Social Media Sycophancy - Social Media Explorer
Social Media Sycophancy
Social Media Sycophancy

Sometimes I feel like the vast social mediascape is just one huge, fake, mutual admiration society.

70% of shares, re-tweets, LinkedIn posts and blog comments could simply be boiled down to four words: “That’s GREAT and you’re WONDERFUL.”  The next 29% boil down to “That’s GREAT and I’m wonderful!” with a precious 1% reserved for “I disagree” or something equally disagreeable.

I’m the worst culprit. My mean colleagues (especially the German ones, who actually had to Google ‘white lie’ and still looked confused) regularly tease me for saying nice things on social media about some piece of content that I’ve recently said a not-so-nice thing about out loud. They think I’m a two-faced arse-licker (the European way of saying ‘ass-kisser’. Way grosser.).

FakeAnd they’re right. I have at least two and sometimes as many as seven faces on almost every issue I’ve ever come across (except the need for a special death penalty for Piers Morgan and Donald Trump, preferably in one glorious, televised, TiVoed ceremony, on which issue I am unified and at peace).

But the only face I show in social media is the nice, smiley face. The cheery, happy, positive Dale Carnegie impersonator with the Walt Disney World lapel badge and the Oprah tattoo.

Why do I do it?

Because I want people to think I’m nice.

In truth, I’m a bastard but I don’t want everyone to know it until I’m so old I don’t give a shit. Then, I plan to have a ball dissing every pillock that tweets into my cataract-dimmed view.

Because I want ‘influencers’ to like me so they’ll share my stuff.

I actually hate the word ‘influencer’ because it implies there are people on Earth without influence and, while probably true, it’s just an awful thought.

But you have to be nice to Joe Pulizzi and Joe Chernov and Rand Fishkin and everyone else with a four-figure Klout score – even if they’ve never written a sensible word in their star-spangled lives (Kidding! Joey! KIDDING! It’s ME!).

It’s kind of like a law.  These guys haven’t heard the word ‘no’ since they last asked their entourages, “Does my ass look big in this?” and I’m not going to be the guy to break that rule. If you’re so brave and honest, you criticize them. Tough guy.

Because Ms. Miles, my second grade teacher, once told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say I shouldn’t say anything at all.

I responded by just looking at her. For a really long time. Silently.

It took her a while but then she gave me that squinty-eyed, smirky expression that said, “You rat” – the same expression that made me fall so heavily, hopelessly in love with her.  (Ms. Miles, where are you now? Are you still a strawberry blonde? Do you still sing Mr. Tambourine Man while playing the guitar really badly? Are you still 28? If so, I’ll dump my whole family for you. Tweet me.)

Because whenever anyone actually dares to be themselves and says something even slightly negative in social media, it’s as if a massive fart has been released in an elevator full of the cast of Downton Abbey.

No one knows where to look. And the perpetrator is left blushing and mumbling, “Just kidding! I love Rand’s latest whiteboard, too. A lot.”  (Rand! It’s ME buddy! We’ll do lunch. Have your people call my people.  I’ll go get some people. Give me a week or so.)

Because, as a content producer, I know how hard it is to actually stumble across a good idea or sentence.

And I’m acutely aware of how easy it is to crank out middle-of-the-road yadda-yadda-ware. And how, when you put your name to something in public, you’re kind of vulnerable to abuse. And that it feels really bad to get abuse but really good to get compliments even if they’re not 100% sincere.

Because there’s always SOMETHING to like in a piece of content.

Unless it really is omni-drek in which case it’s much easier to simply tiptoe away from the blog and say nothing. My insults will be but a buzzing fly around the pile of neon-ensconced shite. A comment referring to the smell would be unnecessary.

But if there is something of merit – even something miniscule hiding between two turds – does it really hurt to say so?

Because trolls have a hard time getting laid.

Did I type that or just think it?  I’m sure I meant ‘hard time getting re-tweeted’.

Let’s face it. No one wants to be with someone who neglects their ‘personal brand hygiene’. It’s the digital equivalent of bad breath.

So I guess I’ll just go on pretending to be nice (present post excepted). And I advise you to do the same thing.

Oh, one more thing: Downton Abbey sucks. In every department. Just sayin’.

So come on you sons of bitches. Let me have it. Comments welcome. Dare you. Chickens.

SME Paid Under

About the Author

Doug Kessler
Doug Kessler is co-founder and creative director of Velocity Partners, the London-based B2B content marketing agency. Doug has written a lot about content marketing including the B2B Marketing Manifesto, the B2B Content Strategy Checklist and Crap: Why the Biggest Threat to Content Marketing is Content Marketing.

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