June 28, 2012

Sidewalk Psychology And The Z-Man

There was an interesting piece in Ad Age the other day about people exhausting their ability to pay attention to all the nonsense on Facebook.

Zuckerberg predicted a few years ago that each year the amount of stuff each of us would post on line would double. Apparently this is called Zuckerberg's Law. The writer believes that in this prediction lies the downfall of the Facebook empire. He believes that we can't handle a doubling of useless information and at some point the signal-to-noise ratio will become unsustainable.

Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. I would like to think that the author is correct. But I have to say I have been powerfully impressed by the average person's capacity to consume moronic crap.

The author says...
"How is it that Mark Zuckerberg, obviously a smart fellow, cannot... be aware of the limits of consumer cognition and human attention spans? How could a guy so brilliant not understand that his increasingly overshare-y Facebook is diminishing our collective capacity to focus on the stuff we really might care about in social media, let alone advertising messages?"
The part about advertising messages is the part I'm interested in. Here's the thing. I don't think Zuckerberg gives a shit about advertising messages.

I think he has people around him who do; I know he has shareholders who do; and I'm positive he has clients who do. But I think he could care less.

I don't think he gives a moment's thought to the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook, except insofar as it might interfere with the user experience.

The idea that somehow Zuckerberg sees Facebook as an advertising medium, and that he factors the needs of advertisers into his decisions seems delusional to me. I have never met the man and I am certainly no expert on his personality, but everything I've seen tells me that on his list of top 10 things he wants Facebook to be good for, advertising is number 11.


Martin Coetzee said...

I think you mis-stated Zuckerberg's law. My understanding was that every eighteen months Facebook would double the amount of your private information they share .

Alan Beam said...

"But I think he could care less." --> Should be "couldn't care less."

Rob Hatfield said...

I believe you've hit the nail on the head. He's got his billions. Why should he give a crap? He should do us all a favor and tell marketers to take a hike (so we can stop all this debate and hoo-ha about it), and just charge Facebookians a buck a month for the service. I mean, $900 million a month. That's a pretty good revenue stream... I could probably live on half of that!

Dave Trott said...

Alan Beam (first comment),
You are correct, of course, but..........
Bob is writing in Brooklyn vernacular, that's the whole point.
Read some Elmore Leonard.
Don't be correct be interesting, this is advertising.