By Dorothy Thompson.
I often wonder if I should have been born in another time. Ours is an era of distraction. It is a punishing drumbeat of constant input.
This cacophony follows us into our homes and into our beds and seeps into our souls. I’m given to wonder, if I’d just been born when it was a little quieter out there, would people have even become such social media addicts and slaves in the first place? Might they have been more focused? Fully realized people?
But alas it is 2017 and the 24-hour news cycle dominates our media, trawling the muck of social rumours, innuendo, and trash has become the norm. The faceless keyboard worriers publish without fear or favour unvetted trash, which finds its way onto the social media network, and unhappily influences public opinion, and marketers’ decisions.
But enough of these thoughts, another who has strong views and the research and data to support his case, it is the ever controversial Professor Mark Ritson.
Ritson in a recent electrifying address claimed that the whole social media promise from Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg was almost completely bogus. In part he started:
“I know I keep going on about it, but the most important moment in marketing communications history probably took place on 6 November 2007. Ten years ago Facebook was a force to be reckoned with in popular culture terms but the big question, to use the recurrent phrase from that era, was whether this could be ‘monetised’?
“Back then Facebook generated a paltry $153m in annual revenues – a figure it now makes every 48 hours. In 2007 many analysts were impressed with Facebook’s audience size but were uncertain that the company could turn it into profit. It was to allay these fears that Facebook invited 250 marketing and advertising executives to New York in November for that now famous presentation from the company’s 23-year-old founder.
“What Mark Zuckerberg told the assembled executives that day laid the foundations for a system that will surely become, not too far off in the future, the biggest advertising business the world has ever seen.
“That said, the actual content of Zuckerberg’s pitch that day turned out to be almost completely bogus. His new concept, Facebook Ads as he called them, was billed as a “completely new way of advertising online”. The old model of advertising that had dominated the last century, in which advertisers “pushed” messages at consumers, was going to be superseded by a different model in which advertising became “part of the conversation”. It was to be a new kind of ad system to spread messages virally.
“Immediately after the announcement the first 40 big brands – including Coca-Cola, Sony, Dove and Blockbuster (yes it was that long ago) – launched the first corporate pages onto Facebook and the new era of social media marketing began”.
But lets hear from him on “Social Media’s Broken Promise”
If Marketers are to take their commitment to budgetary sensibility seriously, they should reflect on Ritson’s dissertation, and re-evaluate their slavishly dedication to the notion that is peddled by the social media vultures, and profiteers. They should consider its true effectiveness for their brands and budget constraints.