Media X: Analog and Angry

I'm all atwitter that the young guys who created Twitter have secured $35 million in venture-capital funding, plus a story in this week's New York magazine.

Of course, these latest models of the Masters of the Universe are based in Northern California. And of course, the story must--it must, I tell you--compare the rise of the Twitterers to the dotcom boom and just as inevitably describe in excruciating detail what these guys wear. Thank God for that. If it weren't for all the digital baby moguls fleecing marketers of billions, the ironic T-shirt and rumpled jeans markets would collapse in a week. We have enough economic calamity to contend with already.

I'm sure the Twitter trio will have as much success making their creation as useful to advertisers as Facebook and MySpace and others have done, which is to say none at all. Or maybe, they'll go the Google route and pay lip service to advertising while doing everything they can to kill it.

But the Twitter Tots will also get their billions eventually. Because despite their heady talk of a new world and all that hogwash, the real and only reason these digital dudes (and the Gateses and the Jobses before them) suffer the likes of you and your clients is to take you to the cleaners.



They think you're clueless dinosaurs. You got that part, right?

Of course you do. Then why are you still screwing around with these infants? The Internet is not an advertising medium.

Sure, social nets have some indirect use as a PR channel. But even PR agencies are finding their rush to tweet extremely unsatisfying as a business proposition. Having decisively lost the product integration battle to media shops, strategic communications practitioners are even more desperate for new channel opportunities than you are--and that's saying something.

You might sense a bit of angry frustration in this column. That's because I write about this all the time and just once, I wish I could report that some smart marketer said "enough of this crap" and pulled its money out of every emerging medium except for digital billboards.

Collectively, media agency executives are scary smart. Except when it comes to anything digital. Then you all turn into extras on "Hee Haw."

Until we get a new network created on a dirty napkin in a punk club in Pomona by a Goth chick in a miniskirt and the blonde cheerleader she married before Prop. 8 passed, you have no reason to investigate social media for anything, let alone as a distribution platform.

I can't fix an engine, but I can drive a car. I appreciate my mechanic, but I don't idolize him, let alone pay him a fortune because he talks in gibberish and knows how to repair a rotor.

Digital technology is just a tool to get your clients where they need to go. It will not save you. Your future and that of your clients will be determined by how well you reform your metrics and deliver on the promise of addressability.


At least until they perfect holography. Or the Goth chick and the cheerleader take their company public.

3 comments about "Media X: Analog and Angry".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, February 18, 2009 at 9:04 a.m.

    Jack, you are the new Messiah who speaks the truth. Scary isn't it.

  2. Monica Bower from TERiX Computer Service, February 18, 2009 at 10:12 a.m.

    Craigslist agrees with you.

    But the reality is that a lot of people use the internet, and a lot of companies would like to get those people as customers. It's in overcomplicating that simple reality that agencies go astray. If your business is online then some kind of online presence makes a lot more sense than a digital billboard at a downtown stoplight. If your business is selling mattresses, though, well, the online is silly and the billboard makes sense. It's not rocket science, seriously.

    But marketing and advertising people like to mingle, to see and much more importantly be seen. They are a breed apart from everyone else in their organization. And all those social events require having something to say, and while it's nice to be memorable, if you actually have nothing memorable to say, it's better to be accepted as being in the 'in crowd' than to admit that socal media advertising is almost impossible to measure because it's not transaction and its not brand and it's not couponing and it's not - whatever else, pick a style. One thing it's definitely not - it's not really for everyone.

    That said I'm intrigued by this goth chick and her cheerleader friend and I would like to invest a brazilion dollars in their intense, results-oriented paradigm.

  3. Cole Hartman from Inter/Media Advertising, February 18, 2009 at 2:03 p.m.

    I am leaving my comments on twitter.
    ID: kateandcole

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