Steve Harrison (see posts passim for mentions) said an interesting thing to me when he came to speak at my agency (he said more than one interesting thing but I’m only going to refer to one). He mentioned the phenomenon of weekday frequency of social media posts, i.e. many more posts occur during a working day than a weekend.
So why is that? Well, obviously we all have better things to do on the weekend than tell our friends what we’re eating or what we think of the new Muse album. But during the week it’s much harder to stop us finding even the most mundane thing so interesting that we decide to tell all our friends about it.
I’ve often thought of this blog of nothing more than a diverting manner in which to pass a few minutes, on a working day or otherwise, but I am fully aware of the way readership figures tend to slump on Friday afternoon, picking themselves up like a a coke-fuelled middle manager on Monday morning. So you’re all just killing time when you could be working, but you’re much less likely to sacrifice any of your precious leisure moments to do something so pointless.
(By the way, a few years ago I checked my analytics on Christmas Day (at that time it was an almost Pavlovian reaction to opening my laptop; now I have no idea how many people read my blog and haven’t checked my analytics for years) only to find that 100 individuals had come seeking a post or comment with which to pass the tedious hell of Yuletide.)
So what does all that tell us, other than the somewhat predictable fact you’re all bored at work but not so much on weekends? Well, I think it’s interesting that social media is just something that’s slightly more attractive than work, but much less so than the rest of your life. It’s a low-level pastime that barely competes with reading a copy of Heat in a doctor’s surgery. Its attraction is not immediate and necessary; it’s adequate and tangential, and I suspect that much of what gives it its appeal is its easy access and consumption – right there, a mere click away from that spreadsheet/catfood script/great American novel you’re ‘supposed’ to be getting on with. It’s the medium as much as the content, providing us with a simple way to dip in and out of fuck-all, every single minute of the day.
But have you ever wondered if that has anything to do with the creative dip advertising is currently still suffering? I do like those John Lewis ads, but there hasn’t been anything truly great since Gorilla, a dry patch that has coincided quite neatly with the rise of social media. In those heady Facebook-less days of the nineties and early noughties there were multiple great ads each year. Now many creatives are either surfing the net for vaguely second-hand inspiration or just killing time. Does that prevent the brain stretch that a long think about a problem in a vacuum brings on? Does it lead to earlier, less interesting answers to briefs? Or is it just one more of the many factors that have contributed to this status quo?
Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I sincerely thank you for choosing to fuck up your career with a visit to at If This Is A Blog Then What’s Christmas.