It’s been questioned and criticised and analysed for around three years. Now, during these Groundhog days of social distancing and surviving instead of living, being on “social” media just might not be, as some used to say, not where it’s at.
Those who have suddenly seen clutter instead of substance are either closing their online accounts or else are being more selective about how they use their time.
Those who heard those warning bells ringing from as far back as the days of Napster and MySpace are saying, “We told you so”. They mention some things kinda similar from back in the day: the pointlessness of sending chain letters to keep away bad luck and the similarity of slam books and Facebook.
As fate would have it- or karma or dogma- the women with whom I’ve had long-term relationships never ever showed any interest in being on these platforms for personal use. They didn’t see the need for it, had self confidence, and quietly watched from afar how something like Facebook had changed many of their friends- intelligent adults with nothing to prove to anybody, but who suddenly embraced a carefully coiffured and manicured second life.
Me, I’ve had an on-off relationship with social media, something not attracted to personally, but needed as a branding exercise to help market my work and that of my companies. If used with the right content, and strategies in place, these online channels can, of course, be effective to any consumer driven business.
Twitter certainly works for James Blunt as he uses it with clever humour by taking le pissoir of his rep for producing gawd awful bland music. Smart.
The key is to use social media without social media using you.
Social media grew out of the need of Gen Z, or X or Y or whatever it was and is today, wanting somewhere to be seen and heard and with the savviest amongst these channels feeding this need.
This need ballooned into something no one saw coming. It was a different kind of pandemic.
Like that memorable scene in Godfather 2 where Michael Corleone wants to leave the family business which keeps dragging him back in, once sucked into any social media platform, like any other addiction, it can take over, and the tail starts to wag the dog.
Twitter, for example, is the most popular online platform for quick news bites. The problem occurs when these bites become a voracious appetite for anything and everything that’s tweeted.
This then manifests itself into a multi-headed monster feeding off one’s “interest” in randomly scrolling down and pressing that “Like” button, often for tweets with the largest numbers of “Likes”, or anything with cute cats. Either that or answering questions like, “Which song was playing in the background when you first had sex?”
Like Little Red Riding Hood picking up crumbs that lead her to Grandma’s house, these questions are answered with no second thoughts given about why one is bothering with something this random. Boredom plays tricks with your mind.
One can walk away and switch off from this dumbed down click bait.
What’s tough to accept are those who take out their anger on Twitter with foul, hateful and moronic tweets replete with bad spelling and gawd awful grammar.
Proven to be a trigger for mental health problems, new online laws have been talked about for almost two decades. Where are they? Maybe they’re not here because this is how everything is being choreographed by those manipulative puppet masters...
Getting back to Twitter- did we ever leave it?-though there’s really no need to mention how this has been used in politics.
Twitter is where, for over four years, America was pretty much guided by whoever was tweeting what and from where and to whom and which gave birth to every kind of hashtag. This was led by the #fakenews clarion call and spilled over in Washington with the events of January 6th.
Though not there at the time, this day brought back memories of the storming of Le Bastille.
From time to time, these online platforms are forced to get on the back foot to appease their critics with promises on how well they are policing everything not in line with their Codes Of Conduct And Practices, but these are not working.
They have never worked because “social media”, and all the data it collects is a business that’s financed and controlled by even bigger business.
We should know all this by now, but the constant feeding of egos and providing a showcase for this content shows savvy marketing at work.
One particular platform aimed at a younger demographic sells its visitors with a buffet of choices. The focus is on the “fame game” and the importance of numbers. It might look bright and breezy, but it’s dark and dank. Everything a visitor shows interest in is noted and used later.
It’s also where porn has been creeping in for the past few years. Reports of this happening have been dismissed by the platform, especially in the past year.
The relevance of social media has been troubling me for almost two years- the need for “social media experts” and the importance placed on those KOLs- Key Opinion Leaders- and overnight social media “influencers”.
All this reminds me of why, when in the music industry, I stopped the practice of us aimlessly hiring expensive research companies to tell us what we should have already known.
It also reminds me of how and why every major music company embraced “digital marketing” overnight just to seem relevant.
Brought in to keep up with the tech companies who had hijacked our relevance were armies of “digital marketers”.
Most were from technology companies who had zero knowledge of music or, well, marketing. But they knew the buzzwords needed to bamboozle those at the top and became untouchables. This was until the novelty of these hires very quickly ran its course.
How and why and when did things change where EVERY business today needs to be on every online platform?
What’s the strategy? Where’s the beef? And who are these hires?
What do they bring to the table that’s truly relevant other than a nice smile and the ability to be agreeable to anything?
Knowing that my current tenure on social media was coming to an end or might have even ended, I have remembered to exhale. When banging away on my computer and lost in the excitement of my thoughts, a now ex would always remind me to breathe.
I am learning to breathe- properly- all over again. I feel more relaxed and even want to dance with the sugarplum fairies.
I have more time to THINK things through, write, read, create music and keep learning, especially about the human condition.
When I go out these days, it’s with my phone off. I enjoy my meals without the urge to photograph them, and share these online. My time is with whoever I am with and nothing else.
I am more selective about who I spend quality time and am becoming more productive...but by working on projects I believe in and not to follow whatever might be “trending”.
Personally, I think this neediness to be part of what’s “trending” and mention algorithms and analytics is what has crippled and devalued the purity and natural flow of music.
Music has never ever been an exact science. It’s not something that’s push button formulaic doodling that nearly anyone can do.
Right now, music is going nowhere. “Streams” are hardly going to make anyone rich except for Taylor Swift and a handful of others major artists.
Unless owning deep back catalogues by major artists or big labels like Motown, Island, Interscope, Def Jam etc and dumping these onto a music streaming site for hundreds of millions of dollars, there’s nothing else of value in Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. That cupboard has been bare and bankrupt for years.
More importantly, it’s about not being emotionally bankrupt and bereft of real feelings.
Getting back to the real world is long overdue.
Live a little. Love a lot. Enjoy life. Be choosy in every aspect of life. Less is more.
Kung Hei Fat Choy and make The Lunar New Year a, yes, roaring success.