I’m becoming less social. This doesn’t mean that I’m withdrawing from friendships and relationships. Something else is happening.
I am less engaged on social media. Facebook reminds me that “lots has happened” since I last logged in. LinkedIn tells me about all of the people who have viewed my profile. Twitter keeps suggesting people for me to follow. I’m asked to share my Snapchat and Instagram accounts, so people can connect with me there. I don’t have either one.
It’s not the Experian hack, the Facebook data breach, phishing scams or bots that have driven the decline in my engagement. I once found value in seeing what friends are posting on Facebook, where they are “checking in” on Four Square (does it still exist?), or what news they share on Twitter. However, I’m beginning to find that there is more value in sharing one-to-one with friends and family, reading non-curated news in a newspaper (print or digital), or, as a former intern said, getting “heads up” and out of the screen.
I may not be in the majority but I am not an anomaly. In fact, in 2017, Facebook lost around 2.8 million users under the age of 25. And that’s before the 2018 data scandal with Cambridge Analytica made headlines. People of all ages are reconsidering their use of social media. A 31-year old friend has deleted his Facebook account. Another millennial I know studiously avoids most social media. And there is our former intern who says that the biggest issue he saw was that people spent too much time with their devices and not enough time with people.
As I consider this, I realize that much of our business as advertisers is driven by social media, data, engagement and click throughs. It’s a marketer’s dream. We can deliver the right message, often customized, to the right person at the right time. We can measure how they respond and what actions they do or don’t take. But if people take more of their lives offline and shield themselves as best they can from digital intrusions, then we as marketers must come up with new strategies to achieve success.
I don’t have all the answers, and I may be extrapolating too much given the moment we are in. However, there will be something in the future that displaces or disrupts social media as we know it and it will certainly affect our business. It’s something to think about. If I was more socially active, I might post about it on Twitter to see what kind of responses people would give. But maybe one of you will do that to kick the conversation off instead. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
April 17, 2018
Written by Jeff Chesebro
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