Redirect the Jabs, Hook (and Jabbering): Social Media went South

Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, attempts a knockout. As for metaphorical imagery, jabs and right hooks effectively spin an instructive and interesting yarn. Vaynerchuk’s tutorial on how to conquer the digital marketplace is immediately relevant (at least in the United States). Even a few years ago, the book’s platforms didn’t even exist. The same may hold true in a few years hence. They may not even exist, or at least with the power and prevalence they enjoy today. I doubt that causes concern for the author as the evanescent popularity of marketing models and methods, along with their accoutrement platforms, promises untold sequels to Jab Jab’s current marketing missives.

Despite Vaynerchuck’s best intentions, I’m compelled to question a central premise. Will social media retain its power and pull, at least in America and Europe for the long haul? Sure, people will dabble in social media to a certain extent for years, even decades. But will today’s wonders become tomorrow’s yawns? With a flurry of jabs pummeling people from all ends, they likely will not need a right hook to score a knockout. They’ll fall flat on to the ground, victims of jab overload. It will not take a pummeling to lay them out, but simply the incessant prickling and needling as marketers pick their data like an irritating and somewhat painful scab. No doubt digital downloads are here to stay. However, nostalgia can trump novelty. The resurrection of vinyl proves that simplicity and nostalgia have a place (and a market) on the nearside of the digital divide.


When I wrote about Brazil’s ascending interest and import in social media for the Huffington Post and the Vail Daily over a year ago, I referred to reports in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal that social media usage was headed south, literally and figuratively. While Vaynerchuck examined American social media platforms, Hoot Suite CEO Ryan Holmes advises differently, as glaringly apparent in his column’s title, “The Future Of Social Media? Forget About The U.S., Look To Brazil.” It appears that a huge market is willing, even eager, for some jabbing (and jabbering) even as Americans withdraw. The Brazilian culture valued a vibrant collective social life long before mass media expanded beyond broadcast outlets to communication platforms. If marketers want to play the pugilist, Brazil is where the right hooks will score their intended knockouts with greater frequency. The subtext (and subtitle) of Vaynerchuck’s book, “How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social Media World” has it correct. The social media environment is both noisy and global. Noise can be deafening and the world extends beyond our borders and behaviors. If Americans become unable or unwilling to hear the message, Brazil wants in on the conversation. The key word is conversation; not reception. The author emphasizes that content is king, but context is God. Vaynerchuck’s compiled platforms are incomplete. It appears that anyone interested in marketing should seriously study the Brazilian landscape for both content and context.

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3 Responses to Redirect the Jabs, Hook (and Jabbering): Social Media went South

  1. Nicholette says:

    “Jab Overload”- this is a very real affliction! Very interesting to read about the relationship between social media and emerging BRICS countries, namely, Brazil. I think you are on to something when you discuss the somewhat transient relationship between Americans and social media platforms which ultimately leads to withdrawal… look at Facebook, scrambling to retain their original audience as we move on to the next best thing. The situation is always the same: “Jabbing” commences as platforms realize that monetization is needed, users are “overloaded” with jabs and user growth plateaus, bureaucracy takes hold in an effort to fix the situation, innovation screeches to a halt, and the only solution is to buy out competing platforms (like Instagram) and become a metaphoric industry vampire, feeding off of fresh new technologies in an effort to not become obsolete. I completely agree that if marketers want to get more bang for their buck, thinking globally and targeting countries like Brazil (that have yet to be completely inundated with jabs) will result in more successful right hooks. Americans are beginning to tune out- just as we did with TV commercials. Great post.

  2. Wayne says:

    Nicholette, your response to my post added context and additional insight into the global dynamics and current social media overload in the U.S. Particularly insightful is your explanation of the corporate process — the “metaphoric vampire” and the feeding frenzy of new start ups from former start ups-turned-mainstream corporations to regain a competitive cutting edge. Thanks for adding insightful context to the post!

  3. Graham says:

    Interesting post Nicholette. I like your points about Jab overload and the potential in the Brazilian market but Brazil has long been a very different market with unique customs, sales strategies and interests. Not to mention the politics and language (I believe Portugese is dominant) are both dissimilar to the US. Holding up the Vaynerchuk lens over Brazil is a fun exercise but ultimately it’s not what it was intended for. I’m sure even Gary would admit that some core principles are transferrable but you probably need a different book to go to another market as unique as brazil is. I think if Americans become unreceptive to the jabs out there it’s probably because they are migrating to other sources as when MySpace users jumped ship for Facebook. Remember, people lose interest in social media outlets because marketers ruin them so sometimes we have to find channels that are still fresh, but giving up on your audience may not be the best solution.