Let me set the scene:
Somewhere perhaps 6 months ago, there was a meeting between a bunch of TV producers, a handful of marketing people and likely a social media guru.
Between them they had a deadline, some brand guidelines, a whole bunch of money and a goal of ensuring that the TV show they were working on got maximum exposure to certain demographics.
Their strategy included promo’s and commercials on high rotation during prime time, massive ads in newspapers and magazines, daily catch-ups disguised as current affairs in the channel’s affiliate ‘news and current affairs shows’, and then from the back of the room, the social media guru spoke up.
“We need to get the Twitterati talking about it too” spoke this voice of authority. “We should find out who the most followed and trusted Australian Twitter accounts are and get them to discuss our show”.
“Brilliant!” cheered the TV producer as he played with the keys of his brand new Jeep Cherokee. “Adding this tactic to our already stellar line-up of washed-up has been judges who want this job to further their own music companies agenda! We have a winner”
The boardroom rejoiced, patted each other on their backs and started writing cheques.
This magical meeting was the marketing strategy meeting for the vapid piece of crap known as The Voice. A TV show about egotistical douchebag judges who allegedly judge people by their voice and nothing else.
I don’t follow many people on Twitter or Google Plus. It annoys me having to sort through update after useless update in order to find something relevant, interesting or informative when I am on these platforms. I follow only a handful of accounts that more often that not deliver on that quality I want to spend my time online reading about.
Tonight, it seems one of those accounts had been attacked by the vile parasite that is The Voice (#TheVoiceAU). To the point of being unrecognisable as an account that provides anything more than auto responses promoting the website job board or constant updates about ‘how good Ricky Martins hair is tonight #TheVoiceAU’, ‘How tough it’s going to be on Delta to pick a winner tonight #TheVoiceAU’ or something as equally mind-meltingly rubbish.
This account I once held in high regard had turned into a marketing machine for others, compromising the trusted name associated to its Twitter handle. It seemed to have sold its soul and the entire reason people trusted it and chose to follow it in order to be able to cash one of those aforementioned TV producer endorsed cheques.
That account was the ProBlogger account. (@problogger)
ProBlogger is considered by many to be the authority on creating a great blog. The account and website offered insights into how to write great online content, keep your audience engaged, build a faithful readership, monetise your website while not compromising your brand or message; generally helpful and insightful information about writing online. The site still achieves this goal, yet the social account seems to contradict everything else the brand has stood for except for the ‘make money yo!’ part.
Now, I’m not one of those people who is oblivious to this kind of marketing. It’s a great way to promote a product to a large-scale audience. I’d expect it from certain elements of stardom that offer very little to the world.
The Kardashian bridge trolls are a perfect example. They are famous for no reason. They offer no benefit to the world and have no expertise in anything more than being hollow, glitzy examples of what you hope your daughter will never grow up to be. These are the type of people who get married, divorced, remarried and have babies so as they can prolong their reality TV shows and sell magazines. I’d expect that these people would constantly try to promote brands in order to make a quick dollar or ten thousand.
But this is something else.
This was an account that was known for preaching the benefits of building an engaged audience who trust your site and content. Encouraging blogs to monetise, but not at the expense of compromising your audience’s trust in you to provide something more than the generic dribble that pollutes the internet lately.
I really rated this account and the content it often posted. Hell, I even got to write for ProBlogger once and I promote it in a banner on my site. I really like what they do – except for this social spamming.
I held this account in high regard up until last night when I’d had enough of not being able to look at Twitter without having my eyes raped by the constant barrage of #TheVoiceAU from an account that was once so great.
To me, this Twitter account sold out; be it to a disposable TV show or just to its audience. And I think it’s a shame.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a professional blogger by a long shot. I like to write and I put it online. But here’s my bit of blogging advice to anyone reading this.
Don’t sell out your brand.
You spend so much effort building it up. You have earned the trust of many over a long period of time, and wasting it for a quick monetary reward is short sighted and, well, it’s just a bit of a shitty thing to do to your audience.
Yesterday, I had 100 accounts I was following on Twitter. Today, that number sits at 99. My new rules of Twitter are these:
- Only follow interesting accounts.
- Follow people I can learn from and/or be entertained by.
- Do not follow anyone who promotes any TV show that has Ricky goddam Martin in it.
I contemplated whether or not to publish this. I honestly dig what Darren and ProBlogger do on their site and I’m more than happy to be wrong about some kind of deal occurring to willingly spam 180k+ followers with a TV show hashtag. In fact I hope I am, maybe Darren is just a massive fan of the show and feels compeled to tweet about it more than any other topic.Yet this doesn’t change the fact that this spam has rendered this account as little more than a marketing spam machine to me anymore – very little insights, just lots of promotion. And no doubt that’s not a big deal to ProBlogger or anyone else for me to rant on my blog or quit following them on Twitter, but my point remains the same. Sure Twitter updates are disposable – they have an average lifespan of about a minute. It is built for instant brain dumps. And if I don’t like it, then I should just unfollow right? Well I did. But I also saw a story to tell about why I did unfollow. When you have a loyal, engaged audience, I cannot understand why you’d barrage them with spam like this? In fact, I encourage people to follow the ProBlogger account and make up their own minds.
* end rant *
UPDATE: Response from ProBlogger (Darren) can be found in the comments below. He states that there was no ‘deal’ with anyone associated with The Voice and he is just a big fan.