Marketing & Monetization Are Killing Social Media

With all the hype about TikTok and ChatGPT we’re all just about saturated by media and social media bombardment. LinkedIn used to host compelling conversations. Facebook used to share your posts with 20% of your friends. And people used to take the time to comment on articles. Now, people hardly LIKE or FOLLOW any more. We’re flooded. We’re overwhelmed. Or, like me, we’re a bit jaded about the conversations that no longer take place online.

Online Communities

If you’ve ever been a part of a thriving online community you know the benefits of have a trusted circle of “friends” to share about a common cause. Like the early days of the Internet, the Well, was a home for many great conversations, threads, chats, and connections. Tell me, where do you find connection today?

We’re swiping, and scrolling, and moaning about the media and the platforms. Privacy is nonexistent within social platforms. And, while Apple has started the do-not-track revolution, others like Facebook and Amazon are trying to follow, categorize, package, and sell our personal data to anyone who will pay.

Let’s talk about


Once the “other” social platform with a more professional angle, LI has become a recruiting and self-promotion site. And Microsoft in their efforts to monetize LI has pretty much shot the horse. Today, the bulk of interactions and posting on LI is about finding a job. Recruiters use software that scans and bundles up resumes. And yes, the first thing I do when I meet a new professional is check out their LI page. Then, I go see if I can find them on Facebook or Instagram. What can we can’t gleen from their resume it much more obvious when you see what photos and memes that are posting at all hours of the day and night.


Zuck and Co have crushed organic reach to death. What used to generate 25% of my web traffic, posting on FB, now accounts for less than 1% of my traffic. I have several groups on FB, each with over 2,000 followers. When I post something to my group, out of 2,323 subscribers, my post will reach 5. FB is quick to tell me I could reach 25 – 2,500 more people if I’d just boost my post for $20. Um, wait a minute. They subscribed to me. You’re telling me I’ve got to pay to share my content? And the ADS, let’s not get started on how awful self-made FB ads are. Thank god for AdBlockPlus which handles most of the tasks needed to suppress FB ads.

Blogs and Sites

When I started blogging, 13 years ago, I would get 3 – 4 comments a week. Now, with more readers than ever, I get 3 – 4 comments a YEAR. Now, I know I could post firey posts to ignite a war, but that’s not what I write about. Still, I have readers, but no one is engaging with the content.

Social vs Shopping vs Entertainment

Our days, our minutes, and our screens are a reflection of our personalities. (See the Netflix show Black Mirror, for how this could play out in the future.) What is everyone doing with their time now? My daughter is on TikTok day and night. My son is working on AI business plans and playing TF2 on Steam. What are you doing online?

We’re not talking to each other anymore. We’re broadcasting our selfies and self-interests. But, we’re all too busy to actually read real content. We’re stuck swiping for more pictures, more cats, more memes. I am trying to understand my own changing consumption of media and online content. I have stopped tuning into cable news each night. I open the NYTimes twice a day to see what’s on fire at the moment. I try and turn off my tv and read (a book) or write rather than tuning out on social or tv media.

Where can the conversation online go?

When Google dropped the ball on Google+ we were all left with Facebook again. Sure, young kids are doing Tok and IG and Snap, but Facebook is still the king of online communities and advertising. It’s just that Facebook and LinkedIn are getting worse. Reach can’t get much lower, but they’re trying. Following, Elon Musk’s idiotic takeover of Twitter, all the services are trying to offer their version of the #bluecheckmark. For a minimal subscription fee, you too can be validated. So far, most of my Twitter peers have NOT gone for Elon’s pay-to-play scheme.

I am hopeful that we can return to more connected communities in the future, I’m just not sure WHERE online that’s going to happen. Mastodon, so far, is too hard to connect with, and not making huge inroads. All the Next-Twitter platforms are TINY. And with the 2024 political environment heating up with toxicity, we’re not likely to find a conversation space anywhere online. So, let’s meet in person. Or, let’s make create some Zoom Communities where we can hang out and chat about stuff we care about.

I’m lucky, my global work team is fun and fluent in Zoom banter. Our daily standup meetings ARE our community. Culture is how you treat others on Zoom. And for us extroverts with a big voice, it’s hard to learn to listen 90% of the time. Put yourself on MUTE and just listen. You don’t have to be the smartest or funniest person in the room. You just have to be an honest person.

I’m ready to join and build a new online tribe, but I don’t know where to bring my ideas. Where do you go for connecting with others online?

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
@jmacofearth & Facebook & LinkedIn & The Whole Parent

See also:

Please check out some of my books on AMAZON.

Please share