Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Social media is turning into your dad

March 30th, 2010 · 10 Comments · Social Media

Do you remember when you knew everything in your glorious teenage years? Do you remember how you despaired of your parents and then as the years passed (you mightn’t be there yet) you started to turn into your parents? :-)

Aside: My 5 (nearly 6) year old already refers to me as his “old man” – it’s very depressing.

Well I think social media has passed through the teenage years and is now getting a little flabby. 

Let me explain.

When “social media” first appeared (before it was called social media) it was all about the conversation, it was about connecting with people and it was about authentic communication.  That last one was my personal favorite.  We were going to move away from corporate-speak and instead write for people.  I love this.

However, the emergence of all our beloved social media gurus has stymied our progress.

You see there’s a lot of blog posts to write, a lot of tweets to tweet and let’s be honest limited content.  You can only talk about conversations, connections and authenticity so many times before you become repetitive or worse bore yourself.

So what do you do?

Well you do what marketers have done since the 1950s. You invent all these silly little words that mean nothing and you also overuse superlatives.

In effect, our social media gurus have left the world of plain speaking and morphed into the same old habits they decried five years ago.

I read a post this morning from a very fine man, who does a fantastic job evangelizing the importance of social media and after reading it three times I still couldn’t quite believe or understand what he was writing:

  • attention economy
  • social objects
  • human network
  • social exchange

What a load of rubbish (or trash).

Stay away from the light social media gurus.  Turn back.  Remember the old days (oh 3-4 years ago) when you railed against corporate-speak. Turn back.  Rediscover your roots.

Stop inventing silly words and trying to add science where it does not belong.

You remind me of my dad.


10 Comments so far ↓

  • edwardclaessens

    @tpemurphy poor dads :-) but the rationale makes sense…

  • tpemurphy

    Blog: Social media is turning into your dad

  • tpemurphy

    @edwardclaessens we are always to blame :-)

  • Murphy lays down the Law: Social Media Gurus are like my dad | SoMaFusion

    […] Tom Murphy wrote on how the wide-eyed enthusiasm of the first days of social media is slowly turning into a one-size fits all box with big words and no new stuff to light a spark. In effect, our social media gurus have left the world of plain speaking and morphed into the same old habits they decried five years ago. […]

  • Mike

    Ding Ding Ding….someone finally said what I’ve been thinking. Agree….while there are a lot of people doing a lot of smart things in this arena, I come across far too many “evangelists” who spend far more time talking about such things in a language no one can understand….than they do actually “doing it” in a meaningful way.

  • Tom Murphy

    Thanks Mike I agree (obviously). People need to step outside into the real world every so often :-)


  • Simon Palmer

    Your spot on Tom, some people need to sit down and have a word with themselves. I’m a firm backer of the plain English campaign.

  • Eric Schleicher

    You can’t hault the progress of technology and how it is impacting how we Marketing and in turn run our PR campaigns. blogging, tweeting, facebooking, etc. is the most economical and quicest way to reach millions of people (future customers) in a matter of minutes. Lets think about how a company spreads a message or a new product….press release, right? Well lets think about how an editor of the New York Times, Washington Post, or any of the big dogs receives hundreds of releases every day! Should we just cross our fingers in hope that they will give us the publicity we want? No, technology has given us the power to spread our own publicity. We must accept this and take full advantage of it!

  • zeainana

    Hilarious post. Made me think about how difficult is to define the new rules and processes of not just a new way of communication but also a new way to understand the relevance of the information. The clue, as you explain, “you can only talk about conversations, connections and authenticity”. All those gurus are just doing an attempt to define a new paradigm that includes so many variables based on the network, not in the content… probably is still very soon to make social media become a dad.

  • Tom Murphy

    Thanks Simon – me too!

    Eric: Given my current employer I think we can take it for granted I am a big advocate of the power of technology :-) However, it should be used smartly. While I agree these tools are effective and deliver great opportunties, face to face communication is still the most effective. Building real relationships still remains a core requirement.

    Zeainana: Thanks for your comment – glad it made you smile! Yes social media is still growing and changing!


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