I fume over the spam, sales pitches and fake accounts just like everyone else, but I sense a change online. I find myself using my social media sites (Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin) as quick references rather than hang-out spots.
Is it me or has social media become less social?
A couple of weeks ago I got ripped on by someone via tweet. He thought I was complaining when I was simply stating my opinion (which was that he was wrong.) Later that week, a company tweeted the same message every few minutes throughout the day – trying to slowly drive me mad with their “try this” repeat tweet. I blocked them. Then, I noticed that some of the people I started using Twitter to hang out with were dropping off the radar.
Since then, I have had this feeling that maybe we’re not so social when using social media.
Later, on Linkedin – the safest of social media sites (if can even call it that) – I went to one of my favorite PR groups and all the topics were poorly disguised sales pitches. Gone seem the days when professional discussions were about issues and concerns rather than the latest deals or products.
To add insult to injury, someone I know does not have good feelings about me, tried to friend me on Facebook. It prompted me to look at who I was friends with on FB. I noted that of my 100+ friends, 75 never actually converse with me. On Twitter, half of those who follow me have never conversed with me, either. Recently, I have seen a huge increase in the number of tweets and posts I am privy to, yet most are directing me to read, view or comment on another tweet, post, blog, video or site.
On my blog, I was thrilled to see a post retweeted 10 times (yeah, that’s a big deal for me) but it only had one comment. That’s like dropping by a friend’s house, taking a bite of cake, running out the door, but telling 10 other people to stop buy to see how great the cake was. If it’s so great, stay a while. [Of course, the flip side is no tweets, so let’s not talk about that anymore.]
All of this has made me wonder if it’s still social media or if it’s turned into spam media?
I asked around and here’s what I received as feedback to the question (note only two responses from over 1,000 followers):
- Response 1: Actually, I think [the social aspect has] improved. The tweets are much pithier, there’s less “I’m eating a ham sandwich” and more of putting that into context, i.e. “I’m eating a ham sandwich @ XYZ Restaurant.”
- Response 2: I think it will continue to grow…more people brings more opportunities for companies [emphasis mine] to reach out. Social media will continue to change and evolve.
To me, being social means more people, not more companies; more conversations, not more links.