by Mike Vuono
May 21st, 2019
Watch any episode of Shark Tank within the last five years and roughly half of all the companies are like “Yeah we’ve done all our marketing via Social Media.” This means that they basically do photoshoots every week with their product, whatever it fucking is I don’t know, pajama pants let’s say. They do photoshoots for pretty cheap with unknown models wearing their pajama pants, and then throughout the week post photos from these shoots on their social media accounts and write about how amazing their pajama pants are, how they’re a sustainable company, how they have people in Indonesia or somewhere sew the pants and they’re empowering people over there, how they give back 3% of their proceeds to some charity about Water in developing countries and how for a limited time you can use coupon code CHANGE20 to get 20% off your order.
You know these tropes of social media because you seem them pretty routinely. Social media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, whatever the fuck, is all just marketing at this point. Big companies and small companies alike are just desperately trying to sell you shit by appearing cool in social media. Whether or not they are openly marketing to you, or doing it more steathily via influencers and etc, it’s all the same flavor of shit getting poured down your throat. This is pretty much just all that these platforms are now. It’s still a place for your cousins to post pictures of tacos or their wedding or their dumb kid, but by and large the popular shit is all funded by someone. It’s all marketing. It’s all promotion.
This makes it hard for someone like me, just an idiot throwing bad content into the void, to market myself. I’m not on social media. Even if I was, “garbage writer who mostly creates vignettes of people summoning evil monsters and/or trying to murder each other in horrible ways and also writes essays about his thoughts with no authority or real knowledge on any of the subjects he writes about” is a fairly niche market to try to reach. People will say “yeah but if you’re not using it, you can’t criticize it” etc etc. Fair point. But also, “organic growth” through social media isn’t real. You’re forcing it. You’re trying to get it out there. You’re posting shit like other shit that did well, hoping you can do the same. You’re using a ton of hashtags, clawing at the idea that random users will happen to pass by your post and enjoy it enough to give you a like, or even more far-fetched, a follow. You're buying promoted posts. You're shoving it in front of as many people as you can.
I’ll admit, I want that metaphorical follow. I want people to read my shit. Not because I think I’ll ever make a living out of it, but because I have this thing in my brain and I’m putting it onto something tangible and now I want to infect other people with my tangible brain-thing. I think this is what any creator wants: to infect people with their weird brain disease object.
So, do I accept my fate and sign up for various social media accounts and play ball? Do I post a picture of myself in a field somewhere, sitting at an inexplicably-placed vintage table with a typewriter and an open bottle of whiskey, my gaze looking outward faux-meaningfully to the horizon? I don’t know. I know I need to figure out how to get people to read my stuff, and I know that I think social media is a fakery of our current existence and extremely destructive and just churns out garbage more and more than anything on Earth. I guess I’m struggling how to manage these two ideas together; read my stuff, but I’m not going to put it out there. I’m inside my box, scribbling on the walls, and I want you to peak inside.
This is more of a thing for me to think about as I begin working on new projects. For the time being, I’m going to keep jotting down things about why you should grow potatoes or stop watching TV or whatever and putting them here on my site, contained safely within these walls, never to escape.