Saturday, August 16, 2008

Being Part of the Social Media Noise

This has been a crazy summer. I feel like I blinked and the calendar turned from May to August in one instant.

The last few months have been great fun, but it seems that my whole world was put in a blender and someone hit frappe. In a split second the time/space continuum became a smoothie of work, vacation, new book, family stuff, etc..... Then in an instant I felt the blades stop and it seems like things are getting back to the normal hectic pace.

My belief is that this is a common experience for many people. Our society is so fast paced and many understand the pressures to get more done with the same amount of time and money.

The antidote for the craziness of a wildly spinning life is having connections with other people who understand you at the level of your soul. Friendships are important to keeping us our prospective in check and giving us a touchstone.

Personal and professional connections are what makes life real. With over 6.6 Billion people on the planet, it can be easy to get lost. The expression "you can't see the forest for the trees" is fitting. There are so many of us that we don't really notice each other.

This is one reason why I think that social media has become so popular. People are longing to connect with each other. Some mistakenly take solace in having a high number of "friends" in Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn. Even when some of these connections are nothing more than a digital link, it makes people feel they are not alone.

I am not knocking social media. I find it to be a very useful business and personal networking platform, and I have made several real friendships with those whom I have met through blogging, Twitter, etc.... Yet I wonder when people will begin to desire to thin the ranks of their online contacts and deliver their limited amounts of time to interacting with those who they can have a real two-way dialogue.

Following someone in a social media arena is not much different that watching TV. I like to follow the "online celebrities" in the social media communities, but I also know they often do not notice me. Much like the cast of LOST has no idea if I am in the living room seeing their performance, when someone is following over 5000 people, they cannot see me. Sheer numbers of followers become like the Neilsen Ratings.

I realize that I am just part of the social media "noise" sometimes. That is okay. But others do hear me, and I listen to them. I enjoy the back and forth discussions that do take place in the online world. I become smarter because of those whom I interact.

Walking the line of social media relevance and uselessness is common. Yet creating valuable mutually beneficial relationships with other people is the core of existence. When we can serve others, and have them do the same for us, we make our crowded planet into a village. Each person can discover their own manner to stand out in the stew of humanity. We can get past the crazy schedules and being lost in the crowd. Together we are not alone.

What do you think? Leave a comment so I can become smarter because of your unique point of view!

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...

Good thoughts, Thom. I think that part of the challenge for each of us is to figure out how much we can stand in terms of social media. For myself, I know I get more out of Twitter by following less than 400 people, more out of blogs by subscribing to less than 200 RSS feeds, and more out of LinkedIn by connecting only to people I would feel confident recommending for a job.

But that's just me, and that's just now. In six months or a year, I may be more open -- or less -- to connecting to more people. And my experience doesn't dictate what works for someone else. We can offer pointers to one another, but pointers is all they are.

Meanwhile, this mass (fun!) experiment in social interaction continues.

Aruni said...

I agree with your thoughts. I especially liked your observation: 'Walking the line of social media relevance and uselessness is common.'

I enjoy participating very much for the social reach and meeting fascinating people. However, I think what business people expected from it (more business) doesn't always pan out. More friendships, definitely!

From a business perspective, often the people you are really trying to reach (the masses) don't have a clue/inkling that social media exists. :-)

As Confucious used to say "Moderation in everything..."