By Hans Ebert




It plays on insecurities and vanities. It continues to sell Let’s Pretend. And so it’s about wanting to be “liked” and “viewed” and “followed”. Why? Because that’s what many who suddenly popped up as “social media experts” and “social media agencies” have kept the mantra going about how it is “so today” and a “generational” thing.

What’s forgotten in the shuffle for fame and being dazzled by the ILLUSION of fame is that new “generational” stuff was and is the old world of research companies and PR agencies. Having them appear at events like music conferences where they would trot out numbers and show chart after beautifully coloured chart about reach, awareness, market share and customer segmentation.

Did us executives believe any of this codswallop? Of course not. We wanted to get down to the bar and party like it was 1999. Those conferences was just someone given the task of coming up with the agenda for another of these often useless meetings and padding it out with “Keynote Speakers” and guest presentations.

We knew our product better than anyone else- its strengths and weaknesses, profitability and what could be new business streams. We didn’t need lectures from those thinking what they were presenting is what we needed. Or that we cared. It was just another vapid floor show. Because our competitors were doing the same thing at their conferences, it was considered okay to join the herd and become sheep.

Forgotten were when the Indies led by “agents of change” like Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and a kid named Richard Branson and his Virgin imprint with one artist- Michael Oldfield- arrived and Tubular Bells were tolling and everything that involved creativity and the youth rebellion happened. And without “social
media”. Like the Beatles did. Dylan. Stevie Wonder etc etc.

Quickly, the original indies got gobbled up by the old farts who wanted nothing to change and never bothered to sit down with Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning and understand the thinking behind the then illegal music file sharing site Napster.

Without getting to grips with how Napster worked, the majors sued, they won, and while merrily doing the land of a thousand dances, the online world ambushed the real world.

Surrounded by fake everything and where the maths don’t add up, many of us were willing to accept everything at face value without asking the hard questions. Maybe we didn’t care enough…or were distracted. Or bamboozled. Had our priorities wrong.

Now comes the backlash. Online fame that’s been purchased is being revealed. Buying fame is extremely inexpensive. So is “boosting” the numbers of anything where Instagram numbers and Facebook followers are so way outta whack that it’s laughable. Being “famous” but broke? Make any sense?

The fakers and fakirs once tolerated are known and many businesses are starting again with a clean slate. The “social media expert” has become a pariah. A loser. A huckster. A con. The harbinger of fake news with skewed and screwed up numbers. All this could have finally woken us up. Brought us back to reality.

We’re suddenly seeing corporate communications by big global brands divorcing themselves from social media’s numbers game and promoting that what’s really cool is returning to the real world. How countries cannot be run by some old guy on Twitter.

These changes are separating the chaff from the wheat and creating a different brave new old world based on honesty and the truth. About what matters in the real world- real success and real financial gain. About fair trade. Original content. Rights issues. Lawyers as allies creating new online laws. Exposing half truths. Revealing that only those making the big bucks are the delivery platforms.

Those relevant today and are genuine KOLS will continue to be accepted in the online world. But these people and brands are becoming less and less. This is a good thing. It means the world becoming more selective. Even the Kardashians are realising that wanting to “keep up” with them is no longer working. They’re part of a very distant past.

Like Paris Hilton, being a Kardashian is a dead helium brand with Mother Kardashian and her brood desperately trying to be accepted by the Hip Hop community by dating and having daddy Rappers. It’s all looking too transparent. Too fake. Too many desperate housewives. Only Kendall Jenner is working. Kinda. But she’s hardly hurting for money.

Those of us employed and paid to be on social media will continue – but hopefully with that clean slate mentioned earlier. It’s about being successful in the real world. That if big online numbers don’t benefit the bottom line in the real world, who cares?

When in advertising, our Chairman at DDB- the legendary Keith Reinhard- drummed into us young Creatives that The Technique Is Not The Idea.

Similarly, Technology Is Not The Idea. Sure, embrace technology but it’s here to enhance the creative product. And if any business has many in “marketing”
running around without the creative product- breakthrough original content- to market, well…

Maybe- make that definitely- we’re in the midst of much missed positive change. It’s looking beyond delivery platforms and looking at what they’re delivering. If delivering fluff, no thanks. If working to help promote all manner of creativity, great.

On Twitter, there are some brilliant accounts. Like @41Strange. Weird but weirdly intoxicating.

All the work that goes into Pink Floyd fan @steve_sps

One learns from following people like Ricky Gervais.
Being inspired by great art so that one starts creating instead of looking at numb dumb numbers.

Everything points to breakaway independent businesses making their presence felt- one-time startups that have grown up and refuse to follow. Only to lead by following gut instincts.

#socialmedia #socialmediaexperts #twitter #napster #music #shawnfanning #therealworld #kardashians #technology #onlineworld 41Strange #SteveSPS #creativity #HansEbert #KeithReinhard #HansEbertMusic #fakenumbers #RickyGervais