One of the books recommended by the Elevate+ accelerator program is “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book ends with Vaynerchuk saying that he believes that the book’s content will be outdated by 2015. The prediction is partly correct because large parts of the book are advocating the use of social media by businesses. The book was written in 2010 and the audiobook recorded in 2011. Social media was new and shiny, with not a lot of business presence. But since then, the business has moved in with a vengeance!
Vaynerchuk alludes to the business takeover of the social media and comments that “marketers like myself ruin everything and I am sure they will ruin social media too”. Indeed, I feel less connected with friends and family when I am on Facebook., which is sad because the whole reason I started using Facebook was to keep in touch with my family when I moved to England. Twitter and Instagram I didn’t use much until I started getting into startup land. So I don’t expect either to make me connect to my family. But Facebook was different. It’s like marketers taking over Tumblr and Livejournal, I got both to stay to do Fandom stuff. Marketing muscling into those platforms feel wrong.
All that said, large parts of the book are still applicable. Especially about the part about poor customer service having the potential to be magnified to insane degrees. Additionally, part of the reason marketing has ruined social media is because of “push techniques” that Vaynerchuk advocates against. Of course, we now also have other issues with social media. For personal branding, you need to watch what you say because old jokes can come back to haunt you, and if you do have a sketchy social past, it pays to have a brand adviser run a check on you and clean things up.
Is it sad? I guess, but one of the things Vaynerchuk pointed out was that Social Media has turned the world into a small town. One of the many downsides of a small town was gossip and the long memory. You never lived down anything because at least someone remembered. Some busybodies in small towns and villages made it their business to remember everything. That’s social media. We have delegated a lot of our emotional labour to social media. We don’t write annual letters, we don’t keep our phone books updated. We broadcast and hope people hear. So we have to take the good with the bad.
As for marketing, I think it has its uses for startups like Abide, which is now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But it is harder to get noticed now that everybody is here. But that was bound to happen. As for the next big trend? One of the participants of QUT Collider Accelerator is the startup Air Syne. So maybe the future is VR ads! Perhaps I should get in on that on the ground level!