Executive Insider

3 reasons to maintain your value through less social media

Mark Carter

In ‘Ignite Your Potential’, a comparison is drawn between individuals and quality of diamonds. Both are carbon based with their strength, resilience and character forged through a life path managing extreme pressure or an ability to insulate, conduct or even block energy as needed.

Another interesting feature is how precious we’ve come to appreciate them both, diamonds and people: their uniqueness even with inclusions and flaws. The reason we place such value on sparkling gems is partially due to the Hollywood image created: the bigger the diamond the greater the love. Simultaneously stockpiles are horded, out of market, to keep prices high. It’s unlikely people would relinquish their precious stones anyway given the provenance, personal stories or meaning that live within them. Never the less this fictitious perception rarity and is a part of their charm and value.

Digital and tech companies, the most valuable businesses ever created, base their entire business on the polar opposite approach: they leverage unique human gems, in the billions, flooding global feeds constantly. They encourage you, you wee gem, to share every part of yourself freely, regularly. The tools are even designed as deliberately addictive towards this cause as the Social Dilemma clearly indicates.

Historically whenever territories or markets were opened, with little regulation or accountability, selfishness and lawlessness kicks in. They didn’t call it the wild west for nothing. So, you don’t have to buy into the current spaghetti western, Palo Alto, social fictions currently playing at a platform near you when it comes to better valuing yourself or your business.

Less is best

Or less is more. These are likely mantras for many a great designer. In fact virtually the only time deliberate excess in design is used in design is Rube Goldberg machines. Named after the cartoonist who caricatured simple tasks done in massively over complicated ways. The creative talent of the band ‘Ok Go’ leverage one in their video ‘This Too Shall Pass’: 66 million views and growing.

Yet there’s a clue right there: the convolution was to highlight entertainment value through the sheer ridiculous nature of it all.

If a print newspaper asked you, or your business, to give up your life or IP for free for print, where they monetise it themselves, you’d kick them, laughing out loud, from home or building. Yet social companies hoodwink with an illusion of having to in order to be seen as significant. And let’s not forget others on the open source Rube Goldberg hand held human connection devices who’ll then continue demanding everything for free. Some amongst them even plagiarise and monetise, under the guise of influencing, meanwhile you’re left out of pocket, feeling devalued and out in the cold.

Successful Happy Businessman

Life is for the living

Even amazing tourist destinations or fine dining locations have become more about a filtered photo than fully submersed experiences. We are sensory beings. Your history is your memory. Your history isn’t the photos of your past. Your minds eye and your ridiculously well engineered senses (nothing comes close, there’s nothing Ruba Goldberg about you!) are the most sophisticated camera or video devices you’ll ever need.

Besides, especially when it comes to business, surely you’re busy creating, designing, acting, delivering and doing than worrying about endless filters, tags, status updates or go lives. It’s worth pondering that if someone has so much spare time feeding those never quite satiated algorithms can they really be the specialist they’re self claimed to be? Community leaders, business icons, respected experts, academics and world figures (competent ones at least)  have more important things to do (govern institutions or countries, stabilise growth or economies, harmonise cultures or diplomancies) than to be concerned with have I said, posted or shared enough on twitter, insta or FB today?

Relevance is real life

To be frank, this is the culmination of the Rube Goldberg, Harry Potter, ridiculous social spell of it all. More and more you hear ‘out contribute your competition’, ‘if you’re not on social you’re not relevant.’ To which it’s worth blowing the largest raspberry of all.

Social platforms aren’t built to gauge credibility or even quality. It’s no secret they’re open sewage systems where input driving increased usage, engagement or dollar spend is welcome. Where else in the world would so many amateurs, trolls, ego centric narcissists or anyone lacking civil discourse be allowed to operate so freely and simultaneously be held up as an expert? Mechanisms of follow-unfollow, click farms, gamification or blatant lying have no bias towards competence. Algorithms don’t care about credibility.

You’re not relevant. Please! The mind boggling updates or minute videos bereft of any meaningful connection or value pales in significance to daily battles people face living, or dying, in their actual, relevant daily life.

Social platforms and tech do have value. They do have a place. The challenge is we’ve moved so rapidly from an analogue to a digital world. Regulation and healthy discourse is required so they may take a quality place. In their current state they’re simply not the bastion of value some would have you believe. And there is a one massive disparity between digital and those diamonds. True priceless gems, you see, are transparent.

Mark Carter
Mark Carter is an international keynote speaker, trainer and coach. He has over 20 years’ experience as a global learning and development professional. His TEDxCasey talk ‘Paws and Effect: how teddy bears increase value perception was the movie trailer for his latest book Add Value. Mark Carter is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.