The world population of Content Marketing Experts is exploding at an unsustainable pace -- 12 times the growth of the population as a whole, and nearly twice as fast as One Direction fan blogs, according to recent pretend census data.
Also known as Social Media Gurus, Life Coaches, Catalysts for Strategic Transformation, and various other Twitterlocutions, Content Marketing Experts clog your feeds with inspirational quotes and invitations to share and retweet and upvote their latest free article about -- well, they're pretty much always about content marketing.
This new quasi-professional class doesn't produce actual contenty kind of content, you know: only thinly-veiled advertisements for their services. It's really content-marketer marketing, if that makes sense, and they are the product they sell. Helpful e-books and webinars meant to induce you to hire their services, long-ass comments on blog posts that craftily guide back to their own blog posts, maybe the occasional self-published paperback, printed on demand for the upcoming speaking engagement, glossy with snake oil.
They write in the second person, as if they are always having a firm conversation with a beloved client. ("Try this thought experiment with YOUR brand...") But the writing is consumed exclusively by other content marketers, all busily keeping up their game, all hawking their own half-baked consultancies.
(A collective of Content Marketing Experts, by the way, is known as an "asshattery.")
Their population is zooming thanks to a temporary competitive advantage conveyed to underemployed digerati, who can afford to spend the workday amassing Klout and trying to sell that "Life Skill" to the busy and gainfully employed. But there's a problem -- a big one. The Content Marketer's natural prey--aging media buyers who don't quite understand all this Tumblr crap, and will gladly pay real money to the first huckster to walk them through it -- are dying off or smartening up fast. And that spells doom. Dinosaur doom.
And so, gaunt and hungry, they gather in their thousands at conferences around the globe, trying vainly to sell their services to one another. ("Wait... you also strategically consult on social publishing for big brands? Um... can I have my card back?") Occasionally they rise, and swarm like Third World children around the door to the Green Room, where an actual Guy from Unilever reportedly lurks, nervously awaiting his speaking fee check so he can pull his coat over his head and make a dash for the airport.
So what the hell are we going to do with all these Content Marketing Experts when the bubble bursts? They are largely unfit for any other employment. Some believe they can be retrained, for example to teach content marketing to the elderly. Or to head to our nation's prisons, where the incarcerated know next to nothing about content marketing. ("Hey Ace -- Could Johnson & Johnson's No More Tears receive prominent cheek placement near that teardrop tattoo?")
But that would only perpetuate the problem. No, the government is going to have to render long-term assistance to wind this down. The vast bulk of Content Marketing Experts will have to be retired to specialty farms, like old circus chimps, with carpeted enclosures and plenty of Evian and co-branded notepads.
A world where they can live out their days peacefully, shuffling from panel to panel, following one another on Twitter, and advising visiting kindergarten groups (making faces through the protective glass) on the value of decisive response in social.
A world where the conference always has one more day, and nobody ever has to return to Earth.
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