Social Media chicanery

There was an interesting post in PC World recently, by Robert Strohmeyer about social media charlatans who try to sell companies on the magic of social media.  He has a point.  A lot of consultants and experts make it sound like all you have to do is learn the technology of social media and it will do all the rest of the work for you.  And that's simply not true.

A lot of the experts have dome out of my field of public relations and advertising who spent most of their careers force feeding the dreck posing as communication from their clients into the mechanism of the media.  Magically it seemed that the offal was turned into trusted information. These same people have learned how to shove that stuff into social media engines and the clients see that now they can read exactly what they put in.  There is no more filter.  Of course everyone thinks that's better.

It's not really.

What social media really does is put the medium directly into the hands of a lot of communication amateurs.  Unfortunately, I have to put a lot of my own into that group because most publicists, advertising experts and marketers have had virtually no training or experience in authentic communication -- just basic writing -- and are really horrible at putting out anything that isn't incomprehensible gunk.

But it is the world we happen to live in right now.  The media that we were used to; the one that fixed and filtered all our crap, has gone away for the most part.  We are now left with the responsibility of doing the work they did.  The good news is that social media has given us much easier and cheaper access to media.  The bad news is, we are all going to have to learn how to communicate properly, or at least start hiring people who can.  And by people, I mean experienced communicators that will cry "bullshit" when the clients start spewing it.

The thing I love about social media is that it takes away any excuse.  You can't blame the media for bias, or misquoting and ignorance of the problem... because you are the media.  And if what you are putting out is not getting results, then it isn't the media's fault, it's yours.

Of course, there's always the economy to blame.  Obviously it couldn't be your message.