Chapter 5 – Butter… You Talking to Me??

Butter… You Talking to Me??

The year was 1976, and the guy asking “You Talking to Me??” was Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. Nowadays, it’s to butter and breakfast cereal and shaving foam that want to have “conversations” with me on Facebook and Twitter that I’d ask that question. Conversations with a brand of butter? What happened? Why has this absurd bullshit come to pass as something perfectly normal?

Why is there so much (unwarranted) enthusiasm for Social Media in the business media? Let me answer with another question: who creates the narrative about the Web in the media? Those who think the most important thing in life is business and who invariably view the Web as just another “media”, which of course means another place where business should buy advertising.

As a consequence, we were told that the Web was doing poorly when things were bad for advertising, like after the Bubble – which was really just a Ponzi scheme in which portals sold banner ads to new websites whose goal was to sell banner ads to the following round of hopefuls, forever, or until somebody said enough was enough and the whole thing burst. Once the Web was cool again – Web2.0, remember? – we were told that companies couldn’t miss out on this twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “connect” with “consumers”. Only, none of this is true.


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