Keep it Simple (in social media), Stupid

I don’t watch television. Haven’t for around a year now. And that decision is among the best I’ve ever made.

BUT, last night was a complete veg-out evening at our house, so we went to pick up Kathie’s absolute favorite pizza in Austin – Home Slice – and actually turned on the TV. And we were quickly reminded of why we don’t watch it anymore.

Heaven only knows, but we landed on the American Music Awards…which was a total train wreck. I. Mean. Train. Wreck.

One guy tried to incorporate a movie theme into his performance, someone else played a piano that was elevated in the air and then there was whatever the Black Eyed Peas did. One after another, these “artists” tried to outdo one another and be more outrageous than the previous act.

But as we watched terrible performance after terrible performance by artists who can’t carry a tune in a freakin’ bucket (live, at least), there were two shining moments. And these moments were from people who weren’t trying to be something that they weren’t, but just simply were there to sing their song and give people what they wanted.

Pink came out, sang her song and had a bunch of fun doing it. And Kid Rock sat on a stool flanked by a guy playing an acoustic guitar and a back-up singer. Their songs were the focal point. They embraced who they are and gave their fans what they expected.

So it goes for word of mouth marketing and social media. So many companies are trying to one-up one another and outdo the latest social media stunt (think Old Spice guy). To be the first or the most flashy or the newest. And in the midst of it all, they forget who they are. They forget what brought them their loyal customers in the first place. And it leaves everyone scratching their heads.

The lesson here is keep it simple. Stay true to you and who you are. Not the latest trend. Not what the social media kids are yelling that about that day. And especially not what doesn’t feel right.

So don’t ask yourself what the social media kids WOULD do. Ask yourself what your brand SHOULD do. After all, keeping it simple doesn’t mean chasing every shiny object that comes across your field of vision. Keeping it simple means exactly that. Simple. And there’s nothing wrong with simple.


  • November 22, 2010



  • November 22, 2010

    Tracey Halvorsen


    Well said. I think it’s so hard for anyone to stop and be quiet long enough to even think about “themselves” when we are all being bombarded by so much information and “brand” marketing. I remember when a vege-out session in front of the TV was just that – where my only source of input was the TV, and chatting with whomever I was vegging out with. Yesterday, I had a similar TV meltdown, and while being disgusted by the AMAs as you were, I was also being bombarded with info from my iPhone, Twitter, texts, Facebook updates, breaking news, my RSS reader on my iPad – total input overload. I would make the case that what you prescribe requires as much effort in the tuning out initiative as it does with the inner focus part. I completely agree, simple and authentic is best, but I think it’s getting harder and harder to find that quiet time to be able to see that kind of simplicity in oneself in the era of information overload. Kudos to you for checking out of TV, but watch out for Facebook and other social platforms, they may quickly become the “Kill Your Television” bumper stickers for a new generation. Until then, thank god we have pop stars like Pink and Kid Rock keeping it real and showing people how being yourself is always more powerful than being what you think they want to see. Hard part is having the b*lls to do it.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Spike Jones, Katherine Malone and Lucretia M Pruitt, Tracey Halvorsen. Tracey Halvorsen said: RT @spikejones: Keep it Simple (in social media), Stupid: […]

  • […] On the whole the social media industry is quite insular. Most of us attend the same conferences and talk to each other. We go to the same speaking sessions on the same topics. We tweet at one another and generally all say the same things. So what differentiates us from the next guy? I was reminded of the answer to that yesterday when I read Spike Jones’ post. […]

  • November 24, 2010

    Joe Harrell

    Thanks for the great reminder, Spike. Any suggestions on how to engage our members on our NYC ARTS fan page? We’ve taken a pretty simple approach to our presence on FB, and it seems like the perfect place for people to share their experiences of attending a museum, play, musical, concert, etc. Here’s our page:!/pages/NYC-ARTS-for-Alliance-for-the-Arts/32638086986

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