Why do efforts by brands to get me to “like” them on Facebook strike me as hopelessly shallow and stupid? There’s this totemic fetishism among marketers to show off their likeable prowess by tallying followers and fans like so many ears on a necklace around their necks. And I guarantee you, there are more than a million social media marketing consultants and digital PR drones willing to sit on a conference panel or fire up a SEO optimized blog post and debate the “true value of a Facebook Fan.”
Acquisition strategies that involve baiting a trap with a sweepstakes or other freebie and then requiring the sucker to enlist others in their quest are as old as the hills and a throwback to tried and true email marketing tactics to build direct response database. “Refer a friend” is one step removed from the pyramid schemes that occasionally sweep through forgetful societies who are more than eager to enlist friends and family in their quest for riches. These Tupperware parties seem to be the heart and soul of Facebook marketing tactics.
And who cares if a “fan” gives a damn, the more the merrier.
So assume Amazon succeeds in driving me to the more-and-more loathed Facebook and induces me to “invite” three friends to also pile onto the “win a Kindle for yourself and three friend” come-on. What do they do with the names? This reeks of some shallow brainstorm by a digital marketing agency who is going to declare a specious ROI victory when Amazon’s Facebook fans swells from A to B over the next few weeks. Then what? My “news wall” or “timeline” or whatever the Zuckerborg calls is begins to be ever after polluted with authentically cheesy brand tweets from some junior marketing drone? The fact the Endive Society of America shows up in my Facebook stream every so often makes me wonder if the world has devolved to the point where it’s just more and more noise signifying nothing.
I know I’m overly cranky, and I know Facebook is the biggest walled garden of the moment, a pool of the world’s names so tempting to try to sell to, but as that pool gets shallower and shallower, and more polluted by corporate messages shuffled like so many jokers in a deck of family photos, shared links to headlines, invitations to the latest Zynga MafiaFarm, I just want to stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes, and rock back and forth to shut it all out.
I’m not a fan of anything I’ve ever purchased. I hate my refrigerator. My car only wants my money. My endives wilt and my laptop likes to crash.