The ten plagues of social media and marketing, part I

Tonight is the start of Passover, a holiday celebrating the struggle for liberation with foods designed to remind you of suffering and enslavement.  At one point in the traditional Seder, participants recite the ten plagues visited on Egypt , spilling out a bit of wine for each one in token commiseration for the suffering the plagues brought.

The canonical plagues are:

  1. Blood (water turning into blood)
  2. Frogs (lots of frogs, everywhere)
  3. Lice
  4. Beasts (like wild and marauding ones)
  5. Livestock disease
  6. Boils
  7. Hail (sometimes described as mixed with fire - eek!)
  8. Locusts
  9. Darkness (all day)
  10. Death of all first-born children

Perhaps tonight social media peeps will hold back a tweet or ten in recognition for the suffering visited upon us by social media, social marketing, and all the attendant hoohah these past few years.  Here are five, and I'll serve up five more within a week.  I have the full list pretty well figured out, but I'll happily take nominations.

  1. Spam.  OK, social media didn't cause spam,but it didn't stop it or even reduce it.  We have to contend with actual malicious content as well as content that's merely obnoxious, such as oversharing or overtweeting.
  2. Corporate Blogs.  Companies trying to cash in on the authenticity and openness of social media have created some of the least authentic blogs in the universe.  I know, I've written some of them. Sure, you can use a blog for PR and for link building and for SEO, but hey, guess, what?  You can also use it to share what's really going on in your company.
  3. Self-Appointed Experts.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and people seem to want experts to explain to them how to use democratic, user-generated media.  Seems to me they miss the point, but I hereby appoint the self-appointed social media experts a plague.
  4. Accumulationism.  OK, I probably just made that word up, and if I didn't, I probably misused it.  Anyway, the mis-measurement of social media success or influence by the number of followers, the number of links, the number of friends, the number of posts, and so forth is pernicious and misleading.  Feh.
  5. Constant Partial Attention.  Mobile devices are as much to blame as social media proper, and this was a problem with email before, but it's gotten so much worse.  The need to even try to consume the torrent of microdrivel prevents people from focusing for even a minute on any one thing of import.

Well, that should keep you all busy as you attempt to discreetly update your facebook status while digesting the meginah.  Stay tuned for five more plagues over the rest of the holiday.

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