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Goodbye Social Media

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I was listening to the Radio4 Today programme earlier (somewhat in the background while mainlining coffee and packing my bag for work) when a news item caught my attention.

A spokesperson for the beauty brand Lush was interviewed about its decision to withdraw from almost all social media sites. The Lush bosses feel that the platforms treat their users poorly, damaging their mental health – citing for instance the algorithms which push particular content (such as food images towards people with disordered eating). No brand wants to be associated with causing mental-health issues.

Lush will no longer use social media sites (worldwide) from Friday and while in the grand scheme of things, it’s a moment rather than a seismic shift, it might prove to be an interesting topic for PRs to discuss with their clients. Previously, platforms such as Instagram and TikTok were fuelled by word of mouth and, as Jack Constantine of Lush put it, were a place where brands and community could interact together in a positive way. Now that has changed.

I’m looking at the subject through the prism of food and restaurants. There’s a strong sense of curiosity when it comes to those subjects and if a platform is, to all effects, creating or promoting in a purely commercial way and thrusting what looks and sounds like straight advertising at us, it’s a turn-off. 

A return to chronological posting on Instagram and fewer interruptions on Facebook is probably too much to hope for but the PR industry both collectively and individually could play a role here in nudging existing (and perhaps yet-to-launch) platforms into focussing on community and ‘organic’ discovery.

What Lisa Thinks…

“A clear, concise release on something I care about – good food, good provenance and an interesting brand. The offer to actually try before I report is welcome too…”

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