So this is purely an observation, but I thought I had to get it out and I’m curious to know what others think.
My Twitter App has been driving me mental. Last week I updated to some new version and suddenly my phone is going bonkers telling me ‘@so-and-so and 8 others are now following @somerandomperson’.
And I’m just like WTF??? GET OFF MY SCREEN.
I finally found the ‘secret settings’ to turn these types of notifications off (thanks to this article I found on Android but worked for iOS as well.) But then it got me thinking, has social media come full circle?
I remember when I first got into the digital marketing game, every early adopter/expert/guru/ninja was touting the same mantra, ‘Listen’ first. ‘It’s about the user not the product’. ‘You have to engage with tweeters/bloggers/influencers by making it about them, NOT about you’. The key takeaway, to some degree, was that you had to appeal to the ego and interest in one’s self. That’s what made ‘mentions’ so much fun – other people were talking to or about little ol’ ME! And that’s what I was interested in – how things affected ME!
So…fast forward to 2014 and what’s going on? My Notifications are about some randoms that Twitter thinks I should care about, mostly in an effort to boost their metrics and the connectivity between its users.
Am I the only person who thinks there’s a contradiction here?
The thing that I can’t wrap my head around is, from a monetisation/engagement standpoint, networks like Twitter would love it if every single one of its users was super popular and connected with everyone else. That’s the only way to ensure the success of their product. But we as individual human beings, seek uniqueness and specialness. We want to feel ‘popular’, ‘loved’, ‘advanced’ – beyond just being merely ‘included’.
It’s the same with other channels like Facebook or even searching for stuff on Google. Suddenly, I don’t really feel like these channels are about ‘me’ or what I’m interested in anymore, they’re about showing me something that someone else has paid to show me. They don’t actually care about ME even though I’ve given them heaps of data (willingly or not) about who I am and what my interests are. You see, as much as I do worry about privacy and giving away too much – ultimately, I still don’t feel like these channels know anything about ME. They know what some of my interests are but they lump me into the same camp as every other person who happens to like ogling cute animals on the internet or to read books and write. But at the end of the day, it hardly feels like any of this is about me.
I never thought I’d say it, but I’d love to go back to the good ol’ days of social media and online marketing, where #followfriday was curated by a human who told me a group of randoms I should follow. And often I did just that. It’s not because they knew me at all, but at least I happened to be one of the 10 accounts they mentioned, so hey!
(See, it was always just about me. )
Image: I am a Dead Bird