Am I really predicting the end of social media? No, I’m just being a provocative jerk.
But I am concerned about cracks in the walls upon which we’ve built delirious dreams of “engaging” with our markets, blah, blah, blah.
Case in point: As part of my research into podcasting (stay tuned), I signed up with Spreaker recently. Yesterday, I poked around the site a bit but please keep in mind — and this is important — I didn’t add a single meaningful piece of content to the site. I didn’t record a podcast, I didn’t upload a picture, I didn’t write a post. Hell, I didn’t even complete my freakin’ profile.
This morning, I found not one, but three “follows” from Spreaker in my inbox. Three.
Why? On what grounds could these people have possibly determined that I would be a person they would want to have a “relationship” with? I have nothing on my Spreaker page; for all they know, I’m an empty suit.
“But Jonathan,” you’re thinking to yourself, “you naive fool. They don’t want to relate to you at all. They just want the follow back.”
Yeah, I get that.
And that leads to my initial point. Just as regurgitated brochure crap isn’t “content,” random trolling for followers on Twitter, etc. isn’t “building a network,” it’s building an illusion. An illusion of connection, an illusion of communications, an illusion of engagement.
On one level, this is all very amusing. (Picture me holding my elbow in one hand, a cigarette high in the other. Tres amusant.) But on another, it’s a little disturbing: to the degree that we pump fake content and build fake relationships online, we’re poisoning the social media well.
And the real result will be poor results. For us.
I don’t just whine and complain and gnash my teeth: I teach better content strategies, too.