Stick a fork in me; I’m done. The fat lady has sung. I’m waving the white flag, throwing in the towel and anything else I can find lying around. Alert the media: the personal war I’ve been waging against the interactive Web – social media, user-generated content and personal branding – is over.

I’ve seen the light – experienced an epiphany to end all epiphanies: The Web isn’t the problem; it’s the real world that’s screwed up.

If you’re a Web 2.0 denier like I was, time to wake up and smell the virtual coffee. Forget all that negative stuff and take a fresh look at a new way of doing business. A new way of life. I’m sure you’ll come around, just as I have.

“Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.” Halle-freakin’-lujah.

Facebook is the real world.  

How much time have I wasted decrying the oh-so-many hours a billion people waste on Facebook? How could I have been so wrong? How could I have not seen it? Facebook is the real world now. All our wives are beautiful, our husbands brilliant, our children talented, our pets hilarious, our home lives one impeccably framed picture after another.

What about the ROI? Where we’re going, we won’t need any ROI. We used to go out and do things together. Have dinners. Go to parties. Play sports. Hang out at each other’s homes and talk until the wee hours of the morning. What a waste of precious time and energy. Now we can do all that without getting up off the couch. You can even tweet the President. Maybe he’ll actually “like” it. Or reply. OMG, no way.

It’s the digital economy – old metrics don’t apply.

Forget revenues and profits; only user growth and engagement matters now. Besides, we can always monetize later. Competition? Don’t be silly. Users have insatiable appetites for content, apps and 24×7 news, real or fake. Demand is infinitely elastic. Market share is irrelevant. We’re all growth hackers now.

Never mind low productivity and workforce participation. It’s the gig economy. The sharing economy. The on-demand economy. Nobody needs a job anymore. If you need money, drive an Uber, rent a room on Airbnb or join a content mill. If you’re hungry, become a freegan and go dumpster diving. That’s the sustainable way to live.

GDP and debt ratios are so old school; those metrics don’t apply in the digital economy.

If you brand it, they will come.

In the early days of tech, if you built it, customers came. Then the market matured and technology became commoditized. The market became crowded and competitive. But the almighty Web changed all that. Today, nobody has to make anything anymore. We don’t need products. We’re the products.

The personal branding prophet Dan Schawbel preached the gospel in “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success.” And all the Millennials followed.

How can you not see it. Selling yourself online is so easy. The barriers to entry are virtually nonexistent. All you need is a Mac, a YouTube channel, a unique virtual persona, and you’re an instant viral sensation, just like everyone else. May the personal branding gods be with you.

We can all be Tony Robbins.

Down on your luck? No marketable skills or expertise? No worries! Just make up some inspirational stories that may or may not have happened to you, get an online certificate and become a life coach, a happiness coach, a performance coach, a leadership coach – hell, any kind of coach. It doesn’t really matter; they’re all the same.

Everyone needs a little inspiration from time to time, right? Just get online, find a few hundred inspirational quotes and pull them out as needed. Memorize a few parables and platitudes, while you’re at it. Blog and tweet that feel-good fluff until your thumbs grow callouses. Then write a book about how your morning routine changed your life.

Become a LinkedIn Influencer. Do a podcast. Sell seminars and classes online. Next thing you know, you’ll be self-publishing books and calling yourself a CEO, a serial entrepreneur, an investor, a leader, a #1 best-selling author, an award-winning keynote speaker, whatever sounds good. Just do what everyone does and fake it ‘til you make it.

Don’t be a Web 2.0 denier like I was. Reality may be doomed, but you can be reborn as anything you like online. Can I get a hallelujah!?

Image credit clotho98 via Flickr

A version of this originally appeared at foxbusiness.com.

  • Tom

    Today is May 1 not April 1, right? But late or not, you’ve finally seen the light.

  • BigGameHunter

    Steve, when I look up, I see the bottom of your shoes. This was a spot-on characterization of the evolved human condition. When people’s ideologies become their realities, we won’t be able to expect too much that’s useful to the specie. But, this is one cat that will fight to the end.

    • Steve Tobak

      Right there with you, BGH.

  • Mike from Russia

    Steve, every time after reading your article I say to myself “That’s the most brilliant one, we reached the Top”. And the next time I’m saying: “This one is even better!”. I don’t know how you do it – just don’t stop, please!

    • Steve Tobak

      I’ll stop when they pry this mac out of my cold dead hands. Thanks Mike.

  • Brad

    If people’s lives are truly as incredible, happy, adventure filled, with amazing reality TV worthy events at every turn, where the hell does everyone find the time to chronicle it? If people posted their real life on social media, most of it would generally be a boring or depressing look into the simplicity of the human condition. Oops, sorry, I have to get back to being awesome so I have something to post…(not really)

  • Randall Vincent

    Steve Tobak, #Truth Teller ! Whew! You’ve pretty well summed up our culture of narcissism driven by a bunch of professional slackers. Geez, I’m “almost” glad I’m getting old. The paragraph on “life coaching” reminded me of Penn & Teller’s brilliant episode on their “Bulls#$t” series. Lot’s of “BS” going on in this culture nowadays. Thanks for sharing the “Light”. (Don’t quit Steve! We need you! )