A look at what – and who – is pushing the future in new directions

Re-calibrating Perception on the “Social” in Social Media

Making Twitter Money!Oh, how many times have I thrown my hands up in despair, mere mental inches away from deleting my Twitter account forever. Sometimes, despite my best intentions and the interests that drove me to consider communications as a career in the first place, I just want to escape.

It’s the politics, the unstoppable gold rush for new followers and retweets, likes and hearts. And yes, I play the game. Interest in SEO and Web analytics means that I spend hours looking at where people are coming from, how long they’re staying and how engaged they are – thinking of ways to achieve more and reach further.

And yet, sometimes I have to close my eyes and mentally drift away …

According to Sarah Lacy, I’ve lost the plot or at least have a tendency to drift. In her excellent article this Monday over at Tech Crunch, “If You’ve Got Social Media Fatigue, UR DOIN IT WRONG,” Sarah gives her view on those who are just sick and tired of all clicking and updates.

She makes two main points, in my opinion:

1) There are those who want to love social media in a purer form, but can’t deal with the fact that not everyone sees it their way. (Me, at times) These individuals may indulge in talk of ye olden days of social media (around 2008) with a heavy heart. These people are doing it wrong.

2) Social media is easy love. It’s not hard to reach 1,000 friends or accumulate Twitter followers if that’s what you’re trying to do. Retweets and Likes don’t always signify a “sale” – the commitment is too easy. In fact it’s almost no commitment at all.

That ease of communication and connection is what makes social media seem like kind of a bloated concept at time, but it’s also what Sarah believes makes these sites so worthwhile.

“What made social media a phenomenon were moments like these. Passively connecting in-and-out of a persistent conversation with people you know and see everyday, people you know but have lost touch with, and people you don’t know but share interests with. People who in a more efficient world, you might have known. It’s about making relationships more efficient. My parents know what I’ve been up to by reading my Twitter feed, so when I call home I don’t have to answer a vague question like “What have you been up to?” I answer a specific question like “What country are you traveling to now?” If a friend is looking for a job at a given company, I can’t always remember who I know who works there, but with LinkedIn, I don’t have to. And seeing what an old flame looks like on Facebook never gets old.”

I don’t think there is such a thing as social media abuse. In almost every situation, you have the power to turn off communications. And in the end, if what you’re getting out of it isn’t feeding into your life in some sort of worthwhile way, then you probably don’t need that input to begin with.

Plus, it makes sense for some people and organizations to have massive followings on Twitter and other social accounts. For example CNN tweets the news, David Lynch tweets the weather, some brands tweet product updates and sales … the same for Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, Ning, etc. There is no one “honest” way to use social media, but I do think that there are different approaches that are more or less genuine for certain users.

Either way, whether it’s a moment of excitement when Justin Bieber retweets you or a digital signifier of your commitment to Spam, you set the rules when it comes to social media. If you’re tired of feeling like you’re in a race for relevance, then, as Sarah would say, “UR DOIN IT WRONG.”

It’s a little old (2009) and not completely on the same topic, but anything Merlin Mann has to say about social media is worth opening up to. In my opinion, that is.

(image via Venture Beat)

Article By: Forest Taylor

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