It’s so easy to forget the core of social media. Through the trials of scheduling and editing tweet after tweet the digression into article links and rehashed sentiments is inevitable. Truthfully I’ve been guilty of this myself. Like most things in life, with time comes complacency. However lately I’ve been forced to remind myself why we do this, what our true role is within the machine of social marketing.
We do not stand alone in this space. We’re a gear in the clock, turning as our peers and comrades turn with us. We are influenced and influence with each post whether we know it or not. No matter what we’re saying, we’re adding to and consuming from the collective consciousness. The sooner we acknowledge and harness this ability the more we’ll grow both as marketers and as people. However being aware of it is just the first step. For marketers, we’ll need to grasp this concept completely in order to successfully communicate with future generations to come.
Modern collective consciousness
When you look around at the way society has developed the past few years, it’s obvious how social media has played a role in forming who we are as both individuals and as a whole. Individually, we’re aware of what everyone else is thinking and whether we know it or not this begins to influence our own thoughts and opinions. As time moves on and social media becomes more engrained in our day to day activities we become influenced by our peers on a level never seen before in the history of human development.
“Collective consciousness” is a term dating back to the late 1800’s so it’s not necessarily a new phenomena. It’s actually been observed within Sociology for many years. But we’re living in an age now where a majority of opinions are generally no longer our own but rather a subconscious collage of various status updates and retweets we’ve consumed over the years. Which brings me back to the technical definition of consciousness not specifically pertaining to moral choices but more so on a shared understanding on what’s socially acceptable on a large scale. In the past socially acceptable rhetoric varied from region to region or culture to culture. But we’re living in a globalized society now and as such, thoughts and ideas have become globalized as well.
The Idea economy
This sudden onset ubiquity has far reaching effects on a social scale. Ideas are no longer ours as bits and pieces of original content comes packaged and repackaged for years in various forms. Thought leaders become fewer as free thought becomes suppressed by the noise of billions typing fervently on blog after blog every second of every day. Think about it when was the last time a new voice developed within the marketing sphere? Where one false tweet has been known to destroy entire careers, It’s become increasingly more challenging to speak honestly within this landscape. Yes we had Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk but no new name has really popped up in the last 5 years and I believe less will as time goes on.
As thoughts depreciate in value we’ll naturally have less people spending time developing them. Content will degrade until a stasis of rehashed words contaminates the ecosystem past the point of no return. This, as I see it, is the inevitable outcome for marketing if we choose to do nothing about it. But there can be something done and it’s much more simple than you’d think.
Surviving in a wasteland of ubiquitous thought
The answer is to be present. To close your laptop and meditate for a few minutes each day. To read books over status updates, take up photography over snapchat, talk with your neighbor rather than tweeting. This is where true inspiration comes from, engaging with our environment in a hands on meditative manner. Although it may not be immediately apparent, consuming massive amounts of social media can be deeply harmful to who we are as individuals. It can blur our personality to a point beyond recognition and leave us afraid of confrontation and engaging discussion.
I’m not speaking from anyplace other than experience here. I was once what I would consider rather addicted to social media. You probably know the drill: first thing in the morning grab the iPhone charging next to the bed to check Snapchat. Spend breakfast scrolling mindlessly through Instagram (oh, his breakfast looks so much better than mine). On the drive to work check facebook a few times at red lights. I could go on for another few paragraphs trust me. I’m not saying social media is the root of all evil, I wouldn’t be in this industry if I felt that at all. What I’m saying is too much of anything is a bad thing. Too much booze takes away from your lifespan. In this case, too much social media takes away from your personality.
What marketing needs right now is original thought. It needs people unafraid to make change and act on it on a daily basis. But most of all it needs you, yes you reading now, to go out and live this life. Make experiences, form opinions and develop your unique voice to bring back for the world to hear. Your voice will not and can not develop when your main influence is the voice of others. Be a collection of the actions you take and people will remember your name for years to come.