Harnessing the power of Social Media

As blogging gradually eases its way to becoming an somewhat acceptable mode of journalism, PR agencies are taking note (finally, I might add). A great article over at AdWeek details how some of the greats of the advertising world are harnessing the power of social media. It seems that word of mouth is merging into word of QWERTY, albeit not so spontaneously.

I love the idea of going beyond banner ads into more ‘authentic’ media, but there’s a part of me that finds sponsored posts somewhat despicable. Granted, I’m one of those old-school bloggers, tied to the archaic ideas of authenticity and validity. Maybe if I were doing this for personal gain or a get rich quick scheme I’d be more receptive to someone paying me money to say they made the best widget in Widget-world. Maybe I missed the bandwagon. Am I the only one who reads a blog post giving a stellar review of an appliance, or a book, or the newfangled shiny cog in the machine and instantly recognizes it as fluff?

Sure! I love the idea of marketing peeps and advertisers jumping on the social media bandwagon. But I also think a level of authenticity is called for and sponsoring posts is the digital equivalent to infomercials or those annoying “paid advertising sections” of the magazine that look just like regular pages, only they’re poorly laid out and filled with… fluff (and small print whispering that it’s inauthentic).

Call it old school. Call it naive. But a good friend of mine once said “The truth is your best tool.” (Thanks, Jerry, from the The Change.) Jerry was right. I want agencies to clue in and ride the social media wave. But I want them to do it for real – not with astroturf but with the truth – the kind you can stand on when the rains come.

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