We are the machine.

Let’s face it, 98% of the information we’re exposed to on a daily basis isn’t worth caring about for more than an minute or two, or frankly, at all. A great deal of this should really be filed under “who gives a sh*t?”, but isn’t.

Don’t believe me? Sign off all of your social networks for 6 hours in the middle of the day, and catch up on the news at one set point, like we used to (read the paper, watch the evening news, i’ll even allow you to use Google Reader here). See how many things that you “missed” actually matter to your in your daily lives.

The openness of the Internet allows everyone to have a voice, but it’s just that that is turning the Internet to a haven for human machines – humans can’t possibly decipher all of the information being presented, but we’re being set up as a node to process it all. Why? Because we believe our peers more than we do computers, or marketing campaigns. It’s still an undeniable fact – the human machines talk to each other in a language prone to emotion, interjection and miscommunication.

The “real-time” factor of information gives it more weight – it’s the eternal breaking news, things without resolution that make our obsession with getting the story, making the first post, and sharing without thought that’s making Facebook overtake Google. Google was computing machines with finite limits and defined ways to calculate. Facebook is human machines interacting with each other in less controllable ways.

Social Media professionals need to understand this. Let’s be realistic – Social Media is the next generation of SEO. The only difference is that instead of a set algorithm that we can understand and tweak our content for, we have to consider the fickleness of personalities and how our content is written appropriately to appeal to small groups of people, who will then champion this information for broader appeal. This is the science of “trending topics”, “recommended on Facebook”, and how Social Media Marketers really need to be thinking about their jobs. But, do these topics have any lasting value? I’d argue they build brand affinity, yes, but to return to the earlier point, only for things that matter to us.

Being a part of the other 2% is really what social media strategies should be aiming for. You need to be part of the authorities people come to for news, entertainment and novelty. The real conversion metric is “How much does your brand matter?”.

Because, if this social media movement is to continue, people will need to give a sh*t. If people don’t care, social media doesn’t exist.

2 thoughts on “We are the machine.

  1. Not totally sure I follow this. I’m not an SEO pro, but I don’t think the algorithm has ever achieved anything quite like stability. In fact, it seems like Google has constantly shifted that algorithm, drawing it ever more asymptotically closer to a simulation of actual humanness. I mean, isn’t that Google’s drive? To render SEO indistinguishable from ordinary human communication? Immediacy or “real time-ness” is important, of course, but I don’t think either it or the challenges of SEO impose any novel constraints on brands, causes, movements, or individuals, seeking to “matter” to people. Stuff has always mattered to us. People have always given a sh*t about stuff. The task for Social Media pros is the same as it’s always been: Tell a compelling story about why your thing matters, and it will eventually matter.

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