Is Social Media Becoming Selfish Media?

Filed as Features on November 12, 2008 8:27 am

Why do you participate in social media services and networks?

When people talk about Digg and co, very often they are discussing a traffic tactic. You can get a healthy spike of thousands of visitors with a front page link, which is cool, but …

Are bloggers killing social media?

Most of the people I see putting effort into social media now seem to be in it in the hope of gaining a boost to their blog. They are not participating because they enjoy it, they wouldn’t otherwise visit. In fact they only visit to vote because they want others to vote for them.

I’m going to freely admit, while I read Digg, Reddit and SU, the only time I visit some of the smaller sites is because I have been asked to vote.

That’s not good, is it?

How many of the hoardes of Digg users are there because of what their sites can gain, rather than to be a true member?

So my question for you is, if the majority of people piling on to these services are in it for their own gain, will that become toxic to those communities?

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  1. By Sam posted on November 12, 2008 at 10:04 am
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    Bloggers, at large, aren’t harming social media, but gamers and spammers make it a bit of a muck to waddle through. Not all bloggers fit into those categories, thank (deity of your choice).

    I visit Digg to read the stories and comments, and Plurk for the conversations. I don’t think that Digg is especially vulnerable to being ruined by self-promoters (as evidenced by previous episodes of self-promoting blogger angst). Plurk, on the other hand… Well, let’s just say I’m glad that most of the internet still sees Twitter as a more viable marketing route.

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  2. By Ted Murphy posted on November 13, 2008 at 8:16 pm
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    People do things for many reasons, but for the action to be sustainable the reasons have to be economic. Sustained participation in social media will of course have some economic basis.

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  3. By Simin U. Ford posted on November 19, 2008 at 8:44 pm
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    Interesting perspective Chris, but I have to differ. I think social networks have a self-balancing system that allows heavy self-promoters to be left behind. Nobody “has” to listen to them, or “buy” from them, or “visit” their sites, etc. After a while they realize their time investment isn’t paying off.

    The way I see it, if you don’t understand the inherent value that social networks (such as Facebook) have to offer, you’ll never be able to use it effectively. You don’t have conversations there *just* to drive traffic – you have conversations to build communities, to build trust, to build relationships.

    Despite your commercial intent or business goals, these quality relationships are what take you forward. It all comes down to how much value you add to them and vice versa.

    S.F

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