A plea: don’t turn digital into a game of bullshit bingo

So first of all, I read this article, and thought “wow, you’re an idiot”. It’s a few days later now, and I still don’t understand why flat structures and direct access to the CEO means digital agencies can’t lead, and are somehow inferior to traditional agencies.

I thought we all decided that there wasn’t much of a difference any more anyway.

But then I read The Ad Contrarian, who seemed real angry about a bunch of stuff, but principally how much toss digital agencies seem to speak, and then I got to thinking that, in all fairness, if someone came to me and said “Building a conversation strategy will allow us to visually see our complete marketing ecosystem” I’d end up being pretty angry about it too, although possibly less witty with my responses.

And then I saw this great YouTube video that reminded me of a few consultants I’ve met over

And then I realised why Ad Contrarian was so angry, because so many people pertaining to be “digital experts” talk such an amazing amount of absolute rubbish that quite literally anyone could say. And expect kudos for saying it.
This isn’t good for the digital industry, because crap like that gives food to the people who want to claim it’s not mature, it’s not business focussed, it’s not capable of delivering proper results. I don’t want to talk about visually seeing anything, but what I would like to comment on is one of the comments made by Tom Wanek at the bottom of another Ad Contrarian article:

I’m alarmed at the number of small business owners who struggle with foundational marketing principles. For example, the idea of speaking to the customer’s felt need is a foreign concept to most. Social media won’t help if your message is irrelevant. Now here’s another point to consider: With so much of social media being irrelevant noise, it’s becoming much more difficult to cut through the clutter, making it more critical than ever that marketers learn to communicate clearly and with power

Tom, social media (digital, the internet, whatever) isn’t meant to broadcast irrelevant messages. It’s meant to help you find what message is relevant. That’s what people mean when they talk about the power of conversation – it allows you to have individual, customised, one-to-one relationships with your consumers. Which means a two-way relationship, and not just thinking in terms of broadcasting messages to your consumer. Two-way conversations mean you listen as well as speak.

Digital continues to have a huge impact upon business. In many ways it completely changes the nature of how businesses communicate, and this is principally because it forces business communication to be more human. Humans communicate through conversation, through two-way dialogue and through ideas of honesty and trust. Sorry to sound all naive and hippy-like there, but it’s true, and it’s what business needs to learn. All these “social media fail” stories? They’re businesses breaking bonds of trust and honesty, and being outed in a very public arena for being shitsticks.

This is the power of digital. Not “First, by socializing all media, the engagement experience is cyclical and ongoing. Second, by identifying conversation groups (social graphs) and tapping directly into them and then connecting them together, the long tail of niche market segments become your mass or ‘mainstream’ media play.”

That’s just bullshit bingo, and the more we speak like that, the harder it is to convince the doubters that we have anything interesting or relevant to say. So please, can we stop?