Indigenous mentoring organisation AIME is quitting social media, with the organisation’s founder and CEO Jack Manning Bancroft describing the platforms “addictive, dangerous, and unhealthy.”

Manning Bancroft shared a post across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Friday saying the not-for-profit was leaving “social media for good.”

Founded in 2005 AIME, which stands for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, currently has more than 150,000 Facebook followers, 1,200 Twitter followers and 20,000 Instagram followers.

Previously it partnered with Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown to raise more than $500,000 to fund mentoring programs designed to support indigenous high school students enter higher education, training and employment.  

Manning Bancroft, who started the organisation at age 19 while studying at Sydney University, told Which-50 the organisations wouldn’t be commenting beyond the post, which outlined its reasons for leaving social media.

It appears the organisation has suspended any activity across its social pages rather than deleting accounts.

“We believe in smart people and dumb phones. We believe in human potential and intelligence. We believe in depth, nuance, simplicity, and complexity. We know social media is no longer democratic, led by advertising, and built off the same algorithms used by slot machine designers – it’s addictive, dangerous, and unhealthy,” he wrote.

“We don’t want to lower the bar and gamify real life human stories. We don’t want to be in a world where there are barriers between us and you. We don’t want a social media company telling us to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to make sure you can hear about what you already have selected you want to know by following AIME.”

Instead, the organisation will be focusing on telling its own stories through its website and newsletter and, in 2019 will launch a magazine at university campuses where AIME is active.

Social Circles

Criticism of social media has ramped up in frequency and ferocity over the past twelve months. Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff has started comparing Facebook to cigarettes and high profile veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg was among the individuals who decided to leave the platform.

But marketers and the companies they represent are still largely dependent on the social media machine.

Tim Hill, co-founder of analytics company Social Status said the move from AIME reminded him of the #deletefacebook movement early last year, when in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal Elon Musk had the official Facebook pages for his Tesla and SpaceX companies deleted.

(Tesla still does not have an official Facebook page.)

Hill noted in a blog post last year it’s hard for brands to quit social media because it’s effective.

“When I read the post about AIME moving off Facebook I thought it was a fairly extreme move. Whilst I agree with AIME’s sentiments around Facebook being led by advertising — so are all other mass comms channels really. Facebook being addictive, dangerous and unhealthy can also be said for several media channels/publishers when not consumed in moderation,” Hill told Which-50.

“The upside for AIME I believe is short term – one that creates a bit of buzz for the organisation because of their move but I believe it’s detrimental in the mid- to long-term. Dismissing a channel used actively by over half the population (and growing when you consider the Facebook group of apps) is a bit reckless. Retreating to website and email exclusively is also a tough solution — ultimately at some point they will need to drive traffic with paid acquisition.”

Facebook has been criticised for making algorithm changes which have killed organic reach by some pages. Hill says through the Social Status analytics platform shows that organic reach is still alive for some brands, although, “It depends on the community and the content at the end of the day.”

Emma Lo Russo, CEO of social and digital analytics technology company Digivizer, says her company is not seeing anything statistically relevant in terms of consumers leaving Facebook.

“The impetus for leaving is usually either an individual not feeling comfortable that there is a good-enough value exchange for their time or the use of their data, or a company not seeing results from organic investment,”  Lo Russo told Which-50.

“Facebook is now mostly a pay-to-play platform (you need to invest in advertising, making this more-challenging for non-profit organisations). It is more-difficult to see meaningful results from investing dollars in content to present organically, whereas you can still gain great value via paid advertising or via their communities, Instagram or Messenger.”

Noting that there is no “one size fits all” rule for social strategies, Lo Russo said companies should consider which platform their customers are on, and ask whether the time they spend in content, or on paid advertising, is delivering the best ROI across each platform.”

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