Does Anybody Care?

One of my favorite cartoons by Hugh MacLeod is painfully direct. It simultaneously nails the desperation of every marketer struggling to find an audience and the marketplace reality of an endless supply of ordinary content in a world with zero demand for it. Here it is:

"Nobody Cares" by Hugh MacLeod
"Nobody Cares" by Hugh MacLeod, GapingVoid.com

The good news for those willing to commit the time and money to do it right: social media success is an attention meritocracy. Like most things in life, it’s a double-edged sword: create and share stuff that serves an audience’s desires and the audience grows. But attempt to use the audience to serve your own needs and you’ll find that, well, NOBODY CARES.

When was the last time you intentionally forwarded a SPAM e-mail to your list of friends, encouraging them to check out the offer? Never, I hope.

Alan Beard
Alan Beard, MPP

And yet, countless corporate marketers are shrinking press releases and sales pitches down to 140 characters so they can intentionally SPAM their audience with “social media” that isn’t social at all.

Official corporate press releases are one small step above SPAM. They are often such highly impersonal, completely unbelievable trust-destroyers that to rewrite them for social media is a disservice to sender and receiver alike. The CEO says it’s “a best-of-breed solution?” Color me intrigued! Where do I sign?!

When was the last time your corporate communications evoked a positive emotion? Have you figured out a way to go beyond self-serving announcements and make someone CARE?

How does your audience want to feel about themselves when they read/watch/share your content? Funny? Important? Smart? Patriotic? Accepted? Understood? Superior?

If you can understand their motivations and create media that draws out the right emotions, you’ll find the population of NOBODY CARES shrinking every day.


Alan Beard (SC ’94, SPP ’99) is an adjunct professor of marketing strategy at Pepperdine University, principal at social media agency McBeard Media, and co-author of Random House best-seller Historical Tweets: The Completely Unabridged and Ridiculously Brief History of the World.

Author of the article
Alan Beard, MPP
Alan Beard, MPP
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