Let’s start off 2012 with a nice rant: In our digital age where everything competes for attention against everything else, we as a society have lost all credibility. “This is the funniest things I have ever seen in my entire life.” “I laughed so hard, I died, I LITERALLY died.” “They have the best burgers [...]
Let’s start off 2012 with a nice rant:
In our digital age where everything competes for attention against everything else, we as a society have lost all credibility.
“This is the funniest things I have ever seen in my entire life.”
“I laughed so hard, I died, I LITERALLY died.”
“They have the best burgers that anyone in the world has ever tasted, period, end of story, these burgers could make a vegan tear through a field eating live bovine flesh.”
OK, so that last example is not as common as the first two, but in the world of social media, the tendency to exercise excessive hyperbole has become, literally, an every-post-or-comment phenomenon. Whatever happened to just telling someone that “hey, this is funny, check it out?” Or, “They have very good burgers there, I highly recommend it?”
If you approached me and said, “Tony, this is the absolute funniest thing I have ever seen in my life,” I would be prepared to witness something as close to the apex of comic mastery as possible, some sort of semi-eternal joke that has been reincarnated in different forms and iterations over the past centuries of man. Maybe your favorite scene from your favorite movie, or an except from Stephen Colbert’s White House Correspondents Dinner roast of Bush. Not, I repeat, NOT a clip of a kitten with its head stuck in a toilet paper roll.
Those who purvey their media socially are all clamoring for attention and therefore credibility, in the fact that what they post people pick up on, comment on, and share around. How can you separate yourself from other posts and shared internet tidbits? Promise something that by definition cannot exist! Companies that utilize social media are starting to do this too…
But what is a faster way to erode credibility than by promising things that only leave people disappointed? After viewing your “funniest thing in the world,” and not laughing once, it makes me question either, a) you really, REALLY love kittens, or b) the next thing that you recommend is going to be immediately tempered by my knowledge that what you say is a gross exaggeration. It is a vicious cycle to which I see no end.
Isn’t the fact that you go out of your way to share something indicative enough that it might be worth my time? There are a lot of things that we don’t share (though new settings on Facebook are making this redundant) which clearly are not worth our valuable time. Instead of building something up to impossible expectations, why not give a description of what something is? Or QUALIFY your hyperbole “This is the absolute funniest video of a kitten with its little head stuck in a toilet paper roll going around in circles that I have ever seen.” I have a kitten, I like when she plays. I will open your video, and you know what? You’re right! Credibility restored!
If we can’t quit our habit of exaggerating everything, at least can we qualify it? To stop exaggerating everything, that we personally recommend to our friends on social media, would be a boon to our vernacular and our interpersonal relationships in general. Let’s save our valuable superlative titles for the things in our lives that truly deserve them.
Tony Hymes is the Editor of the Digital Out Of Home industry website DOOH.com. He produces introductory videos of the companies working across the space from digital signage hardware providers to content companies, DOOH networks, consultants, and software groups. Tony Hymes writes extensively about the strategies behind DOOH advertising, digital signage networks and deployments, and customer engagement trends.