The End of the Social PR Revolution

Soup Lines
Image by OakleyOriginals

In building the program for xPotomac (February 25th), I sought to address a sea change in media evolution. That change spells the end for the social PR revolution, a marketing movement embodied by brand-led conversations over the past seven years.

We are currently experiencing a throttling of branded, online grassroots power. Specifically, it’s becoming harder and harder for marketers to be seen with branded earned media and social updates.

This evolution is best evidenced by the increasing role of owned and paid content placement (as discussed, content marketing is the 21st century nice description of advertising), and social or native advertising.

Other signs evidence this change, too. Social search and stronger policing of black hat SEO by Google has put a premium on paid search again. Facebook’s use of Edgerank to force companies and individuals alike to pay for attention is another harbinger of this fate.

The rise of big data and the forthcoming wearable computing revolution — themes that run throughout xPotomac — will cause a further throttling of online grassroots pipes.

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Instapocalypse and the Permission War

instagram
Image by tres.jolie

How’s your Instagram account treating you now? Feel better now that Instagram restored some of its original terms of service, and recommitted to observing permission marketing norms with photos?

It seems like every four or five months we experience some outrageous Internet drama where tech and marketing bloggers declare the death of a brand.

Instagram, Chick-fil-a, Netflix, Walmart, etc. have all been condemned for some egregious act of anti-socialness. And then of course, the brands don’t die, and in most cases correct the wrong, recover, and prosper. In the case of Netflix, they are making more money than ever before.

Yet the “Instapocalypse” was different. Like other faux deaths, the network’s daily user losses seem to be negligible, but Instagram conceded promptly to its users, and retracted its intellectual terms that harnessed users’ photos for commercial purposes.

Instagram users won a larger mobile battle in the Permission Marketing War.

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Exiting Facebook as a Marketing Vehicle

facebook
Image by pshab

For a few months now, I have been reducing my marketing presence on Facebook.

Generally, I don’t enjoy the conversational tone, and I believe Facebook is losing market power.

Another aspect is to create a safer place where I don’t have workplace colleagues and contacts reading my feed expecting the latest and greatest Geoff news (Woo. Hoo.). I’d rather have a closer family and friend experience there.

This seems to have happened by happenstance, anyway. In fact, of my current consulting and speaking clients, only one head of marketing is a friend on Facebook.

The linchpin was seeing organic unpaid engagement drop on blog posts.

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Does Google Deserve More Credit?

Sometimes I think Google deserves more credit.

This is not a defense of Google+, anti-trust issues facing the company, or the apparent sunsetting of Feedburner. Rather, more admiration for the company’s overall approach and success online in recent years.

When I learned Google had scrapped its facial recognition technology because the negative uses outweighed the good, I felt they were the better player of the big companies operating in this space. It’s not an isolated incident.

Google changed its privacy earlier this year, uniting its many disparate policies across different products into one holistic company-wide statement. The company waged an extensive public relations and advertising effort to explain the new policy to the general public.

When was the last time Facebook did that? Never, to my knowledge. You just log in and find everything switched without any communication whatsoever.
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My TweetEsteem Issues

Yeah.

I admit it. I know I’m not the only one, too.

My mood rides on my social share count. It always has.

While I tried to be cool and say this didn’t matter, after a period of unpopularity, I totally know that’s bullshit.

I enjoy it when posts get read, liked and shared by you.

I feel like a success when you retweet, and like I bombed when you don’t.

Yeah, that’s pathetic, and I know it. But so true.

I have TweetEsteem(™) issues.

Like me (please?!?!?),

Geoff

It’s Not OK

Mist Over Manhattan
A cloud hangs over Manhattan

A forthcoming Columbia University and University of Pittsburgh study shows that surfing on Facebook with close friends lowers inhibitions towards self control. The study says that with an inflated positive self caused by ego-stroking on Facebook we feel more inclined to take license.

So now we know the medium is toxic. Does that give us license to behave poorly?

In recent weeks, I’ve seen and received direct feedback from several folks that we all act like assholes and b&^ches online.

That’s true.
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