The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Societies Going Back To The Future More Than Michael J Fox …
June 23, 2009, 6:03 am
Filed under: Comment

I know at 39, I could be regarded as a techno luddite – and whilst I know I am not up to date with all the comings and goings of life – I’m not dead yet, and when you compare me to people like Andy, I’m positively Steve Jobsesque.

Anyway the reason I say this is because I’ve found myself in a couple of situations where I’ve heard some very young digital gurus go on and on about the power of social networking.

Like most people in this field – they were extremely smart, had a very strong and relevant viewpoint and a generally good grasp of what is going on in the heads of the people that regard digital as ‘life support’ – however the bit they seemed to fail to grasp is that social networking is not a new phenomenon, it’s just one that technology has aided in its execution.

As much as I prefer face-to-face conversations, I cannot deny there are many social network sites and tools that have seemingly seamlessly integrated themselves into my life. To be honest, that shows how screwed up my life is rather than how techno connected I am – but all the same, there are elements within the current social networking hype that I have to admit has genuinely enhanced my life.

Do I think it is all good news?

Of course not, I still think Twitter is more about over-sharing and ego, just like I also believe – as I wrote here – that there are some potentially serious social ramifications in an over-reliance on technology based networking, but for all that, there’s a lot of good, great and excellent stuff that is going on, even if as a by-product, it is also adding a huge new layer of clutter and interruption.

So is the World better with all this advancement?

Yeah, probably … but we managed to live pretty well in the dark ol’ days pre-internet … and you could argue that society was maybe overall happier, but to be fair, that has sod all to do with technology and more to do with where the World and Government policies are at the moment.

But it’s the ‘dark ol’ days’ bit that I want to comment on.

As I said, over the last few weeks I’ve met some digital guru’s who regard social networking like it is the greatest gift to the planet since electricity [or Jerry Springer] but like I said at the Music Matters conference recently, social networking is not a new phenomenon, it’s just technology has made it easier to execute.

Hell, I live in a region where ‘networks’ have been keeping individuals World’s turning for thousands of years.

This is a place where ‘who you know’ is the currency of life. Of course technology has made that much easier to do now, but it’s not a new concept.

And my argument to the record companies was that they should stop looking at social networks as something bad for their business because not only will they be here to stay, but because ultimately they’ve been trading in this field for decades.

As most people know, I am a bit of a Queen fan.

I used to collect EVERYTHING to do with Freddie and the boys … from albums to t-shirts to concerts and everything inbetween.

Over the years – and thanks to their fan club – I was able to make contact with many sad fuckers like me and we would share information, thoughts, ideas as fast as our little pens would allow us to write them.

And then when you saw them live … OH MY GOD.

100,000 people crammed into a stadium, united by a common focus, feeling excited that for the next 7200 seconds, they’re going to be in the same ‘room’ as their heroes … breathing the same air, hearing the same noises, sharing the same moments.

As you waited for them to come on stage, you’d talk to the people around you … you’d give knowing nods to the guys wearing shirts that proved they’d seen the band on much earlier tours or in different countries … you’d swap stories and hear bits of information that would make you want to hear songs all over again … THAT IS ALSO SOCIAL NETWORKING and not a computer in sight.

I’ve written before that one of the problems I’ve always had with my industry is that in a bid for cred, they jump onto every ‘new thing’ and declare it the future of communication, business and life.

In many cases, like social networking, it’s not new – it’s just an evolution of an old and established system/process and even then it doesn’t mean everything else is redundant, because as much as some people like to claim otherwise, in terms of communication and advertising there is no one medium that can do it all, at least not till SKYNET launch their social network ad tool.

16 Comments so far
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Good to see that rather than jumping into new things, you stay loyal to old irrelevant bands.

Comment by John

Great post with great points. There seems to be a trend to repackage established views and present them as being completely new or the next big thing. What annoys me is that too few people call them out as you have done in this post. Of course some commentators offer real evolutionary thoughts on an established theme but I am over those articles that claim revolutionary thinking when it is basically common sense wrapped up in the language of web 2.0.

There seems to be a lot of “thinkers” who have adopted Hollywood’s current business model, remake, remake, remake, then I guess that’s what marketing is all about, LOL.

So are you going to do something about it Rob or just leave it to TED? 🙂

Comment by Pete

Guanxi at the speed of light?

Comment by Charles

This is a very apt post for me Robert, well written and well said.

Comment by Lee Hill

Nice post. I’ve been getting my head into network theory a lot recently and I’m surprised how little people know about it in social media circles

Comment by carlmoggy

Great post.

I’m starting to get a little annoyed by the amount of hype people are creating online about social media especially because all these self-proclaimed “experts” who are either…

a.) digital strategists with no understanding or care for the overarching brand work that it should ladder back up to

b.) fucking grads with zero real world experience

They all bang-on like social media is going to be the ONLY way forward in the future. “Death of traditional media, death of tv commercials, death of tv shows, death of hollywood, death of film, death of books, death of DM, death death die die end end social media is the future!”

Really, it’s another communications channel for us to think about using if it’s right for the client… that’s it! And as you rightly say it’s not new or as particularly exciting as everyone is making it out to be.

BAH! Over it. Whatever…

Comment by Age

You’ll be saying people could communicate before the iPhone S next.

Good post Robert but its worth remembering there are many benefits that can come from a brand / individual evolving a pre-existing idea, but its when they show they know the real reasons behind behavioral habits that leads to the strongest evolutionary leaps.

Social networking may not be new, but how people can now execute it is.

Comment by Bazza

I’ve been checking this blog out for a long time but this is my first comment.
Good on you for saying what I’ve been thinking for a long time.
The things some “experts” say about social networking shows they need to get a social life before they start talking about it. Keep up the great blog.

Comment by Dean Whitt

And then Paul Rodgers appears and you remember it’s not 1985 anymore.

Shame really.


Comment by Rob Mortimer

what age said.

Comment by lauren

Re: Age

I agree. There seems to be a problem that, because you have to think differently with (big quotes) social media, you get people reading waay too much into its ability to bypass tv and so on.

No one has ever said tv is dead without having a financial or employment reason to.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Didn’t the oldest profession start social networks? Guess that means the “experts” are the modern day pimps. LOL.

Comment by Jemma King

Fish where the fish are, not where they might be.

Comment by John

why the fuck didnt you write this before i went. im surrounded by fucks who all think theyre part of the brave new world when all theyre doing is the same as everyone else did 20 years ago except on this thing called the fucking internet. you should see the wankers drop their fucking panties when we pull out a google card. they make billy look fucking reserved.

jemma. thats the fucking smartest comment any of the tossers have written on this post. except this. careful or theyll be calling you a fucking planner next.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think John’s last comment is better suited to todays post. LOL.

Comment by Pete

Oooooh I like Age’s anger – that’s very exciting.

And Baz, you know exactly the sort of person I’m talking about – it’s certainly not people who evolve an established viewpoint through their intimate understanding of factors behind behaviour and useage. Stop being Andy. 🙂

Comment by Rob

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