Social Media Overload

We have a remarkable propensity for filtering out crap from what is meaningful to us when it comes to marketing.  In radio operations it’s called looking for the strong signal to noise ratio.  That’s the amount of good stuff (the message) that comes through the static (the noise).  Seth Godin has written about it several times at I believe it generally holds true (yes, it can even be substantiated through cognitive science).

But the noise seems to be increasing and the signal is fading. LinkedIn notices, FaceBook updates by businesses and friends selling something, Google+ and all its dirty little circles. Too much spam, too many posts, too little insight leaking through.  And in writing this post, I am certainly part of the problem for those foolish enough to read what I write.

The brain is designed to filter out extraneous information so we can focus.  So we can find what’s meaningful.  But like standing in a hurricane, there comes a point where the number of distractions are so vast as to block out those things that matter to us.  The signal to noise ratio is too great to breach.

The tendency of companies seems to jump into social media without really thinking about where to live and how to act.  A strategic plan is lacking.  So how do we cut through the noise?  We take the time to learn about context and figure out what we need to be and when.  What is your brand, yes, but more importantly what is your brand in the context of media overload?  Are you the salvation or just another part of the problem?

Published by gavinjohnston67

Take an ex-chef who’s now a full-fledge anthropologist and set him free to conduct qualitative research, ethnography, brand positioning, strategy and sociolinguistics studies and you have Gavin. He is committed to understand design and business problems by looking at them through an anthropological lens. He believes deeply in turning research findings into actionable results that provide solid business strategies and design ideas. It's not an insight until you do something with it. With over 18 years of experience in strategy, research, and communications, he has done research worldwide for a diverse set of clients within retail, legal, banking, automotive, telecommunications, health care and consumer products industries.

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