Photo by Amy.
Newsflash – Social media is bullshit! Back in the day, before the internet, it really took a lot of hard work and effort to get your message out there and these days, with the click of a button, you can blast your self promotion to the masses in a matter of seconds.
In more technologically primitive times, it was really hard to measure the results of your marketing efforts. Now with the internet, we don’t need the “Nielsen Ratings” estimations of how many people viewed your product, we have ACTUALS! And now that we have actuals, I am breaking the news to you that social media is actually a waste of time, energy and money.
Sure, if you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. for fun, you might get some use out of these things. If you are trying to make money, gain a following or spread a message, you might be better off standing on the street corner with a megaphone shouting at passing cars. If companies are telling you that social media is saving their lives or increasing their bottom line by leaps and bounds, they are fucking liars and you should take your business elsewhere.
With the advent of sites like Fiverr.com (where you can purchase social media followers for nominal amounts of money), you literally get what you pay for – higher numbers in the amount of people who follow you, but they are just that – numbers. They are not real people, people that can help see or spread your message and get you customers. They are just a number to brag to people to keep up with the online Joneses.
Let’s look at this in terms of simple math: If you have 1,000 followers and you are able to sell $1,000 worth in product to each of them, you could make a cool $100,000 per year. When you have 1,000 followers and a large portion of them are fake, suddenly having a huge number doesn’t really seem to do much after all. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but overall, people spin the uselessness of social media by shouting to their followers – “Look at me, I have [Insert huge number of followers here] followers” rather than say “I have a [huge number of followers] and my message is not getting spread!”
Google and Facebook’s algorithms have changed and now a lot of times you cannot reach your own friends/followers unless you pay! When I started writing my blog 5 years ago, my ranking in Google searches was always based upon my timeliness to post the information before other sites and because I strive for excellence, I always ranked high. Since I refuse to pay to have my ranking increased, by changing nothing on my end, except writing more and seeing less traffic, my site doesn’t rank as highly in Google searches anymore, and for an indie site like myself – it hurts my traffic badly!
On Facebook, they’ve instituted a new policy whereby you have to pay for your followers/friends to see your content. Your friends/followers have to physically change their settings to show particular users feeds, which most people either don’t know about or do not do and that also hurts traffic. When I cannot make a living off this site and my goal is to turn people on to art & music they might not otherwise be exposed to and I can’t even do THAT, it kind of makes the site seem pointless and many other writers I’ve spoken to are feeling the same way.
On Twitter, you hear about tweets going viral nearly every day. This is the reality (and is in no way a diss to the Tate Museum, whom I am a huge fan of. I just want to illustrate my point): On December 19, 2013, London’s Tate Museum posted the subject #ArtXmasFilms and they listed a couple of famous films and juxtaposed them with some famous artists. They ended the tweet with “can you do better?” I added my two cents “to the conversation” and I got retweeted! Amazing! Even more amazing is the fact that the Tate Museum has a whopping 994,867 followers!!! My tweet was the only tweet for several hours in Tate Modern’s timeline and it was retweeted during a “prime time” in London (around 9 pm).
After the jump, see what having nearly ONE MILLION pairs of eyes seeing my tweet did for me.
Nearly 5 hours after being posted, these are the following things that have resulted:
1 favorited tweet
ZERO new followers.
Less than 10 interactions in close to a million potential interactions. That is scary!!!!!
I could go on about instances where an artist I’ve written about in real life practically gave me the shirt off their back and online, I can’t get them to acknowledge me. At first, my feelings got hurt because I wondered if our encounter meant nothing to them. But now I just laugh it off because I know for a fact, it will not do anything for my life, whereas the real life interaction we had was life changing. What I am saying is, if you think social media makes a big difference to your bottom line, but you keep an online presence going because “everyone else is doing it,” you may want to rethink your strategy because it’s not helping your bottom line. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, but those are far and few between. What “anti-social media,” as I like to call it, is actually doing is merely spreading your resources more thinly for little or zero return. You could be spending that time, energy and money seeking something more real and possibly getting better results.
We live in a 2-millisecond attention span generation where original and thought provoking content shares the same playing field with mundane things such as photos of what you are eating, or the ever dreaded selfies, that find people not enjoying the moment so they can post it online to potentially get value-less ‘likes’ on Facebook. And as we all know about power or a false sense thereof, once you get a little bit of traction on something you post online, you will virtually stop at nothing to get more. Let’s face it, if we’ve ever posted something online, we’ve all fallen for this trick. However, all this really does is muddy the water even more and it make people become even more selfish and self-centered than ever before.
The age of the Internet has certainly brought us things that would never have been possible before it, but on the same note, it’s also become a leash around our necks (to check our electronic devices or update them constantly) that is getting pulled tighter and tighter – and it’s up to us to get off the machines and celebrate real life experiences.
The choice is yours.