By Hans Ebert

They’re changing the guard at Buckingham Palace and surely this signals the time for changes across the board?

I might have a British passport and embraced all the diverse creativity that came out of the British Beat explosion led by the Beatles and the Stones and being taken to St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong by my parents because Princess Alexandra was attending service. But all these column inches and online discussions about the fallout that’s happened after Harry met Meghan and the decisions the couple has made to break with tradition just comes across as being royally daft.

Frankly, most of what is “shared” on what’s called “social media” has created a very divisive society- often angry, cranky, petty, uncreative, sanctimonious, hypocritical, and, basically, bunkum from too many with way too much time on their hands along with salesmen jumping on the online bandwagon and taking most of the world backwards with them.

Lennon and McCartney must have read the tea leaves and seen the effects of social media when writing “I’m So Tired”, “Fool On The Hill”, “Isolation” and especially “Nowhere Man” making all his nowhere plans for nobody, and how, “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

On the foreboding “Eleanor Rigby”, Paul asked, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”

All the lonely people? They ARE me and you with many happy to allow the tail to wag the dog and become willing slaves to technology and provide every delivery platform with free content which these platforms bundle and sell to advertisers. Yeah, not that different to what MTV used to do…

Were MySpace and Napstar, back in the day, supposed to lead to where we are today? And where exactly are we?

Is there anybody out there and does anyone really know other than those who gave the world this “second life” via online delivery platforms before cashing out and disappearing from view?

The baton was passed on to all those hand wringers who cry that The End Is Nigh, those who seek solace in cringeworthy memes and quotes, and everyone who loves cute cats. But if it helps people…

We’ve also seen the emergence of “social media experts” armed with new cons to spin like the importance of algorithms, hashtags, Google rankings, Wikipedia wisdom and telling JoJo and the rest where everyone is and should belong.

For example, these self-styled experts will tell you that the oldies belong over there to the left on Facebook, the trendies up there on Instagram and Tik Tok flaunting their million dollar baby lifestyles and randomness, the desperadoes looking for a gig on LinkedIn, and those who don’t know the difference between “you’re” and “your” and the grammatically challenged, still there on Twitter muting and blocking those who disagree with them. YouTube is somewhere there- almost as an afterthought.

Forget the “experts”. They’re more lost than anyone and, not unlike like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn taking many over the cliff. They’re the new Fagin.

The big question is this: What are these online delivery platforms bringing to the table of life other than more and more deadweight that doesn’t lead anyone anywhere?

Sure, there are those who know where and when and how to use these platforms to successfully market products. The most successful of these have happened because of good old fashioned PR and traditional advertising and marketing techniques.

The execution is not the idea. Never has been. The technique is never the idea. Neither is technology. They only hide the weaknesses of not having an original idea.

For example, the Kardashians, as a brand and individually, might be the most important Key Opinion Leaders- KOLs, a term parroted by those wanting so much to be seen as belonging and understanding this online world. But remember that it all started with a carefully leaked online sex video “starring” a then-unknown Kim Kardashian. It might have been tacky, but there was a marketing idea behind it all.

More important “airtime” was gained by Kim Kardashian hanging out with her then far more well-known bestie Paris Hilton.

Their E! Channel lifestyle was promoted by blogger Perez Hilton and through what was then his popular gossipy celebrity news website. He’s still around today. But still relevant? Doubt it.

All this was the start of many being famous for being famous, and others, liking what they saw, wanting a slice of the same pie. With this came vapidity. It was cool to be dumb and speak as if on helium.

Mother superior Kris Kardashian Jenner shrewdly jumped the gun and built up a dynasty based around a “reality” television series about her dysfunctional family and sold the idea to the savvy Ryan Seacrest

Seacrest had learned about this world of “dramedy” as host of the television karaoke singing competition that was “American Idol” with its carefully cast of celebrity judges. Paula Abdul? A judge? Seriously? She couldn’t sing, but had a certain randomness going for her. She and Mr Nasty was good television.

As for “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, audiences loved- and believed- all the scripted fly on the wall “reality”.

Like gremlins, this type of “reality” morphed online into anything and everything where almost everyone now believes everything they read whereas the Kardashians and younger siblings- Kendall and Kylie Jenner- have cleverly and quickly built up their own “insta” business empires.

“Keeping Up With The Kardashians” has become more and more weird. Husband and former Olympic Decathlon Champion Bruce Jenner is now Caitlin Jenner. She has left the show. Kimmy is married to Zeezy, and a number of unknown Black Rappers appear and disappear after impregnating someone. Kendall Jenner appears infrequently and seems to want out of the circus and be with her own tribe.

Whereas with advertising, it was all about “Mad Men”, the art of persuasion, being strategic, being creative along with catering to the needs of the human condition through the ability to think on one’s feet and knowing how to see through the fakirs bearing false gifts and win, social media has thrown open the doors for everyone to march in and make themselves heard about anything.

Everyone is an expert about everything and everything put out there is taken as gospel- often, the gospel according to many lurking in the dark and being faceless puppet masters. The puppets are willing accomplices. Somehow, their ability to think for themselves has been stolen. There are millions of parrots out there with a lobotomy. The great Mel Brooks probably saw them coming in “Young Frankenstein”.

Recently, many on Facebook reported seeing a spectacular fireworks display in Hong Kong to usher in the new year. There was none. The annual fireworks display was a fizzle. Cancelled.

What else that’s reported online as being the truth really is? The Truth might have been out there, but back then so were Mulder and Scully.

Today, there’s Greta Thunberg.

Meanwhile, the Big Orange in the White House, once a reality pooh bah like Kim Kardashian, barks out tweets to the world.

Isn’t it kinda ironic that both have now reinvented themselves and have formed alliances with cameos by Yeezy?

This is where we are today and why we’re in the state we’re in. A state of flux. That’s the polite way of saying it.

Think about it- if still possible: Why are so many in every facet of life suffering from anxiety and “mental illnesses”? Online addiction fuelled by non stop negativity and toxicity can do anyone’s head in.

Other than us ordinary folk, there are the millionaire sports heroes, vulnerable young jockeys, actors, actresses, musicians, and almost everyone connected with the world of entertainment. Some simply had enough and bailed.

Why? There’s the boredom that comes with it all- boredom from a lack of inspiration and feeling that everything worth doing has been done. I wake up with this feeling almost every day. Who’s out there with something inspirational to get you out of your funk? Where’s the positivity?

There’s then the non-stop onslaught of one trending hashtag after another. Does anyone even remember what came before #MeToo and what followed it?

Anyone heard of #oddtoo and the work to understand autism? Why not? Too addicted to negativity to embrace positivity?

What’s next? Where to next? No one seems to know except that it’s a mess out there and that every online platform is being scrutinised- by themselves and others like the big advertisers.

The numbers are either being doctored or suddenly don’t add up. Plus, trying to create the illusion of fame has run its race. It’s attracting the also-rans.

Unless a Kendall or a Kylie, this career path doesn’t lead anywhere. Unless careers peaked during that time when no one was trying to make success in the online world an exact science, they are in free fall. Talent always wins out. Algorithms, hashtags and Tech talk don’t.

Where’s the beef? Where’s the emotion? THIS is what “sells” without selling: Emotion. Passion. Honesty. Don Draper has this figured out.

Speaking of which, it was interesting to recently read all the trouble Justin Bieber is taking to ensure that his new record tops the Spotify charts- and through the use of good old traditional promotions and marketing. Spotify and the streaming of music plus all the tricks that go with it. That’s another online promise that shouldn’t be in your shopping cart.

Justin Bieber Criticized Over “Yummy” Streaming Strategy – COMPLEX

A friend mentioned that this record is important to The Bieb because he’s been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Huh? I didn’t get it. What’s his illness got to do with him and management going through all this trouble and gimmicks and begging to promote his new record? And, whatever happened to his mentor- Usher- you know who supposedly discovered the young artist on YouTube? Just asking. Just trying to join the dots.

Hopefully, we’re finally waking up from over a decade of being seduced by the fame game, being surrounded by mediocrity in every industry and with, for some reason, an aversion to ask the hard questions. Instead many aimlessly press that “like” button just to be, well, liked.

It’s also okay to be dazzled by loads of bollocks from amateurs masquerading as experts, Photoshopped poseurs trying to be “Rock stars”, dreadful caterwauling passed off as singing and sermons from and quotes from the mountains of bs.

Some of us are where we are and who we are today because of having had good mentors. This is especially true of music. But where are today? Almost everyone seems to know everything from the Big Book of Wikipedia.

Why is music today such a devalued art form? Lack of mentors. Too much put button creativity and a false sense of importance, all which leads to the deaf, dumb and blind leading Tommy.

There they go plodding along with way too often no idea of where they’re going and no vision of what might lie ahead. And getting to what lies ahead isn’t going to happen by being online sheep, retreading old ground thinking it’s TikTok new and collecting numbers and “followers”.

Surely, the way forward is not to keep pressing that “Repeat” button? There’s that other button called “Refresh”.

Perhaps it’s time for the world to come together and press that Refresh button at the same time and on the same day?

Where we are right now isn’t working because there’s no teamwork involved. There’s no one-on-one connectivity in the real world and no genuine talent. Everything seems fake. Like Tinder, it’s just one big shopping cart void of emotion. It’s a meaningless one night stand.

We are missing multimedia artists like Bowie, and Prince. We’ll never know what else Steve Jobs might have given the world. Or how the genius of Jim Henson might have used the online world to edutain children.

We’ll soon lose other game changers- film directors, actors, actresses, more iconic musicians.

Steven Hawking had some wise words for the future of the world.

The other day, after a few months of being on Facebook to absorb what was going on there for a project, I closed my account. Mission accomplished.

Speaking to a friend about what I learned from being on Facebook- plenty but not worth sharing- and asking about what’s next, at least for myself it’s about scoring a home run- a home run that will help inspire children to be confident, well-adjusted and creative, especially through music.

I believe I can score this home run. I’m inspired enough to at least TRY and make this happen. And remember this: Kindness matters. A hashtag is exactly that: a hashtag. It’s not exactly a motivator. Just another come-on to bedazzle more sheep. More dumbing down of the world.

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