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Great! Social Media Gives Fake Content a Real Voice

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It used to be that if you had something important to say, you had to write a book and find a publisher, or work for a magazine, or start a new publication. The point is that it took real time, effort, and money to get your ideas and message to the public.

The internet, with its millions of blogs and social media to promote them, has cheapened information. Now anyone can clog up Facebook and Twitter with inept content, calling themselves experts and providing unasked-for commentaries. Anyone with 30 minutes of free time can claim to have all the answers from saving your business to curing cancer. As long as it’s short and has an over-promising, yet captivating, headline, it has viral potential, no matter how true or even helpful the content really is.

There is no longer any cost to spreading information. This has its benefits, but also its own dark side. Social media and blogs are full of information that never would have been picked up by a publisher, magazine, or newspaper. Sure, the prospect of more people having a voice sounds good, but what happens when quantity vastly overtakes quality?

Every blog out there (mine included :-(…) promises to save or enhance your business, health, marriage, or career in three to five easy and proven steps. You know the headlines, you click them..so do I. Unfortunately, life is really not that easy. There are no simple steps to a better more fulfilled life. It takes time, energy, and dedication.

Back when producing and publishing content took time, effort, and money, people were a lot more cautious about what was published, but also about what they were willing to read. Now, free trumps paid day and night. We would rather take free advice from strangers, who may or may not really have a clue about what they are talking about, as opposed to paying a little for real quality, edited and put together to maintain a standard and reputation.

We like free, but free has nothing to prove because it has nothing to lose. Free blogs have brought some great value to our society (I like to think mine has), but they also gave voices to fakes and con artists who have little interest in anything more than manipulating their readers into scam programs and overhyped worthless information. There are actually programs that will teach you how to write and publish a book in a weekend. As an author, I am insulted by these programs. My books were written with months of research, rewrites, and edits, yet now I must compete with people who wrote a “book” in 48 hours. Where is the pride and value in that?

More importantly, how are we as consumers supposed to know the difference between meticulously and thoughtfully put together information, and content was thrown together on a whim for a quick buck? They now all share the same marketplace. This is the dark side of today’s internet, blogs, and social media. Quality content gets to compete with nonsense. Who will win this war? Sadly, what I see happening is that the mediocre content keeps winning. It is easy to produce and can flood the market, hiding the real gems that really could benefit people.

This article may make me sound like an old-timer, grumbling about losing the old ways, but in fact, I am a millennial in my 30’s. I am frustrated that we now live in an era where real value no longer holds much meaning simply because truth and quality is now hidden by a louder, much more annoying voice that says quick and easy is better.

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Mark Zarr

Mark Zarr is a writer, graphic designer, and a marketing and communications consultant who works with businesses, churches, and non-profits to improve their branding, marketing, and communication strategies. Utilizing his 15 plus years of business management, marketing, and design experience he helps organizations of all sizes grow and achieve amazing results by standing out from the crowd through great design. He has an MBA from Liberty University and is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Business for Boise State University and Pueblo Community College. He currently lives in Colorado with his wife, Rachel, and their two children.

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