It’s staggering. I review more than 550 Twitter feeds and another 500 Facebook posts a day. I scan literally scores of e-newsletters, newspapers, and magazines as well. My sons accuse me of having more FB posts than a teenage girl. Why do I do this? It’s my business—creating and curating content for CMOs and communications executives with resources that inform their decisions about how to communicate with their customers, filtering and disseminating as best I can, then barfing back what I think will be helpful, enlightening, insightful, and fun.
What I have found along the way is a digital space populated with a googolplex of unadulterated info-crap. Honestly, every third tweet or Facebook post is either a veiled attempt to sell me something, a lame trick to suck some datapoint from my private life, or a bloviating, gasbag theory about the next big trend from some backyard nobody named Allen or Alicia. Latest and best example: a supercilious pronouncement from WigiSocial that 77 percent of B2C businesses have acquired at least one new customer from Facebook. Where’s Lewis Black when you need him?
Another third of the entries are from a somebody making a meaty living off our digital uncertainties. They evangelize from established soapboxes, leading their K’s of followers by the nose through every imaginable cyber iteration. Mostly wastelanders, they live and prosper by predicting all manner of apocalypse and deracination. Trap-shooters extraordinaire, they shout “pull” and proceed to blast to smithereens the clay pigeons of marketing, traditional media, or the latest bright, shiny object in technology heading for obsolescence. They’ve made an industry out of placing themselves far forward on the digital curve, trippy Pied Pipers luring us down every cwazy wabbit hole they can dig.
The latest example is a blog by digital shaman Brian Solis, a proclamation that content is no longer king. Yes, folks, context is the new monarch of messaging, derived from that new resident of digital Olympus: DATA. The idea here is that Facebook can now gather sufficient personal data on you to offset any need for content to capture and sustain your attention.
The fatal flaw? Congressional legislation will likely limit the ability of FB and other data-driven businesses to gather and use personal data for commercial purposes. Even if the titans of data-gathering technology spend enough dough to lobby their way to a watered-down version of a privacy protection law, the statistics still speak for themselves. Seven of 10 consumers do not want businesses to have access to their personal behaviors and interests.
I just can’t see the day coming—ever—when people will willingly sublimate the freedom of accessing content when and where they like, to becoming pawns of data gatherers and social media Peeping Toms. If, God forbid, that day does come, that my friends really will be bull***t.