Commentary

Social Media Angst: It's Not Me, It's You

Much has been made of the Facebook boycott, with well-known Fortune 500 marketers deciding that they no longer want to be seen in the often-toxic ad environment that Facebook offers. 

Per industry watchers, it seems many advertisers have quietly extended their protest month, now confirming their Facebook detox will run to at least the end of 2020. 

Cynical me cannot help but wonder if part of this is also convenient: As COVID ravages on, many advertisers are looking for savings. By cutting their Facebook budget, they hit two birds with one stone:

  • It is a budget savings.
  • It scores some easy points with their more issue-conscious customers.

Last week, we saw a large group of celebrities invoking a 24-hour Instagram ban. Yes, we lived for 24 hours without any Kim Kardashian updates. I know, I did not notice it either -- because the news was dominated by the Kardashians announcing the end of their TV show.

Anyway, if I were anybody of influence at Facebook (the company, not the medium), I would worry. Groundswell is a complex thing, and the negatively laden crescendo that seems to be swelling on a daily basis (can you say “elections”?) should be cause for concern for any leadership team. 

Mark: it is never too late for an about-turn. Just have a look at the NFL, which has some very recent experience with this kind of thing.

Speaking of social media platforms, I want to spend the remainder of my 600 words of this week on LinkedIn. Let me be direct: “LinkedIn, I am beginning to hate you.”

What’s wrong, I hear you ask? Well, as I am sure most of you do, I have a LinkedIn profile page. There was a time when you needed this as much as you needed a business card. 

But I am getting to the point where I wonder if I still need my LinkedIn presence. Not because there's a better alternative to curate and connect with business individuals, but because LinkedIn now generates so much obnoxious clutter in my inboxes that I am beginning to really loathe it/them.

I swear that out of 20 LinkedIn invitations to connect, 20 go something like this: “Hey Maarten, I was looking at your profile and it seems we have a lot in common. I would like to expand my network and would appreciate the connection.” When you look at the sender’s profile, it is, 20 out of 20 times, a person promising XXX number of “qualified sales leads each month” through the help of an “unbeatable system/algorithm/proven success formula” or similar. It also becomes clear the sender and I have absolutely nothing in common.

I have a standard answer sitting on my computer for this kind of spam. You are free to copy/paste it. It won’t help. It won’t make it stop. But it is the only small measure I have to rage against the machine. 

“Hi there. Thank you for looking at my profile. It sounds like you are in lead generation. This excites me very much. Perhaps you are open to a little deal? If you generate one (ONE) lead that results in a contract that is worth (fill in average amount of your contract value), I will pay you 10% as a one-time payment. If you deliver nothing, you gain nothing. But neither did I from connecting with you. What do you say? Shall we lawyer up?”

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