I am being followed. Right now. By hundreds – well about a hundred – people. I haven’t gone mad, I’ve got a Twitter account...
And a Facebook one for that matter. I used to think I knew what they were for – Facebook was for checking you’re now more successful than the school bully and Twitter was something Stephen Fry was good at (and occasionally gets in to trouble over).
Now, though, I find myself thinking in Twitter sentences. Or should that be @Twitter sentences, with a hash tag in there for good measure?
Social mee-jaah is awash with self-promoters and seemingly sinister campaigns that personalise themselves based on what you search for and what information you volunteer. I was trying to triangulate some facts about a new brand the other day and it said to ‘like’ the Facebook page. I did this and was only steps away from finding out “a big secret”, but to unlock the door, I had to agree to the brand having access to my basic information, allow the company to send me emails and allow it to access my data even when I’m not using the app. Creepy.
Or is it? I mean, ‘we’ – in the Royal sense – give so much away online – some even post pictures of their kids, phone numbers, addresses... It’s not surprising then that drinks companies are ramping up their ties with social media – it’s a demographer’s dream.
Recently, Diageo strengthened its ties with Facebook and “an initial study across five key brands in the US showed a 20% increase in sales as a result of Facebook activity.”
So it seems crazy not to. Small companies are increasingly relying on social media as a cheap (free) way to launch their brands. There are classes, seminars, workshops, all to tell you how to manipulate social media and use it to your advantage. Poor old social media. Wasn’t Facebook initially just about finding pretty girls?
The problem is going to be with saturation. How long will it be before the number of self-promoters and ad campaigns takes over the number of friends you have?
There is a solution – you can move to something like Path, a site that limits the number of ‘friends’ you can have to 150. It describes itself as “the simple and private way to share life with close friends and family”. Then, presumably, we’ll do it all again until we decide it’s better to only have friends in the non-virtual sense. Doubtful – I think many enjoy the attention and the drama of sharing and knowing so much about others. I think I’ll go and Tweet that.