How Social Media Became The Digital Documentation Of Pop Culture

July 2, 2015

by Benjamin Potter | Creative Director, CLICKON

Social media has had a colossal impact on pop culture, allowing fans to interact with creators and celebrities, giving them instant feedback on what they like and what they don’t. Digitalised popular culture is the¬†nourishment that runs through these systems and makes them worth something or nothing. Without pop culture, platforms wither away like MySpace did so spectacularly.

Brands are now faced with a dilemma. Without pop culture references, their posts simply get lost in a stratosphere of other bad advertisements, selfies and cat videos. Brand managers scratch their heads wondering how in God’s name do they connect with audiences while trying to sell their product. The answer is very simple. They can’t, at least not if they put their products into the conversation.

Social media is about being social. It was never intended to be polluted with product videos and narcissistic bulls*** that did little, if anything, to spark discussion. A social network is a living organism. Facebook, which remains the best example, is “a mass reach engine for listening, measuring and understanding digitalised pop culture at massive scale” according to Mark Adams, Vice’s Senior VP. The user is not the customer therefore. He/she is the product.

The opportunities are massive if brand managers can accept that their social media audience is capable of building the conversation for them. But most don’t. They cannot resist the temptation to post an advert. To quote David Ogilvy, “The consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife.”

Treat every post as a contribution to your community. Make sure it’s a deposit and not a withdrawal. Deposits are human stories. Withdrawals are ads that you assume people should watch or read. If you’re one of brands that can realize this, you are a rare, rare find.