I know that a lot of people comment on how far ahead of their time the Beatles were, especially John, who was one of the first rock stars I know of to use fame to actually try to change the world. However, what *very* few people realize is that the Beatles actually wrote a lot of their songs about Social Media, which seems weird since it didn’t exist yet. Even weirder is that a lot of the songs they wrote dealt with engagement online, which I mean…it works out great for me and my Engagement Series, but who woulda thunk??
You don’t believe they were that far ahead of their times, eh? Oh ye cynics. Well, alright. Let me lay this out for you.
1. Can’t Buy Me Love: This song is very clearly a message to those people and companies who try to sell Twitter followers or Facebook fans. What these companies and people are really selling you are numbers. You only get true online “love” by engaging with folks on your own. The Beatles knew that without a doubt.
2. Eight Days A Week: Somehow, the Beatles knew that the commitment to Social Media was going to be more than a 24/7 proposition. Eight Days A Week perfectly describes the Social Media experience. I’m not sure why they get into that “love you all the time” bit. Probably to disguise their true meaning. Anyway, to build your online community it really does seem to take 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. If you’re new to the online world, you will be discovering this facet of this space very soon!
3. Get By With a Little Help From My Friends: This one is very obviously all about engagement online. Even though you can of course have your own goals and objectives, you really need other people to help you out. And let’s be honest, other people are a key component to “Social” media, right?
4. Help: As we’ve talked about before, people are often hesitant, both online and in real life, to ask for help. John clearly had this in mind when he penned this trademark song. If you have questions, you should ask, and when you’re not feeling so confident and sure of yourself, call on your allies to build you back up again.
5. I’m Lookin’ Through You: This one is a bit more sinister, but the Beatles clearly understood that meeting people online may not be the same thing as meeting people in real life (and the opposite also holds true, by the way). Just because you get to know someone really well via Twitter doesn’t mean they’ll always stay that way, and it doesn’t mean they’re just the same in real life either. This might be sad, but it is in fact true.
6. Let It Be: Paul did a lot of thinking about online drama, trolls, and things like that, and those thoughts led him to write Let It Be – great advice for anyone trying to engage online.
7. Act Naturally: Now, Ringo references being a Hollywood actor in this song, but I think it’s pretty clearly a song about how to present yourself online. You don’t want to put out a personality that you can’t maintain or that isn’t genuine. As much as possible, you want to, well, act naturally!
8. I Me Mine: Now, one thing you need to watch when you’re acting naturally is that you don’t want to create the “me” show. As George so succinctly puts it in this song (He was the quiet Beatle but he could make a point), I Me Mine is not a great way to engage with people.
9. Glass Onion: A lot of people think Lennon was making a big societal observation in this song, but now you know the truth – he was talking about the gap that can exist between online “superstars” and, well, the rest of the folks. It can seem like the big influencers, cool kids, whatever you want to call them, are living on the sunny side of the street, far from what you might be experiencing if you’re new to this world. You’ll relate to this song. I promise.
10. I Want To Tell You: Well, you can guess how this relates to the online world. All we do is because we want to tell people stuff. Right?
11. Love Me Do: A lot of online engagement is about feeling the love. When we write a post we sometimes say we’re hoping for some comment love. Heck, there’s even a commenting system *called* CommentLuv. We thank people sometimes for the RT love. And there’s that little detail that people we engage with on Twitter are called followers. On Facebook – “fans.” If that ain’t love, well…it just is!
12. No Reply: If this isn’t about the early months on Twitter and in blogging, then my name isn’t Margie Clayman. That’s all I have to say about that.
13. We Can Work It Out: This is such a poignant song, and it works so well for online engagement, doesn’t it? “Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friends.” My engagement philosophy in a nutshell. How about you?
14. You Never Give Me Your Money: So here’s how ahead of their time the Beatles were. Not only did they write about Social Media engagement, but they also wrote about what some of the counter-arguments to engagement would be. There are a lot of people singing this song right now, I think, and they may feel like focusing on engagement is not the best thing to do right now. The Beatles have you covered.
15. Do You Want To Know A Secret? This song again indicates how well the Beatles understood the dangers of online engagement. This song, as anyone could tell upon thinking about it, is all about the dangers of gossipping online. It also has an undercurrent of warning about sharing too many of your own secrets online – a real no no!
16. Hello Goodbye: The line that clued me in to the Social Media tie here is “I don’t know why you say goodbye I say hello.” Indeed, it seems sometimes like people you enjoy talking to are always leaving just as you’re signing on. This is especially true if you’re on opposite sides of the world. Those time zones really get in the way!
17. I’ll Be Back: If you listen to this song carefully, you can tell that it’s about someone who has been wronged online (again, I don’t know where the line “and when I do you better hide all the girls” plays in). They may have been down and out, but as Lennon sings, they’ll be back, and then you’d better watch out!
18. I’m A Loser: Now, this one is very very interesting. It really goes back to the “act naturally” message, but it acknowledges that even though we may “act like clowns,” we sometimes are wearing frowns beyond the computer screen. Can this affect how you engage with people? Of course! Also, calling yourself a loser is not a happy way to engage with people, and they are likely to show concern.
19. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown): There’s a lot going on in this song, but the mention of the bird is clearly, when you think about it, a reference to Twitter. The song outlines a messy engagement situation that makes the person want to light a fire and burn the whole situation down. Now, it’s possible to get into those kinds of situations on Twitter, but fire is really not the best option. Nor is quitting or letting the trolls beat you.
20. All You Need Is Love: In the end, you really have to love what you’re doing online in order for things to work out. In order to get the love, you need to give the love. And there really isn’t anything you can’t make if you keep your focus on it. Love yourself, love your objectives, love the experience. Yep, that’s all you need.
There, see? I told you the Beatles wrote a lot about online engagement. How did they know all of this? I have no idea. We’ve always known they were geniuses. This just goes to prove it!
Now, maybe you’ve uncovered other Beatles songs that also reveal this expertise of theirs. If you have, would you share them here for the rest of us?
Oh, and I told you so 😉
This is post #75 in the Engagement Series. If you’re worried about missing a post, please hit that big subscribe button over there!