Sunday, April 20, 2014

Canned Popularity

It's a common practice and one that has been handed down through the annals of time – adding canned laughs and applause to sitcoms and game shows. Somehow we're conditioned to think it's easier to laugh at jokes when you hear others laughing, to learn the proper times to laugh (and not make a fool of yourself by laughing at the wrong times). Most of us grew up with these types of prompts.

It seems only natural, I suppose, to see the practice of self-generating prompts evolving today into business causes. Yes, I'm talking about people paying for "likes" in today's social media platforms, so others can see how popular their thread is (theoretically) so others will feel better about liking it themselves. And then (theoretically) the post will get more interaction and your group or company will attain more social media success. But over the past while folks have found their pages not as popular as they once were... for a number of reasons but basically because social media has calmed over the past while.

Up pops opportunistic companies offering illegal likes for a price, most coming from companies that garner likes from third world countries. (The so-called legal way to up your like count is to pay FB to advertise your page.) And they do deliver, evidently. Except a lot of these likes, both legal and otherwise, appear to be fake likes. Just like canned applause and shallow laughter but without the expected uptake.

When social media first hit the scene businesses and interest groups were sold the bill of goods that posts, and pages weren't just a complement to their marketing communications budgets but a cheap replacement. And a lot of them bought in.

Engagement is a natural thing in business and businesses involved in social media; based on keeping in touch, developing rapport, updating and maintaining contact with their present and potential client base. Social media is not supposed to be focused on revenue generation. And those that try to convince otherwise are playing you.


  1. I went to a lecture a few months ago where I was told social media is replacing tried and true methods of fundraising and personal contact. They also want me to do automated emails to people for the "personal touch", but I think everyone knows what automated is and it's not personal at all. They just want to make money lecturing and skimming off everyone else. Social media takes a lot of time to do right, but that isn't the current business model. I wish people would just talk to each other sometimes!

    1. Definitely. It's not about the numbers, it's about the quality... :)