by Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) The ability to share everything everywhere has driven the social media revolution. A new maturity is taking hold and the trend is back to relevant sharing in more-intimate communities. What does this mean for brands?

Facebook is all over this and Mark Zuckerberg recently commented, “Our digital social environments will feel very different over the next 5+ years, re-emphasizing private interactions and helping us build the smaller communities we all need in our lives.”


Everyone who knows me knows I don’t like WhatsApp groups. I like the idea of them but their misuse causes me much irritation.

In the old days, when email was the only thing there was the scourge of unnecessary reply-alls. It feels insignificant these days, compared to what social media has wrought. Now, WhatsApp groups set up for a specific reason stray very quickly from their lane. It often feels as if some people see them as an open invitation to sharing whatever is on their minds to as many people as possible. My pet hate is happy birthday messages. Is there anything with less meaning than a birthday message on a group? If you need a reminder and are too lazy to message directly, what’s the point?

Thankfully, friends who used to post every minutia of their lives on Facebook have diminished as even they realise that no-one is really that interested. And a like has very limited currency.

I have access to my teenage son’s Instagram account and I can already see how obsessively curating and editing is forming all the content. Anything irrelevant and posted without thought and meaning is very likely to be embarrassing.

Good news

It may not seem so but all of this is good news for brands.

Digital advertising up until now has mirrored the oversharing approach: try and reach as many people as possible with whatever message and hope that the 0.5% who aren’t annoyed will click. The shift to smaller communities that are understood should result in the ability to target in a much more meaningful way.

Relevant messages to relevant people at a relevant time.

We may finally be closer to a digital advertising model where it might actually be possible for a brand to make an impact.


Martin MacGregorMartin MacGregor (@MartMacG) has been managing director of Connect, the M&C Saatchi media agency with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, since 2012. He has spent 22 years in the industry, having previously worked at Ogilvy and been MD of Nota Bene (now Wavemaker) in Cape Town. Martin contributes the monthly “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to

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