Social Media is a Wasteland, Corporate Edition

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 7/03/2014 11:07:00 AM
Will Facebook and Twitter "save" America? you must be joking.
You may say it's rich for someone with an online-only presence to say that "the Internet doesn't matter," but even the somewhat more qualified "...but social media does" doesn't say much. To demonstrate the futility of the Internet in generating economic growth, much less any sustained prosperity, we can always resort to that poster country for downward mobility, the United States. Having gone nowhere since the turn of the millennium, it's easy to debunk triumphalist claims that the Internet "changed everything." Ever-so-delusional Americans seem to gradually grasp the obvious that future generations will be worse off than they are as median household incomes fall year in and year out. Isn't the new economy reviving America? We can now use its laughable ineptitude to disprove the even hoarier idea that social media matters. Hype aside, how do Yanks really view it?
When many companies joined Facebook in the late 2000s, they used it as another brand website where they provided links, contact information and monitored consumer gripes. Then, they got caught up in the numbers game, trying to rack up raw masses of fans and followers, believing they were building a solid marketing channel. But that often wasn't the case. Social media are not the powerful and persuasive marketing force many companies hoped they would be," concludes Gallup Inc., which on Monday is releasing a report that examines the subject
How lame is social media? In their poll, Gallup [summary here] found that nearly two-thirds of consumers didn't consult social media while making purchases.
Gallup says 62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions. Another 30% said it had some influence. U.S. companies spent $5.1 billion on social-media advertising in 2013, but Gallup says "consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content." (Gallup's survey was conducted via the Web and mail from December 2012 to January 2013. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.)
The story is largely the same worldwide. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, QR codes...pretty much useless and not taken seriously:
In a study last year, Nielsen Holdings NV found that global consumers trusted ads on television, print, radio, billboards and movie trailers more than social-media ads. Gallup says brands assumed incorrectly that consumers would welcome them into their social lives. Then they delivered a hard sell that turned off many people.
To have spent so much on social media to discover that, gee, people put more stock in old media is pretty pathetic. Social media reflects its inventors, the Americans--much hype, little substance. (No wonder the  Obama likes it so much.) Don't get me wrong: the Internet in general and social media in particular is great for wasting time and writing about how globalization is subprime--which it really is. But for more serious endeavors--like raising productivity--it is seriously lacking.