WHO STOLE SOCIAL MEDIA'S SOUL? / by Sophie Amono

Having started my career pre social media's complete digital domination I'm fortunate enough to recall the innovation and obsession it created as a new and creative platform for human interaction.

In a paradox akin to that of the TARDIS it made our world seem much larger and connected while simultaneously making it feel very unconnected and minute. It was an interesting psychological & societal phenomenon. One that perplexed yet intrigued, the anti-social media brigade soon joined the bandwagon and it wasn't long before the absence of a brand on social media would have the nearest marketeer wailing onto their newly forged content plans.

Fast forward a decade and it's all become a little... well soulless really.

"lacking or suggesting the lack of human feelings and qualities."

soulless ˈsəʊllɪs/

adjective: soulless; adjective: soul-less

(especially of a place) lacking character and individuality."she found the apartment beautiful but soulless"

synonyms:characterless,

featureless, bland,dullcolourlessdrearydrabuninspiring,unremarkableunexceptional,undistinguishedunmemorablegrey,anaemicinsipid; More ordinarymundane,commonplaceaveragemediocrerun-of-the-mill

"the team quickly attempted to stamp its personality on the soulless office space"

(of an activity) tedious and uninspiring."soulless, non-productive work"

synonyms: boringdull, deadly dull, tedious,drearyroutinehumdrumho-humtiresome,wearisomeuninterestinguninspiring,unexcitingsoul-destroyingmind-numbing,lifelessdry; More monotonousunvarying,repetitiverepetitiousmechanical

"it was soulless, non-productive work"

antonyms: exciting

Care to disagree? How many posts have you skipped past today? On a good day I probably engage with 10% of the social media content that comes my way, now of course considering I work in marketing that's to be expected but what isn't is that this 10% doesn't come from following a random splattering of pages in the hope something mildly interesting arrests my attentions - I only follow people I know, respect as a brand or find informative/entertaining, so you'd expect that percentage to be higher.

In fact I find myself coming across the same content just different brand colours, logos, fonts yada, yada, yada. It's all the same. No personality just mass uniformity.

So while social media spend is ever increasing;

(Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past 2 years—going from $16 billion U.S. in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016).

It's soul is disappearing at an even faster rate and to those of us indebted to social media for cementing their love for digital creativity it's a sad moment. The artists are screaming offline, offline, offline while the briefs all demand online, online, online and somewhere in the middle is every agencies favourite phrase... the integrated marketing campaign.

Throw enough mud and some will stick right? Well wrong. Consumers have so much choice nowadays that we're firmly cemented in the age of the paradox of choice (if you haven't already please read psychologist Barry Schwartz's 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less) that they are actively seeking just enough social media professionalism from brands to know you're still the brand they know and love but with the depth of being that comes from sporadicity.

As Gillian Wearing's 1996 piece 60 Minutes Silence showed even the most uniformed environments and structured scenarios naturally contain individual intricacies that make sporadicity a most attractive and endearing quality - a quality that increases my 10%, that kicks back against the paradox of choice and ultimately puts the soul back into social media.

For more details on how to achieve the right level of sporadicity for your brand look out for the top 5 sTUFFs you can do this week.