Andrew Teman

A Return To (Actual) Social Media Humanity

Pick a brand. Any brand.

Now go to their Facebook page or Twitter feed and what do you see?

Maybe a car that’s rooting for a football team? Perhaps it’s a box of cereal that wants to know how your weekend was? Or it could be a stick of deodorant that’s curious to know what you thought of the Breaking Bad finale.

And it’s all fucking awkward.

Every last post.




Because we as marketers have somehow lost our way. We’ve somehow gotten comfortable with a set of social media “best practices” and “standards” that are as phony as they are foolish.

We’ve somehow bought into this silly idea that brands in social spaces, should act like people. That the key to success in social media is to “humanize” your brand, and it give it “a voice”.

And as a result, that’s what every ding-dong community manager and stuffed-shirt social media “expert” is doing.


They’re just clumsily attempting to animate brands like some fumble-thumbed puppeteers at the worst community theater puppet show you’ve ever seen.

Hence the awkwardness in a cup of coffee becoming sentient and asking you what you think of this weather, on Facebook.

Seriously. I barely want to talk to my human friends about the weather, let alone a faceless corporation.

But social media pros have been selling this bullshit approach for so long, that I think they’ve started to believe it themselves. Or maybe they legitimately don’t know any better. It’s hard to tell.

Either way, it’s time to stop the nonsense.

It’s time to stop writing tone guidelines, and internally coaching your community managers on how to make your ketchup or snow-tires or dog biscuits sound “approachable”, “quirky”, and “fun-loving”.

It’s time to stop hiding behind logos and stock photos, content calendars and platitudes.

It’s time to hire the right social media brand stewards, and then trust, empower, and elevate them to roles of front-facing prominence.

It’s time to stop saying “human” and start being human.

Because if you’re not prepared to put a face (an actual face) and name (an actual name) alongside your brand in social media, perhaps you shouldn’t be there at all.