Social Media Crap

On the way home from my weekly visit to our local tip I was listening to Jeff Jarvis read his book What Would Google Do about the way marketing and ad agencies are going to have to fundamentally rethink their businesses – and how few of them are currently doing so!

There are a lot of new words being bandied about, to the extent that the phrase “social media” is now almost unusable by those of us not peddling marketing agencies, but little true understanding of how to engage customers and have real conversations with them.

I was about to write a post on how sad it is to see businesses being fleeced by marketing snake oil salesmen applying “old world” techniques to the new, networked world of conversations, when I got an email, moments ago, from a businessman who said:

I have read a lot and listened to many on social media and most I am afraid are just talking crap.

You talk sense in a straight forward way that works to a business mind.

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

2 thoughts on “Social Media Crap

  1. As you know, I work in marketing, though not in the snake oil supply chain, I hope you’d agree. The place we start is explaining that this is an end to business as usual marketing, that networks massively disrupt old models and we need to create new ones. The logical conclusion to a lot of the work we do ends up in business change, working in away to help businesses re-wire how they communicate with themselves and their customers.I know where your ire comes from, though. I’ve been in sessions led by snake-oilers. My skin crawled. It made me embarrassed to be part of the same industry as them. But there may be an over-liberal use of the word "marketing" when we round on these people and practices, though. Care should be applied with tar brush, perhaps?Is it the profession or the practices that should be damned? Maybe both… But I’m afraid there will be just as many snake oil-ers in the "social business design" trade or enterprise 2.0 services as there are in marketing before too long… Witness PR, journalism, business / life coaches, financial advisers and a ton of other professions where sharks and charlatans abound and get the people with principles and sincerity a bad name at the same time. I’ve been guilty of putting in the boot with coaches in the past, and I know there are some good ones out there… I hope I’m not being over-sensitive about this, but I do work in marketing and I can’t not speak up for me and my colleagues who are on the side of social media as a force for positive change in organisations and the wider world.


  2. Hi AntonyI don’t think I actually said that all marketing was crap. In fact I am gradually filling my house with books on marketing and trying to learn from the best of marketing thinking. Maybe I should have been more precise and made it clearer that what I was having a go at was a particular segment of your profession who are rushing in and doing neither social media or themselves any favours!


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