Social media started with an ability to connect us in an era when we were all divided. The wrath of factory mindset had placed the individual behind everyone. Social media brought the balance back. It brought the human connection back. It was postiviely disruptive to the way we work, think and engage with each other.
As with any emerging medium, many flock over to it — some use it for good, some use it for bad and ruin it for many. Many issues are faced — from privacy, content ownership, control, freedom of speech, connections to an ability to form true relationships. I’ve written about it from an organization’s perspective here and at SocialMediaToday but today I wanted to express my thoughts on some of the issues from an individual’s perspective.
As Shel Isreal posted in his Forbes column,
“Social media is now approaching that very same fork. You’ve seen the evidence yourself: Companies with the largest online presence are messing with our personal data, traditional marketers are shouting messages rather than building relationships. Our social streams are being polluted by scammers, spammers, phishers, groupies and people who are not who they claim to be”
In the age of fremium business models, free to use social networks and cloud, we aren’t the consumers anymore of the products anymore, instead we are the products. Web startups like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and others capitalize on our social graphs to sell to the highest bidders.
What started as an open disruptive innovative model is becoming noisy, intrusive and forcing a new understanding of open-(lacking) privacy. The new business models believe in the notion that it is ok to intrude for the sake of hype. From pinterest to path to whatever comes next in the interest of a great IPO. Silicon Valley is full of great startups striving to become the next Facebook. Contrary to what they will tell you — they are all hoping to keep you distracted and making you share your life on the platform while they sell you and your data to the marketers all over the world. That is the model. Simple as that.
It actually becomes worse than that — on a tactical level, do a simple search on twitter or any other social network and you see many gurus, ninjas, experts spamming, screaming, yelling their messages and hoping that you are paying attention. There are even twitter bots spamming on keywords and some major brands have been accused of following such low practises.
In our space, you get bombarded by agencies, consultants, and experts offering you with short-term tactics of gaining ‘followers/likes/insert buzzword’ without a business case. It is not about the tactics. It is about the value that one gets by deploying such a tactic. They fail to realize that the individual is not going to pay attention to things that don’t interest to him or her — infact, it only makes them run away from you. That was not the point of social media. Marketing on social media should be dead by now.
As Shel calls it out, will a quaint picture of a social network being a place where we found old friends and met others who shared our comment interests, be remembered as part of a brief golden age of social media back in the days when young entrepreneurs drove vision into reality; back in the day when markets were conversations and people were treated as something more special than numbers on a spreadsheet?
As Shel calls it out, Will a quaint picture of a social network being a place where we found old friends and met others who shared our comment interests, be remembered as part of a brief Golden Age of Social Media back in the days when young entrepreneurs drove vision into reality; back in the day when markets were conversations and people were treated as something more special than numbers on a spreadsheet?
The medium has indeed become diluted.
Sidenote: I personally know of a world-wide organization that bought followers when they launched on twitter. In cases like these, it often becomes apparent that the organization does not get social nor does the talent that is running the program. (Frankly, if you have interns running your show, you really don’t get the value of the medium. Good experienced top digital talent comes at cost).
Edit: Fixed typo. Thanks Shel. — Bilal