"Time is Money." Well, not always (time with your loved ones isn't) -- but time is precious, I think we'd all agree.
Sadly of late we seem to have been seduced, by inadvertently pressing the "stimulus button" in certain brain circuits in our noggins, into acting like time is no longer precious, not at work and sometimes not even at home. Certainly most of us seem to be acting like time isn't as valuable as it was just a few years ago, pre-Twitter and the rest.
"Follower Counts," "Likes," "Retweets," "Posts," "Links," "#HashtagUpThe Wazoo." What did we used to do in the office with the time that so many of us now 'devote' to the constant stream of distraction (your employees call it "on the job work-related social connecting...") that we can access any time on our devices?
I have a strong conviction, based upon a lifetime of study into human nature, brain research and motivational psychology, that humans are where they are, PAST the verge of being the next 'great extinction' force on Mother Earth, due to one accident of evolution, and Twitter proves it (along with the social media "etc. list"). That predilection we all suffer from is an irresistible desire to repeat things that, at relatively low cost, give our brains a little boost. (Now think about what the not-so-nice word for that tendency is...) Lately all of us have been lowering our faces into 'Social Media' and Candy Crush Saga on our always-on devices, getting one little boost after another.
When you hear someone says something like "Nowadays I really measure my value to my employer, and my worth as a marketer, by my social engagement analytics, such as how many followers I have, how many people have liked my professional pages/posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, and how often my tweets are re-tweeted," you are hearing what I would call "self-bamboozlement." We see this same self-justification in all human beings who don't want to acknowledge that they are trapped in repetitive behaviours that have often been called 'bad habits.'
Evolution pre-programmed us, over 7 million years (we've lived in settlements for .001 % of our species' evolution, just 7,000 years), to obsess over obtaining things that give us little boosts of pleasure: foodstuffs we could only find in season in certain places, sex, the warmth of a fire, tickling a baby, being dry, dancing, being social, etc. When we lived in our natural state, as nomadic tribes, we just couldn't get enough of anything to become addicted, but the secret sauce evolved in our brains, waiting for our modern 'New Normal' to let it blossom. Addiction is a deeply insidious driving force in us that now shows up all around us: 'shopaholics', gamblers, drinkers and addictions
to sex, tanning, exercise, tattooing, eating, accumulating money, porn, even to obsessive-compulsives always doing whatever pops into their brains to get that little feel-good boost.
There's a disturbing trend on LinkedIn happening today that makes me apoplectic, it's the 'Twitterfication" of LinkedIn. It is the "I WANT TO START A MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE ON LINKEDIN TO INCREASE MY EXPOSURE, SO I'M GOING TO POST..."
- "Describe the future of marketing in 140 characters."
- "In two words what does 'leadership' really mean to you?"
- "How has 'social marketing' made you a better person?"
And for those of you getting sucked into the 'engagement,' before you launch into a defensive, self-perpetuating litany of self-justification about how a healthy social media presence and participation is essential to being 'in touch' with the new digitally-connnected world today, just stop and, with your ego firmly in check, use your analytical, logical thinking to truly, honestly explain how, when you add up all the minutes of the day (6 minutes per hour is 10% of your paid work hour) you spend checking your 'social media platform' (e.g. checking emails, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, messages, voicemail, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, 'industry blogs', etc. and reading and responding/forwarding/retweeting to things that really aren't paid-work-related, versus just a few years ago when you simply worked all day at the stuff you actually do get paid for) -- explain how the majority of this obsessive distraction is actually benefiting your employer? And do so WITHOUT claiming that you found out some interesting stuff you can use to benefit the job. Yes, of course you found a tidbit or two, but are those REALLY such 'gems' that they make all the time wasted in short ego-boosts ("Ooo! Someone liked my tweet!") all day long worth it to your employer? Sorry, but I call BS. Up until a few years ago the research time you put into reading industry journals and corresponding with colleagues about issues was a fraction of what we fritter away today on so many things unrelated to our actual jobs.
What I've seen transform the marketing industry since Push Marketing fell off the precipice in the early 2000's is a desperate self-justification of self-indulgence in a brand new explosion of highly addictive ego-boosting platforms that are of little use to anyone in terms of real marketing efforts. So-called "Social Marketing" is nothing new. Nor is "Pull Marketing." These are just the same old marketing tactic of trying our best to get people to promote our brands for free by 'talking them up' with friends, family and people in the street. It used to be called Public Relations.
All that has changed is that there are more Social Media that have been added to the old Social Media, which were: talking face to face, writing letters, talking on the phone, mailing a video tape to the grandparents, etc. What has transpired is that, as the formerly ridiculously high budgets for traditional push media have begun to get challenged (no, we never had ANY ROI on TV ad spending and still don't), there has been an industry-wide self-bamboozlement to maintain the overall budget levels and shift the former TV spending into "Social Media." While it makes perfect sense to move this marketing spending into a fully demonstrable ROI effort, experiential marketing, that required TV-like budgets, but actually pays out in converting trial into loyalty, it makes NO sense to try to put Push Marketing into Pull Media (i.e. ALL Social Media) any more than it did to spend more on telemarketing or email campaigns that we know have some, but limited, effectiveness.
So the next time you hear/read someone justifying their endless, obsessive efforts to "be more popular" (i.e. "become famous") in the newest social media, do what caring people have always done with addicts: sit them down with a few other people who care about the individual for an intervention. Be frank about the way that the repetition of an activity that gives them a little boost in their brain of one or more of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin adversely effects their work, life, relationships, etc. and try to convince them to spend less time with the similarly addicted people in their life who empower them to believe their 'new normal' is actually perfectly okay (alcoholics hang out with other alcoholics). If nothing else, please try to talk them out of turning LinkedIn into a new Twitter-like platform for useless time-wasting. ;-)
Help me kill "self-bamboozlement" at the CMO level and remember that time is still money and always has been in business. Just say no to the highly addictive boosts of pleasure that come from social media distractions and focus on real work.
As for the latest news that teens spend, on average, 60% of their waking hours on digital media (from YouTube to video games, hard core pornography and all the social media), just keep in mind that we all have gullible in participating in the most frightening social experiment on children ever conducted, and we have no idea what the outcome might be. :-( If counting re-tweets is addictive for you, imagine what handing a highly addictive device to a kid with virtual 24/7 'inebriation' due to brain chemicals/hormones and a desperate need to be socially connected does. It is nothing short of criminal, yet we all reassure ourselves that it's "The New Normal," so it's perfectly okay.
Now please heart this post and tweet it to all your contacts. I'll be checking in every few minutes...
For a feel-good moment in your day, remember that TIME IS PRECIOUS and watch: Kids Don't Love Santa - They Love You.