post

Time To Put The Social Back Into Social Media

Time To Put The Social Back Into Social Media

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Convenience. Don’t you just love it? I know I do.

We’ve been without a dishwasher since we moved house at the end of August. Oh boy, I’ve missed having one.

I’ve been the chief dishwasher and it feels like dishes are constantly piling up around me, calling me into the kitchen, trying to get my attention.

Actually most of the time I don’t really mind. We live on the third floor of a building built in the 1700s and the view out of the is certainly inspiring.

Looking across the Firth of Forth to the Fife hills, I can see snow on the hilltops some days. I can almost get lost in the view.

It’s a time when I can let my imagination go to work and when I often come up with what I’m going to write about next.

Then only the other day, we got around to buying a dishwasher. Ah yes, convenience is back.

Gone will be my baby soft hands and standing at the kitchen window looking over to the hills. I will need to find a new place to gather my thoughts and to gain inspiration.

It got me thinking whether convenience is really such a good thing in some cases.

What happened to the social in social media?

We spend so much time these days on social media sites and they are so convenient, even.

Facebook used to draw my attention for hours; so many games and I could find out everything my friends were doing and keep in touch with them so easily.

But is it really real? And do I really care if someone ‘likes’ the next best thing? Not really.

To me, social media is somewhat artificial and I long for the days when face to face contact was still the main way to do things.

Facebook can make you feel like you know what your friends are doing but you don’t really.

It almost becomes an excuse not to speak to people as you perceive you already know how they are and how they are feeling.

You don’t speak with them as often because you see their status updates.

But just like washing dishes the old-fashioned way gave me time to contemplate life and a thinking space, face-to-face meetings make things so much more personal and keep bonds alive.

That’s not always possible I know but I think the key going forward needs to be more engagement on social media and less of the stalking by status update!

So what about social media and business?

I feel like I’m in the Matrix with Twitter these days. Endless streams of Tweets and Retweets, mostly of this blog post and that blog post.

And how do you perceive value from all of this data? Do you have to be Neo? Do you have to be ‘The One’ to decipher the Twitter Matrix?

I maybe look at 1 in 20, or probably closer to 1 in 30 of the links I see coming past me. The others just fade away into the distance.

Triberr has made this whole thing ten times worse. I feel almost compelled to share things on Triberr even if I’ve not read them and it just convolutes the Twitter feed even more.

Have Google+ and Facebook fallen foul of the same endless stream of blog broadcasts too? I’m thinking maybe a little.

Even the Facebook Groups I belong to don’t seem to have any engagement in them any more; just endless streams of people promoting their latest blog post.

I’m hoping Google+ communities can bring some engagement back into social media and so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised by one of the communities I’ve joined.

I’ve already seen from another Google+ community I joined though that the same thing is already happening; streams of blog post promotions.

I admit it. I’m even guilty of it. Whenever I read a blog post I always share it on Twitter and if I really like the post I’ll share it on Google+ and other social media sites. I also share my blog posts on social media sites too.

I know people need somewhere to promote their latest and greatest thing and social media sites are perfect for it. It’s a great way to get traffic, right?

But is that really the purpose of these sites going forward? What happened to the social aspect of social media? When was the last time you reached out to one of your followers or one of your customers and said ‘Hi’?

Maybe we should try to buck the trend in 2013 and put social back on the agenda. Let’s get some engagement going!

So, what do you think? Should we turn social media back into a social thing, at least a little? Or, are you happy with things as they are?

Comments

  1. Sapna says

    Hi Tim

    That will be the greatest challenge in 2013, how to get people engaged. The small personal touch has to be there, and you have rightly sown the seeds for that.

    I am seeing that more and more people are using FB and Twitter, but are we really getting those results which we are expecting, I don’t think so. We are getting only those fellow bloggers back to whom we are personally reaching via posts.

    Thanks, you have surely given a food for thought for everyone.

    Sapna

    • says

      Hi Sapna

      I wish I had been a Twitter user from the beginning to see how people used it at that time.

      For me, it’s just become another way to broadcast blog posts and they are the majority of Tweets I see in my feed.

      The same has happened with Facebook Groups. I joined a couple of these thinking I’d get some value from them.

      It may have started out like that but more and more as the groups lose their momentum it becomes just another place for people to promote their blog posts.

      Is that the best way to keep people engaged? I don’t think so. Reaching out and personally speaking to them has to be the way forward; getting involved and not putting things on autopilot.

      Definitely food for thought for 2013 Sapna.

      Enjoy the rest of the week!

      Tim

  2. dadblunders says

    Tim,

    I understand your pain and frustration with “social” in social media. Being a stay-at-home dad the time I have to dedicate to social media is precious to me. First and foremost, I am a father, so when I actually get to dedicate the time that I enjoy I want to be “social.”

    I am guilty of just posting things and sharing like so many others these days. It is an endless stream of tweets, updates and posts. I feel lucky if I see 1% of what goes by (my stream some days is going so quick I am not sure if a super computer could keep up). I am unsure what the solutions are except to try and be social as much as possible. I try to answer as quickly as possible but I know the past month has been very hectic for me (surgery first followed by the holidays). I try to be realistic and know that life happens to all of us otherwise we would have nothing to write about.

    Aaron

    P.S. You can always do a few dishes by hand to maintain the softness of your hands. :)

    • says

      Hi Aaron

      I’m in the same situation as you being a stay-at-home dad and I definitely agree that any time beyond this is definitely precious! There’s not too much of it either :-).

      I find that I am becoming more and more blind to the Twitter feed. I wonder what the future holds for Twitter if it just becomes another marketing vehicle.

      Don’t worry. I’m guilty of just posting things too! As you say, life happens. I think I’m going to make the effort to increase my engagement with people though in 2013 to be more social and see what happens.

      I know you’ve had a tough time of it at times in 2012 Aaron so I’m wishing you a safe and happy 2013.

      I’m glad to have connected with you this year Aaron and I hope you had a great Christmas.

      Tim

  3. Theodore Nwangene says

    Happy xmas Tim,
    I read your post and couldn’t forget to share my thought, although I’m in the village now where internet service is really an issue, thats why i haven’t been able to update my blog all this while.
    I think i agree with you on the issue of taking social media back to social indeed. I’ve also been doing all you said here since i started facingbook (Lol). I no longer reach out to my pals as i normally do before just because i normally see them on facebook. And all those things.

    Very well said Tim.

    Merry xmas ones again.

    • says

      Hi Theodore

      I hope you’ve had a great Christmas with your family and that’s certainly more important than blogging and the internet! :-)

      Let’s make 2013 more social and reach out and engage with people more.

      Maybe we can start to bring back the social in social media ourselves. You should definitely reach out to your pals.

      Enjoy the rest of the holidays.

      Tim

  4. says

    I certainly knows how it feels to be without a dishwasher. I was the chief dishwasher for 7 weeks :)

    I absolutely agree with you about social. I am looking for comments and discussions and not just traffic / retweets. That’s why I’ve been testing new tools to get a better overview. It’s hard to get involved in discussions when there’s so many followers :)

    Merry Christmas Tim.

    • says

      Hi Jens

      Ah ha, yes I remember you were getting a new kitchen :-).

      I’d be interested to know how you get on with the new tools you’re testing. Are you going to write about the results on your blog?

      I agree it’s hard to get involved in discussions when there are so many followers. It’s like a minefield but I’m determined to make 2013 more social!

      I’m going to reach out and engage with at least one of the people I’ve met online each day and see how that changes things.

      I hope you and family have had a great Christmas Jens. Here’s too a safe and happy 2013!

      Tim

  5. says

    Hi Tim

    I agree with you on the lack of social on social media. I have seen such little results from it. Maybe it is the time commitment that is outrageous, it just doesn’t seem worth it. Now, the YouTube seems a more viable use of the social media platform and just good old blogging.

    The waste of time issue ways really heavy, there is only so much time in the day and to find what are the best results for that time is top priority. I think each of us can be more efficient at one aspect of the social media and once we find out which one it is, we need to remain focused. I think a lot can be done if one figures out the magic to what you can excel at and that goes for the social media platform as well.

    You just can’t do it all.

    I have never owned a dishwasher. I always refer to my dishwasher as never breaking down or for that matter, never needing electricity!

    Mary

    • says

      Hi Mary

      Boy do I ever not need things to be a waste of time! I’ve seen some results from people sharing my blog posts on Twitter etc but is that really all social media sits are for these days?

      I like the fact that our blogs are very social places and hope to engage with more people in 2013 in so many ways, including social media sites.

      You’re definitely right. YouTube is definitely something to explore.

      I’ve been meaning to make a video for some time now. I even bought a new webcam a few weeks ago for that very purpose. It’s finding the time when my family aren’t around to do it though!

      Up until the last place we lived in I hadn’t owned a dishwasher either. Now I’ve become accustomed to having one though, you sure miss it when you don’t have one!

      Glad to know you Mary.

      Thank you for some great comments.

      Tim

  6. Khaja moin says

    Tim I agree with you, even I left many groups where I see only links have been shared. For bloggers social media has become a medium just to promote blog, but it has something more to do. Thanks for this post, it again make us remember why we`re here.

    ~@khajamoin1

    • says

      Hey Khaja

      You sound as though you’ve had a similar experience to me and there has to be more to social media then just sharing blog posts and retweets.

      Let’s make 2013 more social by engaging with people and I’m sure we’ll see some great results even if it is only more friends around us!

      Tim

  7. Annie Andre says

    Tim,
    i hear and feel your words. I feel like it is all too much and the conversations are just very….. well, shallow at best. It is impossible to truly communicate with 600 twitter followers. Same for facebook.
    I even feel like commenting has lost it’s appeal. Now i only comment when and if I feel compelled and I designate one or two days a week but no more than 2 hours a week. same for social media.
    I am in the business of creating useful content. Not building my twitter followers. Sure i want to build it but not at the expense of my content and helping others.

    This new year, I have vowed to improve the quality of my posts, minimize my social media time and focus on the bottom line. Making money while providing great content and helping people. I hope that it pans out because i am getting super tired being stretched in every which way.

    • says

      Hey Annie

      Sounds like you’re going through similar thoughts to me.

      I’ve been trying to comment on at least 10 blogs a day and it has helped me widen my reach and the traffic flow. It can be very time-consuming though.

      I end up on some blogs and I have absolutely no idea what to say in the comment. More often than not I just leave straight away without commenting. No point in staying around if I’m struggling to understand or believe the content.

      I agree with you on the content and you sure do have some great content on your blog. Don’t beat yourself up about it though, it really is good stuff and I know things are going to be great for you in 2013!

  8. says

    Hi, Tim,

    this is a very psychological phenomenon. I mean the social media. When I talk to someone, especially like minded friend, i have the feeling that this is real. As if your conversation is in the real world, not in the cyber space. We really think that we know people, but do we really. But, if you think about it, how well we know friends from the real world. So this is my dilemma: How real is the social media? And, do we say “Hi” enough, just for the sake of it. :)

    • says

      I know what you mean Margarita. Even in the real world we don’t always truly know people.

      I think though, if you can look into someone’s eyes things make much more sense. That’s what is missing from knowing people online.

  9. says

    Let’s be honest here Tim… The people who just share posts and retweets without actually visiting the blogs and commenting probably aren’t going to get anywhere wouldn’t you agree! I mean being someone who stands out is about the relationships we build with our friends, followers and fans.

    Oh sure, we can personally speak with thousands of people it’s just a very hard thing to do but when you reach out to a few people each day then you will start to stand out from the rest.

    This is one reason I’m not on the social sites all day long. I have actually left a lot of the Facebook groups because that’s all people do there. They share their posts and that’s it. I’m tired of visiting their blogs and “trying” to build a relationship with them with it’s obvious they are only here for themselves. I personally don’t have time for people like that.

    I have joined just one Google+ community and I love it. Sure, we share our posts there but each one of us reads those posts, comments and shares them. Ah but here is the key to this. It’s a closed community and it’s not huge. That’s the way you do this. I don’t think you can really have success any other way.

    By the way Tim, I would love to have that kind of view from my kitchen window. Oh and although I do have a dishwasher, I seldom use it. I know, it’s only me so I just wash the dishes right after I’ve used them. So much easier.

    Thanks Tim for bringing this to our attention and I sure hope that others will start to realize that it’s the reaching out to others that’s going to get you noticed. Not the other way around.

    Happy New Year~!

    ~Adrienne

    • says

      Hi Adrienne

      If I’ve learnt about blogging from anyone it’s most definitely you. As you say, it’s about building relationships, engaging and supporting each other. That’s how to stand out from the crowd and get yourself noticed.

      I try and visit at least 1 new blog a day whilst keeping up with all the others I like to visit and it’s certainly a challenge. I know it’s not feasible to keep up with everyone but it’s keeping the key relationships going that is a must!

      People change and move on I know and I respect that. To a certain extent I’ve already done that because there are blogs I used to comment on and frequent that I no longer do. More because they write about things that no longer interest me or I find it hard to comment on and I don’t want to feel like I have to comment just for the sake of it either!

      That sounds like a great way to keep things going Adrienne, in a closed community. I’m only in one small tribe on Triberr but I sometimes feel compelled to share things and I don’t always get the chance to read everything. Maybe I need to look at it in a different way in that it is a closed community, similar to the Google+ communities I joined. You got me thinking now!

      The view from the kitchen window is beautiful Adrienne and from my daughter’s bedroom window. I opened her blind yesterday morning and we could see snow again on the hills. We’ve not really had any over here in Edinburgh yet.

      Thank you for your support as ever Adrienne and I wish you a Happy New Year too!

      Tim

  10. says

    Hi Tim, I love this post and the idea of being more social. I always try to reach out daily to several folks on Twitter to see how they are doing and have some conversation. It feels more “real” that way and I love chatting with people. I’ve become good friends with several too over time. It’s really amazing how it can happen over time. I may not be as social as often on Facebook as I feel “everyone ” is watching your every move there :) (More judgemental, etc)
    I’d love to see more folks being more social throughout the networks too instead of just sharing links after links.
    I’m not sure I would want to live without my dishwasher :)
    Have a great new year Tim!

    • says

      Hi Lisa

      Sorry I’ve not responded sooner. I’ve been down in England staying with some friends over the New Year period.

      I completely agree that social media feels more “real” if you actually engage with people. You are one of the best people at doing this on Twitter that I know in the blogosphere in fact!

      I’m struggling to get back into Twitter after having a few days off. There’s just link after link at the moment. I’m sure things will improve once I get back into it.

      I don’t think I want to live without a dishwasher again. It has been quite tedious washing up at times!

      I hope you had a great New Year Lisa. Here’s to a wonderful 2013.

      Tim

  11. says

    Oh, Tim – what a relief to read this post! I know exactly how you feel. I’ve only recently started using social media and I must admit I struggle with it a lot, particularly as I’m so short of time while I’m still doing my day job. I know I haven’t completely got my head round how all the different platforms work – I’ve only learned the basics and they seem so complicated – I’m sure there are lots of features I just don’t know how to use properly, but I simply don’t have time to plough through yet more courses!

    This week I didn’t check my twitter feed for a couple of days and it took me ages to catch up – and I’m always worrying in case I’ve inadvertently failed to acknowledge someone who’s been kind enough to share a post or mention me in a Tweet. I’ve noticed quite a few people have FB pages that they don’t update very often, which makes me wonder how many other people out there are really struggling with it all – and maybe wondering if it’s worth the effort.

    I think the main difficulty is just the pressure of the sheer volume of stuff flying through your feeds and the speed with which it becomes obsolete – and I know what you mean about the fact that most of them just seem to be links to posts etc. I’ve had the odd brief ‘conversation’ with someone, which is very nice, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. I feel I have more ‘real’ contact with people by commenting on their blogs.

    One of the things I hate the most, and which I want to continue to resist, is this ‘automation’ lark – I loathe those automated direct messages folk send out when you follow them and I don’t like the thought of automating tweets from my blog.

    I’m not sure what the answer is – the pressure to participate is overwhelming, and it can sometimes be fun, but I agree with you that ‘social’ it so often is NOT! You’ve made me think, though, that I need to make more of an effort to do more than share links, which is mainly what my social media activity seems to amount to.

    I sometimes just feel like saying ‘stop the train, I want to get off!’

    We decided not to replace our dishwasher, which packed up just before we moved house – decided it was just another piece of equipment to go wrong on us – don’t miss it that much – we don’t have your lovely hills to gaze at, but enjoy watching the goldfinches, doves and other visitors to our bird feeders on the apple tree while we do the dishes the old fashioned way.

    Thanks for another great post, Tim – and Happy New Year to you and yours,

    Sue

    • says

      Hi Sue

      I hope you had a great New Year. We got back from staying with friends in the Wirral yesterday afternoon.

      I haven’t really got back into things quite yet. I ignored Twitter while I was away and also decided I would respond to any comments on my blog when I got back.

      It has meant I’m behind quite a bit but sometimes you just need to get away from social media and blogging! I completely agree that the volume of things flying about can be overwhelming.

      I’m trying to find the best ways I can to interpret the things I need to look at and other things that I can ignore. I haven’t really found the answer yet.

      I definitely think, as Lisa mentioned, trying to engage with someone every day on Twitter does make things seem more real somehow. Instead of just the same old link after link it does make it feel like there are actually really people out there, not just robots!

      I am with you on the automated direct messages on Twitter though. I rarely read them. They just get deleted straight away. The only things I automate on Twitter are for Tweeting new posts once they are published and I have a plugin which Tweets old posts every once in a while too.

      I do know what you mean about the dishwasher and something else which could go wrong. We’ve had a couple of floods from a previous one going wrong. I really have missed not having one though, apart from I’m less likely to spend any time looking at the view now.

      The view from your kitchen window sounds equally nice. It’s not so easy to see birds in the garden from the third floor and I do miss that.

      Thanks for your brilliant comments Sue and here’s too a happy year ahead.

      Tim

      • says

        Good luck with your catch-up, Tim – I know just what it’s like – spent all New Year’s Day catching up with comments on my blog – it’s lovely to get so much interaction, but I feel I just need more hours in the day!

        Don’t – and I mean this – DON’T respond to this message – I know you’ll read it, and that’s enough for me. It’s great you’ve given yourself a break from the treadmill – now just ease yourself back in at your own pace – and make sure you take some time out to enjoy that lovely view – just wash up the odd cup or two!

        Sue

  12. says

    Hi Tim,

    I understand exactly what you are talking about. There is a lot of noise, chaos and clutter out there. The best solution I have is to start small and try to engage in conversations with people.

    I still have them on all of the various platforms, but I have found that it is twice as hard to make it happen as it used to be. So I try to make an extra effort to show that I am around and not just an automated Tweet or comment.

    • says

      Hi Josh

      Sounds as though you’re switched on and know what you’re doing.

      It’s certainly a great piece of advice to start small when engaging in conversations with people, particularly on Twitter. I’ve avoided Twitter the last few days while we’ve been staying with some friends in England but I need to get back to it. I’m going to start small for sure.

      Glad to hear you are being social Josh. Good on you!

      I hope you had a great New Year.

      Tim

  13. says

    Hi Tim,

    I still like things in the old fashioned way :) Like, to gaze at my girlfriend than watching her photo in my PC ;) It counts?

    Very true Tim and all these things are artificial. That’s the bitter truth. They have created to make use of to improve our lifestyles not to be slaves of ‘em. But I see more heading the wrong way.

    Well, I think it’s not Social Media but we people who abuse the meaning. Some just think Social Media is only to get traffic for their blog and friendships start by commenting on each others :D They just feed and share. That’s just selfishness. I hope they will change their perspectives. Else they have to. They will find it when they feel alone after a long time or stop blogging. If I see that way, non-bloggers may never have friends. Human stupidity at the climax ;)

    I’ve invited to Facebook groups with 1000 members but Facebook introduced it for fewer people with private space for better engagement. Quality is still in the question :) I’ve been using it for my school projects with fewer people and it did the job for us.

    Abuse never stops but I think hanging out with like-minded people make Social Media more Social :)

    Hope with your message folks would be much more social on SOCIAL MEDIA :)

    Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New YEAR Tim :) Much success will be on your way.

    Cheers…

    • says

      Hi Mayura

      That’s a great point. It is people that abuse the meaning of Social Media and not Social Media itself.

      I follow back quite a few people on Twitter and in many cases all I get is sales talk every Tweet. I don’t mind sharing links so much but if every link is pretty much trying to get a sale then I’m going to ignore them and unfollow.

      I can’t stand automated direct messages either. They get deleted straight away.

      And you’re right – hanging out with like-minded people makes Social Media more social. That’s what we need to take forward.

      On most social media sites, I’ve separated the people I do speak to online into a list and then the rest of the traffic I tend to only look at a few times a week, if at all!

      I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year too Mayura and look forward to getting to know you better in 2013!

      Thanks for some great comments.

      Tim

  14. says

    Hi Tim, I love this post and the idea of being more social. I always try to reach out daily to several folks on Twitter , Facebook, Google+ to see how they are doing and have some conversation. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

    • says

      Hi there

      Welcome to my blog. It’s great to see you.

      It sounds as though you’re thinking along the same lines as me about being more social and reaching out to people.

      Let’s hope we can make 2013 much more social!

      Thank you for your comments and I hope to see you again soon.

      Tim

  15. Ally says

    Yes! I get that the whole purpose of facebook is to be social and interact with your friends online but I definitely find myself less inclined to call or catch up with them now because I can simply see what their up to online. As for the business side I am guilty of the blog posts on my facebook pages, I am determined to try and start more engagement but I normally run out of time, its definitely hard to maintain conversations on different media sites.

    • says

      Hi Ally

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for your visit.

      It’s hard to keep up with everyone on and offline, I’m with you on that one.

      I just wish sometimes that people would engage more rather than just sharing links and blog posts. Most of my conversations happen on Twitter and Google+ as I rarely use Facebook for business these days.

      Maybe you should reach out to one of your friends soon and give them a call.

      Social media lulls you into believing that you know what people are doing but you really don’t.

      Thank you for your comments Ally and I hope you’ll come back and visit again soon.

      Tim

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