Today Is National Hamburger Day. Tweet It Twice.

I have never been a fan of anonymous content. I rarely point to it. But today is a new day. The latest in Digiday’s series of anonymous reports from inside the agency business—Confessions of a social media strategist—is worth a careful read.

The anonymous writer works at one of “the leading digital agencies in New York.” The critic claims that social departments place too much value on engagement, and “the other abhorrent trend has been the pathetic attempt by brands to ‘keep relevant’.”

Here’s a selection of random Tweets that fit the writer’s definition of over-emphasis on the trivial.

By the way, today is National Hamburger Day.

I believe there is merit to the complaints about over reliance on false metrics. However, I know how deafening the silence can be in social channels, and what it feels like to wonder if anyone is out there listening. The answer is yes, someone is out there listening. Maybe a friend, maybe not.

In brand communications terms, the goal is to make genuine connections with real customers and prospects, in person and again via interactive media. When there are no “Likes,” and no comments, it sure seems like there is no interest. That’s the human response, but is it true from a marcom perspective?

You tell me.

The anonymous writer working at “one of the leading digital agencies in New York” wonders if he/she has wasted the last four years of life by working in social media. I’ve been working in #SMM for much longer, so if it is wasted time producing meaningless ephemera, that would truly suck.

My read is engagement is primarily a feel good metric. Naturally, we all enjoy feel good metrics when they work in our favor. That’s why people obsess over follower counts and game the system by purchasing followers. Follower counts are feel good metrics that you can wear as a badge.

In related news, Todd Wasserman of Mashable notes:

These are weird times for the advertising world. TV is still where the money is, but the creative momentum has shifted to digital to the point where no one cares about your $100 million spend anymore, though they’re fascinated about the gratis thing you’re doing on Snapchat.

I am unclear who the people are that don’t care about TV and do care about Snapchat. Is it the clients? I’m pretty sure the clients care about all the money they spend. Is it the creatives? I’m pretty sure they care about making TV. It must be the consumers of branded media that no longer care about TV spots, because they’re busy sending pics that disappear on Snapchat. Maybe no one cares.

Okay, can we reasonably conclude that social media marketing needs to be improved? I think so. Just as all marketing needs to be improved.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.