Your eyebrows are strange and frightening. You smell a little bit like gravy. The way you tie your shoelaces is so ridiculous it actually makes me want to punch you in the skull.
Harsh words, and possibly not the ideal way to form a devoted following to the blog. But before you rush to the mirror to examine your eyebrows (which I’m sure are perfectly fine) the highly personal critique which greeted you at the start of this piece was merely to illustrate the point of today’s ramblings.
That point being that one of the most potent and drastic effects of the Twitter revolution has been the creation of a mass body of ‘reviewers’.
Thanks to the vast, open and instant medium of social networking, not a single movement in the media world can now take place without a barrage of independent reviews emerging in the public domain.
For marketing this is of particular significance. Traditionally, it has always been a profession where the thickest of skins is required. Not only is what we as an industry produce judged in terms of its creativity, it is also judged in terms of its commercial impact. An ad that is praised for its beauty and wit but generates a feeble amount of commercial return will inevitably be regarded as a flop.
But in years gone by the feedback generated by a piece of marketing would trickle back to the source. In most cases, reviews of our efforts would have to be actively sought out through surveys and focus groups.
Nowadays, no sooner has a marketing campaign or media event dipped its toe into the public pool than the Twitter reviews begin to frantically bubble.
What’s more, the faceless nature of Twitter liberates these social reviewers. Empowered, they find themselves able to freely express themselves in a way that they may feel too self-conscious to attempt in less artificial surroundings. Praise is often overly gushing, while criticism can be excessively venomous.
And we, the subjects of this enormous public poking and prodding are left to either bask in the praise or cower pathetically under our desks while the voice of the people showers us in their scorn and angrily frothing spittle.
But as unsettling as this situation may sound, I would argue that it has certainly given the industry a hefty kick up the creative arse. The passive, meekly receptive audience is long gone and unless games are raised and imaginations stretched, marketing and media folk alike are sure to be made swiftly and firmly aware of their shortcomings.
That’s the end of the blog. Now, go and sort your shoelaces out. Now. I mean it.
Andrew Boulton is a copywriter, with spectacular eyebrows, at the Together Agency
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