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Some thoughts on the future of corporate “empathy farming”
If this article doesn't go viral, my boss* will fire me. Please share.
Corporate social media strategies have evolved to include the human behind the account— often eluding to their overworked and underpaid experience as a social media manager. On TikTok, a common shtick is to post low-effort content with the caption “my boss said he would fire me if this doesn't go viral.”
This (small m) meta-fication of brand social media accounts has allowed corporations to weaponize empathy for the very same reasons those brands should be bullied off the platform.
The evident irony is compounded when you understand the contempt had by executives for the employees behind these accounts (speaking from experience). Social media strategies have become more sophisticated over the years, to be sure. Some organizations have recruited professional writers and comedians to create online content. But the craft of writing a good tweet, for instance, is still viewed as a chore (rather than the art form it is) by the corner-office suits.
AI will replace social media managers. Not just in the name of shareholder value but because the craft was never respected. Such a strategy will present a dilemma for corporations, however. Without a human to shield an exploitative brand from its digital audience, how does said brand garner empathy? It lies about who, or what, is running the account.
*JK, I’m my boss.