From Junk to Spam to Waste

So could a plumber's farts
Image by diaper

A recent Digital Life survey in Great Britain revealed that corporate social media is generally a failure, with organizations “generating mountains of digital waste, from friendless Facebook accounts to blogs no one reads.” And so in a long history of media, yet another medium has been turned into a source of noise pollution by direct marketers.

First there was the proliferation of junk mail that citizens received in their post boxes. With the dot com era came spam, an onslaught of unwanted email from marketers laying waste to your in box.

And now with social comes digital waste. Everyday we see endless streams of poorly disguised messaging and sales pitches. Even though you may not have opted in to it, your friends share the waste, or it shows up via a “social ad” placement.

Lest we think the phenomena of bad marketing limits itself to direct marketing, perhaps I can share with you some of the many the horrible pitches PR “pros” email me everyday thinking they just might get on this blog. Or simply turn on your television and watch the bad advertising.

Poorly executed marketing dominates every time and medium.

No wonder great marketing campaigns are so noteworthy. They stand out in comparison.

And therein lies the opportunity. With the bar so low, it becomes easier to win. We simply need to take the time to practice our craft, and mindfully attend to our communications, honing our craft so it resonates with our stakeholders. Success takes work, but when the competition is so bad it is very, very attainable.

What do you think about the general practice of marketing these days?



TrashTalk is a new initiative from the SENSEable City Lab and inspired by the NYC Green Initiative that’s studying waste management (image by Nevada Tumbleweed). Specifically, the effort seeks to use technology to understand our removal chain as well our supply chain.

The effort uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags to examine how we get rid of waste. In the end, the minute details could provide great amounts of data that could yield a more sustainable future.

As we move forward, understanding waste will be a critical component of green life. A recent CauseCast article noted there are three kinds of waste:

1. Primary packaging is what we handle as consumers.

2. Secondary packaging is the term used for the larger cases or boxes that group quantities of primary packaged goods for distribution.

3. Transit packaging refers to the wooden boards, plastic wrapping, and containers that load, transport, and unload these goods.

Recycling has been a past topic, and one that can seriously impact our carbon footprint. In fact, we already see a savings of 300 million tons of carbon a year in the U.S.

There’s so much focus on producing new sustainable products it seems like we forget how important it is to be mindful about what we already consume. I like it when I see initiatives like this with a robot that helps to intelligently recycle plastics. This seems to be the best of both worlds.

What do you think? How can we best address reusing our current products for long-term sustainability.