George Parker: It Isn’t About Reach, It’s About Rejection!
In case you hadn’t realized it, I am a multi-tasking, uber-achieving prince of the blogosphere… Meaning that apart from writing this weekly column for psfk, I also write a US blog, a UK one, and I also bore the shit out of people with various articles and books. The rest of the time I drink, smoke and am generally obnoxious. Anyway, I do have a certain propensity to piss people off when I rant about what I consider to be the slavish insanities of users of such phenomena as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Please don’t get me wrong here; I am not saying that they don’t have a certain appeal to people who can only express themselves in less than 140 characters, or want their home page to look like some art directional nightmare designed by your grandmother. Think email here… Isn’t 80% of the stuff that ends up in your inbox total shit? So why would you want to multiply that with Tweets, friends, pokes, virtual teddy bears and messages on your wall? There are only so many hours in the day. But, if your life is so pathetically barren you need to tell total strangers what you had for breakfast, so be it. I am only raising questions about their current ephemeral (as in short-lived) popularity. Who knows, one day they might be recognized as having been as important factors in the epochal changes of civilization as gunpowder, movable type and indoor plumbing. I doubt it. Think Second Life here… But, moving on…
As I say in the introduction to Chapter seven of my groundbreaking new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders… At the time of writing – mid to late 2008 – what I am describing as “New Media” will, by the time you read it probably be “Old Media.” And will without question have been replaced by “New-New Media,” or “Uber-Uber New media.” But rest assured, whatever the practitioners of these black arts choose to call them, they will be relentlessly promoted as the next big thing. Something you should definitely climb aboard before the express train leaves the station and you end up in penury for the rest of your miserable life because you didn’t jump aboard. Personally, over the years I’ve realized that sometimes it’s better to grab a cup of coffee, or a beer, in my case, relax, and wait for the next train. Most of the time, you’ll be far better off having missed out on the sheer exuberance and froth of whatever was on offer.
But then, I am somewhat of an old fart (people never fail to tell me this in comments and emails) But, as I mention in chapter one of the aforementioned blockbuster, when Vance Packard wrote The Hidden Persuaders, it was in the halcyon days of low-stress, two parent families, pre-equal rights legislation, and let’s just smoke and drink ourselves into happy oblivion. It was also possible to reach eighty percent of the American population via three TV networks and three national magazines. In the fifty years since, this situation has radically changed. Not just because of the explosion in TV choices via cable and satellite, the hundreds, if not thousands of magazines that now pander to virtually every niche interest, and the deluge of guerilla, new media, CGC, or whatever marketing opportunities are increasingly available. The single most important development in advertising and marketing, is not the number of new ways you can choose to reach potential customers, it’s the number of ways those potential customers can choose to tune you out.
George Parker is a guest columnist for psfk.com. He the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.