Facebook status messages, twitter et al have been playing a huge role in our society for some time now. At our last PRN meeting all the agencies confirmed the significant increase in online social media PR that they were doing. Not really a surprising development. A few years ago, I had lost all contact with most of my old school and uni friends – had no idea what was happening in their lives – were they married, were they divorced, were they still alive even? Now, Facebook not only allows access to their lives and core data: married, 2 children, interested in dogs, cats and the state of the world, but I’m also provided with information such as “I got into a scrap with the taxi driver last night” and “I had a wild time and spent the whole night suffering on for it” – really who cares? In the past year we have gone from absolutely no information to far too much information and more interestingly, information that is completely irrelevant and that no-one is even interested in. In a world of advertising and fierce marketing have we come to the point where we continually have to market ourselves? If we aren’t on Facebook, we have no face, we don’t exist? If we don’t continually write status messages, we have no status?
Sitting at the airport with a colleague a few weeks ago, he logged onto Twitter and read the following feed from a friend: “I’m sitting at the station in Berlin” – oh this begs, begs, begs the question “who really, really cares?”. Had he written “I’m sitting in Berlin and am surrounded by people who are bumping into me and are inconsiderate” or “The sun is shining and I feel positive”, I can do something with this information, I feel an emotion but what can I do with I’m sitting at the station – sorry, not interesting unless I am planning on picking him up. I wonder – is this one newsbyte the most he can say about himself? If that’s the most he has to say to put himself out there, let’s hope he doesn’t work in any kind of creative industry.
Is this what communication nowadays has come down to? Feeds that no-one is interested in – one way pieces of irrelevant communication? And if so, what are we supposed to do with this information? Can we possibly find it interesting because it shows a person’s attitude to everyday events – are we supposed to look behind the feed “I’m sitting at the station in Berlin” and meant to read “I’m busy and important because I am jetting around the country?” In effect, we have to “look behind” the twitter if we want a dialogue or conversation to go further – is this really communication now – one-liners that everyone ignores. Have we become a one-byte society? Do we have to put ourselves out there to show we exist – I twitter therefore I am?