“I Hate Social Media”

I heard the quote in the title above recently from a friend of mine over dinner, and it surprised me.

As someone who loves this stuff, I was intrigued by this statement, and I asked my friend, “Why is that?”

His answer was simple.  He said that he didn’t care about keeping up with people from high school on Facebook, or about what’s going on in their lives.  He mentioned that it seemed false to him.

This response made it abundantly clear that he didn’t understand what social media really encompasses.  Sadly, this is a not uncommon reaction to this still-somewhat-fledgling method of marketing and promotion.

So, what is social media, anyway?

Is it Facebook?  Twitter?  Blogging?  Posterous?  YouTube?

Sure it is.  It’s all of these platforms and many more.

Here’s a quick definition that I developed for my own use:

Social media means using online video, photo, and writing tools (most of which are free) to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones.  This can be used for purely social purposes, or to promote yourself or your brand.  As a result, almost anything that you can do in the world of face-to-face networking can now be accomplished online.  The operative word there is “almost”.  🙂

Every business can benefit from the proper use and implementation of social media tools.  Yes, EVERY business.  Even B2B sales are conducted by….people.

If you’re doing things right, you can give your prospects a 3-dimensional view of yourself and/or your business.  What sets you apart?  What stories can you share?  I am amazed at which of my blog posts have brought me real-world dollars over the years.  Sometimes, it’s a post about funny things my kids said.  Once, it was a post about my church.

I’m not so naive that I assume that all consumers want to hear my life story, but those who are active in social media just might.

We’ve probably all heard this sage advice at some point:  “Go where your customers are.”  With over 500 million users on Facebook (1/2 of whom log on daily), and 300 million registered on Twitter now, clearly there are a few customers there, huh?

YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google.  You might have known that already, but did you know that more and more people are spending time online watching videos rather than watching actual television sets?

I think it’s easy to discount those things we don’t understand. Social media seems to fall into this category pretty often.

Traditional thinking would dictate that if a marketing method is free, it probably won’t work.  Traditional thinking probably would have kept us from going to the moon in 1969, or from developing vaccines, or starting the internet in the first place.  I promise you that you don’t want to be thinking like the crowd if you want to make an impact on the world.

The “you get what you pay for” maxim doesn’t apply here.  However, you do need to invest your time to make it work.

I’m still exploring the world of social media, which is ever-changing.  As a word of advice, don’t hate or disparage things that you don’t understand.  No progress and few successes were ever accomplished as the result of having a closed mind.

I realize that if you’re reading this, you are likely already a “convert” to the social media realm.  Either way, I thought this was a topic worth discussing.

What are you thoughts?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/2191404675/

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  • Well said Jeremy. I find the social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to make not only business connections but to also enrich friendships both new and old.

    We are all such busy people these days that without this communication and connection tool we would not be afforded the opportunity to reach and connect with so many people on any give day.

    I for one thoroughly enjoy social media.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts.

  • Hi Linda – Glad you enjoyed this post. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. By the way, Jeremy didn’t write this one – I did. 🙂

  • I have a pretty intense love/hate relationship with social media. Every time that a new service comes along, I roll my eyes and think, “Jeezi Creezi, what now?” I did it with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blip, you name it. The only social media thing that I did cotton to was blogging, but that’s mostly because I’m a writer. I didn’t really ever turn on comments until recently (say 2 years ago) because frankly I didn’t give a crap what others had to say.

    If I were to weigh social media in the balance I would say this: about 90% of the new friends and colleagues I’ve made/met in the past 3 years have been thanks to social media. The bulk of that has been through Twitter. Actually, if I were being honest, I’d say it was because of Tweetups, which were powered partly by Twitter, but my point is is that I didn’t really start relationships until I met people face to face.

    So I’m pretty happy about that. Actually, I’m overjoyed. Austin in particular has some incredible people in it, and I’m really psyched to know these folks. We’ve done business together, had drinks, trained for marathons, helped each other out of jams, had people over for dinner, you name it.

    Of course, I’ve also met some ridiculous lowlifes via social media, the kind of people that make me ashamed to be a homo sapiens, but those people have always existed. It’s just now that we have social media, those jerkoffs can pretty much follow me around unless I aggressively block them.

    And yes, it is easy to keep engaging with people via Twitter or Facebook, although I have my doubts about Facebook (it’s run by a bunch of sanctimonious shitheads who think privacy is something that people on another planet care about). But I digress.

    Here’s what I hate about social media: it’s 90% crap. To be fair, 90% of everything is crap, but now we have a hyper-aggressive Rube Goldberg contraption for multiplexing the crap across all available spectrums. Some days it feels like all we’ve managed to do with social media is supplant annoying ads from ad agencies with everyone’s constant thoughts, checkins, musical choices (and yeah I was harassing everyone with my 80s metal this morning), and who knows what else.

    And then, to make things even BETTER, a sizable fraction of social media adherents choose to replicate their streams across various platforms, so I have to see their checkins on Twitter and Facebook. Then they blog about it so I see it in my feeds. Then others retweet and fave and “curate” and aggregate and it’s enough to make me tired. Really, I only need to know just a little bit about you, but we’re now oversampling the hell out of each other.

    The other thing that bothers me about social media is that it’s just one big machine that feeds the self-selection paradox. The self-selection paradox states that only people who are suitably motivated (either because of a really positive or negative experience) ever shift their butts into gear to say something. So if all we did is wait for input we’d just hear from the 2% of the world who are on one side of the bell curve or the other. Fans or partisans.

    As it turns out social media is a fantastic battleground for fans & fanatics. So now I have to hear all about how you love this restaurant or hate the long lines at this other place, or how this bar has a great bartender while this record store is so impossibly hip that they won’t let mere mortals in the door. That’s all great, I love it, let me know, I love intelligence, but dammit, it’s all mixed up like a giant Jackson Pollock painting and it’s hard to draw any inferences without brutal filtration systems.

    Actually, calling social media a Jackson Pollock painting is really way too nice. He had intent, and vision, and talent. Most of what we’re seeing is just stochastic flinging of random effluvia. I’ve always said, we no longer have to wonder what our society would be like if we were able to read minds–we now have Twitter, and that’s more than enough thank you.

    So, yes, people are great. Dealing with people’s streams, meh.