Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies advertising?

If one thing was clear in the South by Southwest Interactive sessions on Social Media and Social Networking, it's that advertisers and marketers best tread lightly. Why is that?

As Tara Hunt explained in her talk (see prior post here) "You can't control the message [in social networks] because the people fight back by creating their own messages." And what is it that those messages say about advertising?

That it's false.

In the chart below from Neilsen's report on Social Networking's New Global Footprint, 'False' is the term most closely associated with the term 'advertising' in social media conversations.

So what?

The implications are many of those that Doc Searles and collaborators forecast in The Cluetrain Manifesto nearly a decade ago...because people talk with one another in human voices. In a social network, the point is to talk with one another--call it dialogue or conversation-- but the fact remains that this conversation is about and among people...real ones, with names and personalities and real sensibilities about is not about advertising or disembodied company brand personalities...  

Advertising looks like the cartoonish caricatures of real people in this context: out of place...inhuman...superificial and childishly manipulative...and as indicated by the nature of the conversations in Neilsen's report...untrustworthy. 

Ultimately, shilling in social spaces is easily identifiable as an outsider's approach. In social spaces, advertisers (which is to say 'companies') are left with a choice: embrace the uncertainty and risk of enabling the very real people in your organization to speak in their own voices to build trust in your brand, or embrace the certainty that you will be left out of the trust conversation all together. 

No comments:

Post a Comment