There's still a lot of silly stuff around social networks and social influence.
So let's try to get at least this thing really straight:
Social networks are not channels for advertisers or for the adverts/memes you, your clients or any of your so-called "influentials" create; social networks are for all of the people who participate in the network.
Being a social creature means you spend your life in social networks; being part of a social network gives each individual a number of benefits - shared protection, shared resources and, most importantly, shared learning. Our ability to learn from each other (the appropriately named social learning) is one of our all-too-mutual species' most characteristic capabilties and the engine by which stuff gets pulled through populations (from technologies to health habits).
(BTW: it's almost never the stickiness of your brilliant creation that causes the spread and even less often "social teaching" that most influence-models suggest.)
Social networks are not best understood as channels down which folk send things; social networks are webs from which members pull down learning (from each other).
Now how does that change what you're trying to do?
A STERLING EFFORT FROM A MAD MAN
The fictional memoir that Roger Sterling was penning during this past season of Mad Men will be published as a real book by Grove/Atlantic, called Sterling's Gold: Wit And Wisdom Of An Ad Man (amazing title). The 176-page book will sell for $16.95. It will go on sale in November - just in time to give as a holiday gift to your favourite ad dweeb.
"Advertising pioneer and visionary Roger Sterling Jr served with distinction in the Navy during World War II, and joined Sterling Cooper Advertising as a junior account executive in 1947. He worked his way up to managing partner before leaving to found his own agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, in 1963 ...
Taken as a whole, Roger Sterling's pithy comments and observations amount to a unique window on the advertising world - a world that few among us are privileged to witness first-hand - as well as a commentary on life in New York City in the middle of the 20th century."
IT'S TIME TO PUT ON A HAPPY FACE
Advertising is supposed to be fun.
The people in it are allegedly interesting and exciting to work with.
We claim we understand people so well that we can do stuff that makes them fall in love with stuff.
So how come all the photos agency people have of themselves in the media or in their agency credentials make them look like the most miserable bunch of fuckers on the planet?
Seriously, it's like there's some law that you have to either pretend you're Bono in his most pretentious of moods or Coco the fucking Clown.
This all came about after I was checking a deck we're going to present later this week and saw that the entire Wieden & Kennedy team had photos that looked like they were either going to a funeral or contemplating suicide.
Who the hell is going to want to work with a team like that?
Our business thrives on relationships - and while you'd hope a lot of that is underpinned by respect and quality of work, the truth is that how well you get on with each other plays a massively significant role, and so basically scaring people away from the moment they set eyes on you is probably not the cleverest move in the world.
First impressions last and if the first exposure they have to a company is a bunch of miserable and moody photos of the team they would be working with, the reality is that they'll make sure you never have the chance to show how good your knowledge and personality actually is.
It's a bit like women saying "a sense of humour is more important than looks". But let's face it, if the guy has a face like a dropped pie, no woman is going to give them the time of day to let them show off how funny they are in the first place.
Hell, I had to lock my now wife in a dungeon for three months to make sure she listened to me and even now I wonder if she married me out of fear or love.
So, adland, drop the moody and the wackiness and just be fucking normal, smiling people - you might even find people talk to you like a human being after that.
Oh, and from now on, W&K is a moody bastard photo free zone.