Social Media Marketing

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Commentary
Tags: , , ,


Social Media Marketing

It’s an interesting term that conjures up a means to market a product; a commercial floor wax, or …an idea.

In the old days a Corporation would have most of the control over the message and the advertising campaign in a one-way broadcast that served to find, and define their market. This top down hierarchy worked well for a long time because they were able to count on a certain amount of apathy or passivity from the consumer who was then part of a robust middle class.

In the past, social movements did arise but took years to reach critical mass. Think of Ghandi leading his non-violent revolution against the British in India.

Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement; Women’s Suffrage and so on.

Now we have Twitter and Facebook and a host of other social media sites that have enabled everyone with a smart phone or a computer to gather and talk back.

Dictatorships have enjoyed the privileges of power for years without much resistance. The People acquiesce for fear of being tortured or killed…until now.

The Arab Spring and then The Occupy Movement were examples of a Social Media Marketing message that resonated with millions in the 99% – that would otherwise not have the door to crack open.

New companies, eager to market their products in this brave new world of two-way communication, are smart to let their customers define the terms of engagement.

But large corporations who are heavily invested in lobbyists and campaign donations to both major parties in the United States, and have as a result, enjoyed unprecedented profits in the last thirty years, are loath to change course.

You often see ads from large oil companies or major banks using the language of Green groups or the Occupy movement in an effort to co-opt the message and slow down the resistance. But this isn’t an honest conversation, it is only designed to maintain the status quo

The Occupy movement is an example of this struggle. Theirs is a message that Corporate control has gone too far and that the gap in wealth between the 1% and the 99% is too wide and they as a large group of voters have something to say about it.

If this is a microcosm of the clash of the new order against the old order, it’s instructive to see how the police have reacted.  Did they protect the right of occupiers to peacefully assemble and protest? No. Police forces in most every city in the country have used aggressive tactics to shut them down with excessive force (any force would be excessive against a peaceful unarmed assembly) & unprovoked pepper-spraying of demonstrators. It sure looks like a private army protecting the rights of a few billionaires.

My point is not to go into the politics of the Occupy movement here but to show how social media has affected the rank and file against the power brokers.

My question is how do you think this is going to shake down?

The Genie is out of the bottle…

  1. Lisa Arden says:

    I agree that the conflict between Companies who want to control their message and the digital current that is rapidly flowing in the opposite direction is a hard conflict to resolve without some major revolution in thinking.

  2. Brian George says:

    I love what happened with the Arab Spring. And I breathed a huge sigh when the progressives in this country finally, after so long being silent, raised their heads and their voices and let the power brokers hear that there was a huge group of people who didn’t buy into their wretched status quo thinking. But I’m not convinced anything of any real consequence has happened yet. Not even in the Arab countries that actually threw out their tyrants. Marx’s ‘means of production’ has become ‘means of communication’. And Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook aside, the power elite still own those means and, as in China, the plug can be pulled at any time. I really am afraid that the change you’re talking about can only come about after major social upheaval. If we’re waiting for evolutionary change, I don’t see that even in my kids’ lifetime. That being said, I truly believe that this current American iteration of unbridled Capitalism (multi-national corporations, too big to fail banks, uber powerful lobbies, compromised public policy, etc.) is as much a dinosaur as Communism was. But Communism was a monolithic institution, and when it fell it fell quickly and hard. Uncontrolled Capitalism is going to take a lot longer to devolve or collapse. It’s too amorphous and adaptable.

  3. David George says:

    That the occupy movement happened at all, is the thing of great significance and only time will be the judge of how much the course of history will be changed by it.

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