Social media 'experts' don't want you to read this

It's Social Media Week in London and apparently working on the Internet means it's impossible to communicate like a human anymore

Share

It’s social media week and therefore time for navel gazing on Twitter and Facebook if you work in this area.

Yet for an industry supposedly powered by 'engagement' it produces some of the most teeth-grindingly boring 'advice' ever.

Many of these social media 'experts' are all saying the same thing, which just so happens to be absolutely nothing.

A magical tumblr called thisisnotaninsight.com has shone a light on the self-important sludge that's been circulating around the event, helpfully curated for you to avoid with the hashtag  #smw #smwldn. It's never a good start when an event has two hashtags.

Such inscrutable gems of knowledge tweeted by social media experts can be found on this blog, such as''social media is all about personality and human engagement' You mean I might prefer engaging with a PERSON rather than a robot? Thanks for that.

Another glaring insight is 'Brands are not as important as the people in our lives.' Oh, you don't say.

My personal favourite is: 'Organisations must bring in great people and make great teams for collaboration purposes.'

Yeah because most places decide they only want to hire the least talented people who despise working together.

This 'advice' proffered in a ridiculous grandiose manner, annoys me not only because it makes a mockery of anyone who is genuinely adds value through social media, but also because it breaks medium's cardinal rules. Twitter and Facebook and the like are all about sharing. And you can't share nothing.

But here's the rub.. social media experts don't really like sharing. Either because they can't or because they won't.

Everyone knows social media is immensely important. Using Twitter and Facebook effectively is the gateway to making something go 'viral', the social media equivalent of striking oil.

But most social media experts don't even want to give you the drill, let alone show you how to bore.


Sometimes this is because a lot of social media is common sense. You give someone a map and suddenly the guide becomes less important.

Much of what does well on social media is necessarily simple and can be easily replicated.

It will be refined and polished and what Twitter chirps out will probably be better than what was first suggested. There's no glory in telling people what to tweet because someone's always going to do it better than you.

Plus often being 'good' at social media is such an intuitive skill that even the people who are good at it don't really know why. It's not even easy for other people to identify why that particular person's communication works on Twitter or Facebook.

There are limits to social media skills too.  What works on social media is broadly reflective of what is liked by the whole of the internet.

There are certain things that people just don't have a huge appetite for. However much social 'genius' you throw at it, it's going to be difficult to, ahem, 'create a buzz'.

If being skilled in social media was the clairvoyant competence it's sometimes made out to be, places that sell car insurance or phone contracts wouldn't have to make animals their brand ambassadors. Compare the market doesn't have a Facebook page, but Aleksander Orlov does.

That's because most people don't want to share car insurance quotes publicly with their friends. If they do, odds are they won't have many friends anyway.

That's not to say there's not a skill to being a success online, but it's both patronising and worthless to talk about 'engagement'. What a surprise, the clever, creative and informative things people like in real life they also like online.

It's actually really difficult to 'prescribe' a best way to use social media because how you are using Twitter or Facebook depends on what you have to say.

A lot of the people are using it  in surprising ways to encourage people to like their brand.  For example confused.com flip-flops lined with turf from Glasgow Green  to allow fans to keep their national ground beneath their feet while watching the match.

The moonwalking Shetland pony was another social media sensation. But that wasn't just because it was tweeted out and 'facebooked' in the right way (although #DancePonyDance was clever)... it was also just a great piece of video. The campaign was taken to another 'sharing'  when it allowed other people to take part and mix their own pony videos. That did lead to the infamous 'Findus pony', but it was very funny.

But whatever social media experts tell you... there are no 'tricks' and this is part of what makes engagement so successful: it's real. Readers share on social media what they have always wanted to share with others.

The articles mothers rip out and leave accusingly on their daughters beds, the picture of the emu in the Saturday mag that reminds you of your physics teacher, the recipe you think you should try. It's just suddenly this has got a whole lot more important .

 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tutor required for Level 3 Workskills

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Eduction are...

Primary Supply Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...

Primary General Cover Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...

Part Time Primary Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...

Day In a Page

Read Next
NO ballots are stacked on a table during the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh  

Scottish referendum: Some divorces are meant to happen – this one wasn’t

Dotti Irving
 

To see how the establishment operates, you really needed to be at this week’s launch party for Andrew Marr’s new book

John Walsh
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week