There are a couple of things I observe weekly online that make me wonder: Does everybody really buy into this type of messaging? Does everybody really believe what they see and hear online without questioning it? Let me expand on what I am referring to and also, why, if you don’t take time to question what you see and read online, you might do so moving forward.
The few things are: messages that sensationalize things as if they’re already a trend, when they really aren’t; and talking to someone not with someone, so basically lecturing them, as if they had a really low level of comprehension.
A perfect example of sensationalization messaging is how rumor has it that screenshots are the new Snapchat likes. This one really gets a giggle out of me. Don’t get me wrong, the more people are saying this, the more it will become true. But nowhere in Snapchat’s creation were screenshots meant to equal likes; Snapchat is not Facebook, it doesn’t have a like button. But it’s interesting how more and more people are spreading the word as if this were a fact nobody else knew, when in reality it’s not a fact, it’s a behavior that is being instilled on people who are onboarding Snapchat, most likely for businesses and marketers since they are the ones who use social as a means to an end and not just to socialize with friends, family and the world.
Don’t get me wrong, not all marketers and entrepreneurs use social only to sell. There are plenty who believe in social and love it for its relationship building characteristic. However, a good portion of them use it strategically from the very beginning for the sole purpose of increasing sales. Is it wrong? No, but the difference between online marketing and traditional marketing has always been the relationship building factor. You don’t sell on social, you offer value and understanding and care and within the mix you include what you can provide to your community to help solve a problem or need. And a small FYI, people leave or diminish their use on social channels and look for new ones to stop getting harassed by marketers and businesses. They are not interested in being sold to, they are interested in communicating and engaging with people online. And if they don’t leave, like they tune out TV and radio ads, they tune out social ads. I personally do it every day, just skip right over them, it’s like an automatic reflex.
For the second point: talking to and not with. This one really gets to me. It gets to me because ultimately it feels as if the person who is talking to me thinks I don’t understand. And even if that is not their intention, that’s exactly how it feels and it definitely doesn’t make me want to listen to them. I will add, I am not the only marketer or human being that has this feeling. I’ve asked colleagues and have read articles that talk about this aspect. Although I’m only one tiny person in this vast world, and even if I wanted to add up all the colleagues and influencers or industry experts I’ve come across that feel the same way I do, we wouldn’t add up to a significant percentage of the human population; I am still inclined to think most people who can read, hold a job and live their day to day life, feel the same way.
Also, if these individuals who talk to people would take the time to learn a little psychology 101 and human behavior 101, they would realize that people don’t like to feel like they’re dumb. They don’t like to be talked to, they like to be treated as peers and made to feel that they belong to a group, to a group that cares about them, not the opposite.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who are looking online for basic information and who don’t even notice the talking to component. Maybe they actually prefer to be told what to do as if they were a 4-year old; but at some point those individuals will have understood the basics and will move on to wanting to continue to learn in a setting that makes them feel as if they’re a part of it, a part of it that understands the value and logic behind what is being shared.
Granted, we each hold expertise in one area or another, but there are ways to teach someone without talking to them. Using your words and composing inclusive sentences, relating to the community you’re talking to instead of talking to them as a separate entity from yourself and a group of people that don’t know what you’re talking about.
I’m not sure if it’s only entrepreneurs and marketers that talk like this or take this approach, but since those are the people’s content that crosses my path, I know for sure they use this approach; and I can only hope that they take the time to reflect on their methods. As for the reader, I hope they come across entrepreneurs and marketers who talk with them so that they can see and feel the difference. I guarantee there will be a shift in who’s message they will want to follow and it won’t be the one where they are being talked to.
In regards to sensationalization messaging, well, that’s a marketing tactic and something that has existed forever and ever or since mass consumerism took place. On this point, all I can say, we as humans on the planet decide what becomes a trend and true. We define the world we live in and we steer it in a specific direction. Don’t let others tell you what is true or not, or at least if you are going to let this happen, keep your feelings in mind and keep in mind that trends are born from us. Without our support no company or tool or system would come into existence. It is thanks to our vision and actions that things come to be.
So tell me, what do you think about people taking everything they read online as true from the get-go and how do you feel about people talking to you and not with you?