Fans of the original RoboCop movie remember all too well the searing disappointment with its two sequels. The original RoboCop movie was bloody, intensely violent, dystopian, and wonderful to watch as we saw nearly-deceased police officer Alex Murphy wreak vengeance on his would-be killers and try to find his humanity again inside his robotic self.

The first RoboCop movie was a box office success, which immediately activated the sequel machine. In the following movies, producers largely made the human story a subplot to lots of shooting, lots of gadgets, and even more gadgets. I can just hear the conversations in the executive suite now…

“RoboCop needs more cool somehow… I know, to jazz up this franchise, let’s give him a jetpack! The kids will love it!”

What made RoboCop successful wasn’t the gadgets. It was the stories, the fairly complicated subplots in the original that were abandoned for larger explosions and more gadgets in the sequels, which did increasingly poorly at the box office.

Your social media efforts aren’t so different.

Rather than looking for the next big thing, the next shiny object, the next bit of wizardry to spruce up your social media presence, stop for a moment and assess what has given you success so far. If you’ve achieved any level of success, a good bit of it is likely from your human efforts, from your story-based work and not the social media equivalent of rocket backpacks.

As you assess your social media efforts for this year, put aside the platforms and technologies for a little bit and look at what stories you are currently telling, what stories you plan to tell, and how your audiences and communities will receive those stories. This year, I’m certain the platforms will change. Stuff that’s hot right now will be less so, and there will undoubtedly be newer, shinier things.

Had the producers of RoboCop’s sequels left the gadgets behind and focused on the story of the human beneath the machine, they might have made even more box office gold. Don’t let the same fate happen to your social media efforts. Forget the gadgets. Bring out the human behind your social media machinery and tell those stories instead.


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