The question we’re looking at here, is the age old “less is more”.
Did Ed Sheeran’s social media detox actually increase his popularity? By doing absolutely nothing, did he catapult himself into a whole new level of stardom?
Plenty of celebrities have embraced a social media detox and taken a break from the melee of online life and there’s many more who could probably do with having a detox themselves.
The most famous example of a social media detox and the one we’re looking at, is without a doubt, Ed Sheeran’s “Gap Year”. The reasoning for his hiatus was laid out in the following tweet;
Right, now you’re up to speed, let’s consider the ulterior motives behind Ed’s social media sabbatical.
There’s two potential reasons in our eyes;
1. It was genuine – the first explanation, is not going to rock the boat. Quite simply he fancied a break – sick of the constant pressure to post on social media, he just wanted to leave it all behind for a while…Boring!
2. Strategy – This is where we start to dig a little deeper. Basically, we’re arguing he may have planned the whole shebang. He sat down with his team at the end of 2015 and decided he would be releasing music in 2017. He even alludes to the very fact – “the 3rd album is on its way”. This lets people know he is definitely coming back and starts the rumblings of anticipation.
So why plan a year out? Well for two very good reasons.
1. Anticipation – It’s not like people forgot who Ed Sheeran was, in fact his following on social media increased during his year out. Many people tuned in to see if he could achieve an unblemished year, when this elusive 3rd album might surface and what followed was a steady stream of articles about his various shenanigans during his time off. This meant that as people talked about when he might return, the suspense grew. The anticipation of when he might return and what he would return with kept people on the edge of their seat and Ed firmly in their minds without the need to do anything.
2. Impact – A whole year off means the biggest possible impact upon return. The longer the gap grew the more anticipation grew with it, meaning when he finally returned, the whole world went crazy (and I mean crazy, pictures to follow). This gave him the best possible platform to release new music, as he was planted slap bang in the middle of public consciousness again after doing nothing for a whole year, in fact, because he did nothing for a whole year.
We’ve all heard time and time again, “we want what we can’t have” and “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. While Ed was away we pined for him, we eagerly awaited his return with bated breath, clinging on to the solace that a 3rd album was on its way.
So, just how well did this “strategy” do for Ed Sheeran?
Well as you can see from the image below, pretty damn well indeed. In a further well planned PR stunt Mr Sheeran posted a series of teasers which set tails wagging. He then released two new tracks off his forthcoming album which battled it out for the number one spot.
Not only that but his social media following increased and his interactions went through the roof. Before his social media detox Ed posted on twitter almost daily, averaging a solid number of combined likes and retweets ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. The fabled sign off tweet below was firmly within this average.
However, after his year out his tweets have received significantly more interactions. His first tweet back after exactly one year out (yeah like that wasn’t planned) received 4 times as many interactions as the “goodbye for now” post.
We’re not saying he definitely planned it a year in advance, but it’s also not beyond comprehension. Maybe it’s a bit of both, he did genuinely fancy a year out, and he, and his team knew that they could mastermind the comeback of all comebacks.
Just to make this clear, we’re not saying this technique is a hard and fast rule to follow and that everyone should give it a go. But it worked mightily well for Ed Sheeran, didn’t it!
Let us know what you think?
Here’s some of our favourites pictures of fans losing their minds over the news.