Social Media Misrepresentation

Filed as Guides on March 13, 2009 7:31 am

John Stewart TwitterSocial Media gets a bad rap in the media, and in discussions. How much of it is warranted, and how much is just bad press and spin? John Stewart can be forgiven, his portrayal is both hilarious and as biting as you would expect, nay, demand from the jester of news himself.

When you read about social media written about you see one of two scenarios:

  • People spewing inane ramblings about minutiae of their lives
  • Business opportunity unlike anything since the creation of the printing press

Often the first option goes in for some heavy celebrity-bashing into the bargain. The second raises expectations to a point that are going to cause most people to feel their results are disappointing.

When normal folks discuss social media, you get a slightly different reaction:

  • Why would I want to share what I am doing every minute of the day, or read about someone else’s equally moronic outpourings?
  • My customers are not wasting their time on social media therefore I would be wasting my time trying to find them there

The problem is of course there is a lot of rubbish in social media. Social media is about people, and a lot of the time what people talk about is meaningless or irrelevant to us, and what we find fascinating is going to be incoherent drivel to them in return.

It’s like saying “I picked up a tabloid from the supermarket news stand and oh-my-gosh it was full of rubbish! All newspapers are trash!” or “I picked up this show on cable television and it was just teenagers hanging out and talking about dating, who wants to watch that? Television is rubbish!”.

What makes the biggest difference is who you connect with.

  • If you are not interested in celebrities, don’t listen to what they have to say.
  • If you find someone communicates in a style you don’t like, disconnect from them.
  • If you think your customers are not using social media but do not want to take steps to find out, then let some other company engage them.
  • If you think you are at risk of wasting your time, then don’t devote a lot of time to it.

I can trace clients directly to engaging people on twitter but I don’t sell on there. By the same token, I have used the block feature a couple of times, once because the person was abusive, and a few times for spammers. Just because you are on twitter doesn’t mean you have to follow everyone and there is no shame in not even following people you know in real life. I know the quantity and subject matter of my tweets are not for everyone, I accept when people choose to follow me or not, and so should you.

Social media is a tool – Use it how it works for you.

If you go to the wrong parties and associate with the wrong people, don’t be surprised if your results are below par :)

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  1. By ian in hamburg posted on March 13, 2009 at 11:44 am
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    Doonesbury had recently done a series on Twitter which is pure gold as well. Stewart’s take on it was spot on. Sure it’s a tool, but it’s also enjoying a lot of media attention right now, which means that it will soon be boring and old hat. Happens every time.

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  2. By Janette posted on March 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm
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    Nailed it – now I know what to say to my hubby when he disses Twitter, thanks!

    :-)

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  3. By Bill posted on March 15, 2009 at 10:13 am
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    Sturgeon’s Law: “Ninety percent of everything is crud.” Implication? Ten percent is worthwhile. Social Media is the same as everything else in that respect. If you’re passive, don’t be surprised if a lot of stuff seems pointless.

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