accomplishing things with it. A mentor, for lack of a better word.
Because as much as I’ve made snide remarks about these tools, I have to admit that most of it is because I’m not in a position to really use these things to market a product or build some kind of network that I am trying to wring a buck out of. To me, what they really represent are new advertising channels.
You don’t hear the word “advertising” much anymore. It somehow seems so old-school, and slightly smarmy. An “ad” is something we are supposed to not be susceptible to, since we are so sophisticated. “Marketing” is the newer and hipper term. If you are in “marketing”, then you are somehow kind of hip, with secret knowledge of how to influence people, and probably wear a turtleneck or ribbed T-shirt under your jacket instead of a white shirt and tie.
Yet advertising is what it is all about. It doesn’t matter whether I see Captain Krunch on a Saturday morning cartoon or on a blog somewhere, the hoped-for end is to get me to buy more Captain Krunch. If people said they were “advertising experts” we’d expect them to write killer copy and move product off the shelves. Instead, saying you are a “social media expert” takes a lot of the performance pressure off things, since we are still feeling our way around how to use those media and don’t expect much yet.
The one unique twist I see developing is the fact that commercials on TV for really dull, everyday products now show you the Twitter and Facebook logos and want you to follow or “friend” them….this freaking floors me!
Do I really need to follow the Twitter feed for Tide Laundry Detergent? How can I be a “friend” to Kraft 1000 Island salad dressing? Are we so commercially saturated and consumption driven that we actively SEEK advertising and product commercials, rather than just having them inserted into our lives to the degree they already are?
Now I don’t doubt that communicating via Twitter and FB is one hell of a way to keep your name in front of your customers and push product information. But let’s call it what it is – advertising. It’s a necessary part of the commercial landscape, and serves the same purpose it always has. Social media did not invent it.
When the ruins of Pompeii were excavated and cleaned up, there were ads for brothels found on some of the walls. The people who put them there probably thought they were onto something new and unique because they didn’t have to carve them into trees anymore.
They probably told their clients “we understand the new wall-based advertising paradigm better. Don’t give your business to that old firm that still carves the stuff into trees and wooden signs along the Appian Way. We reach the more sophisticated audience here in Campania. Don’t follow an 8th Century B.C. business model!”
Another interesting inscription was found in one of the ruins. Salve, Lucru – which translates to “Welcome, Money!”
Shows you things haven’t changed all that much, have they?