The secret is out.
The bloom is off the social media rose.
Whether you’re a newbie or an old salt (okay, a veteran…) the truth is now becoming apparent: social media has morphed into selling, or advertising, with very little social left. Now, I am not a social media guru – in fact, I don’t follow people who call themselves gurus but I do pray for them because they’re obviously delusional – but as Dylan once said, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Consider how you interact with the platforms you use today. Many FB users keep it primarily for updates from existing friends and family blocking or ignoring others. Pinterest is overrun with ads. Twitter is not about conversation anymore, its about shouting your name from the rooftop. Instagram, et al, have become one way passages broadcasting messages about services to an unwary and uncaring populace.
Social media is akin to the television commercial now: ignored by many except for a brief spot of creativity.
What to do?
For starters perhaps consider what you use social media for and what it delivers to you. I know everyone in the world is on FB, but does it work for you? No? Delete it. In fact, delete any platform that doesn’t add value to your life. Even LinkedIn could be sidelined without harm: I know successful business people who have no use for it – despite what LI would have you believe, you could create a career without it.
Once you’ve winnowed your portfolio to the few platforms you really care about, ask yourself what you want to get out of them. If you’re fine with the relentless self-promotion of some, don’t worry about filtering your friends/followers/etc. If that concerns you (as it does me) simply unfriend/follow/etc whoever is abusing your sense of how you want to use your platform. The beauty of social media – and there is some! – is that many of the platforms are fairly agnostic: you can use them in many different ways.
Now that you’ve reduced your platforms and winnowed your friends there’s one more thing. Set your expectations. If you’re fine with a tweet a day, or a post a week, then do it. If you need to reach out 24/7 that’s okay too, as long as you recognize this will probably annoy most of your readers and they will ultimately drop you.
And that perhaps is the real lesson for social media: we are forgetting the social part.
If you went to a cocktail party or a weekend barbecue and you talked relentlessly about yourself, surprise, you would soon be alone. The same is true on line. If you want to enjoy social media you have to engage – show some interest in others, retweet others, +1 somebody else for a change. Despite what you may have heard, its not all about you.
If, on the other hand #SoMe is nothing but another advertising outlet for you, please do continue to spew your patter about and please don’t be surprised when people stop following/liking/caring.
Social Media is a tool for connecting and sharing, but its one tool of many. If you’re not getting what you want out of it, consider how you’re using it, and – gasp – maybe try another tool. You can’t do social media if you’re anti-social.