Today AdAge published a piece I wrote about how there's no more social media, just advertising.
And there's a bit more to the story as I cut out a few paragraphs before submitting it that compared some of the first company posts when Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat launched (and then launched advertising). I felt what I wrote started getting too in the weeds (and somewhat off a tangent)--but it's worth mentioning here. It was fascinating to see how these social networks' seemingly pure ideals "evolved' over the course of time (when under pressure to make $).
Here's what I edited out...
When Twitter first launched in 2006, Biz Stone described it as, “a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS.” Twitter was always careful not to compromise its roots as it grew. Even when it launched advertising in 2010 it maintained, “we’ve resisted introducing a traditional Web advertising model because we wanted to optimize for value before profit.” Unfortunately when a company goes public, the rallying cry of “increase shareholder value” gets drilled into the very bowels of the organization – Compromises are made. Dick Costello said last week that ideally ads will “make up about one in 20 tweets that the average user sees.” And that means a lot more amplified 140 character desperate witticisms from brands.
When Facebook opened up to everyone in 2006, the social network reinforced that, “we want to help people understand their world.” And when it launched Facebook Ads a year later, it said that, “Ads will be getting more relevant and more interesting to you.” But what is interesting about a glorified banner ad? That’s pretty much what brand’s Facebook posts have become. Posting an ad-like object onto a social network isn’t exactly social media marketing. And with organic reach in the crapper, brands are shelling out more and more media dollars to ensure their networks see their, um, “content.”
Snapchat is arguably the darling of social media platforms, right now. When it first hit the App Store in September of 2011, its vision was, “about communicating with the full range of human emotion.” Being the newest kid on the block, you’d think its foray into advertising would be more than old school spray and pray. Except it’s not. Brands who pay $750,000 get to deliver their untargeted ad to the network’s 100+ million users and hope they hold down their fingers. And when Snapchat launched Discover last month? It was quick to point out that “This is not social media.”
My point in writing the AdAge post wasn't to be bleak but instead to say that there is still time, hope, and promise for brands to prioritize servicing over advertising -- and that both can coexist.