Don’t Be Afraid To Call Out The Bullshit

First Contact: A Study Across Platforms

“That’s bullshit,” I looked up and everybody was staring. I’d said it out loud.

“Oh, looks like I’m about to get kicked out of another meetup group.”

Someone at the meetup had just described using the shitshow known as Instagress to promote their product on Instagram. Basically, this nonsense piece of social media wonkware automatically likes and comments on Instagram posts with particular hashtags – quickly and without your intervention. It’s social on social media, so you don’t have to be.

If their landing/sales page doesn’t make you vomit a little, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

Within a minute, I outlined why Instagress is bullshit and about 3 different campaigns I thought would have a better shot of landing sales. See, it’s not that the marketer in this case was bad, just lured to the dark side by quick and easy. There are no end of smarmy, self-inflating tactics and tools out there – every flashy marketing sales person out there promising to “teach you their secrets in 30 minutes or less” for a fee and a small portion of your soul.

Marketing isn’t a pizza; you can’t get something delivered in 30 minutes or less that will make you feel anything other than bloated and regretful.

I wasn’t kicked out this time, but I was kicked from a totally different group several years ago. It wasn’t the first time candor had gotten me “in trouble”.

What got me kicked out? I’d called out the tactics of a jackass real estate agent. This self-proclaimed marketing guru would buy up domains, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts that had keywords for real estate in cities across the country, and then pump them full of “local” content (by way of yet another douchey automated tool). In doing so, he’d snag a decent portion of that city’s SEO for real estate. He’d then auction these web properties to real estate agents who actually lived in those cities – encouraging a bidding war, and if a minimum wasn’t met, he’d hold the domain hostage. He bragged that the real estate agents usually didn’t hold out long before paying up.

On the spot, I called him a shady, money-grabbing douchebag and was kicked out.

There are no end of “shortcuts”. There are no end of workarounds. There are no end of feel-good, but ultimately vapid social media techniques. Don’t be afraid to call ’em as you see ’em: that’s fucking bullshit is a legitimate response to asshats filling up our useful tools with noise, spam, and abuse.

Make no mistake: if a business you follow uses these shortcuts, they are abusing your attention. You’re trusting them to be, you know, social, on social media.

Call them out on it when they’re not. Anything else is bullshit.