Time To Put The Social Back Into Social Media

Time To Put The Social Back Into Social Media

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?

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35 Comments on "Time To Put The Social Back Into Social Media"

2 years 3 months ago

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.

2 years 2 months ago

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.


Infoway LLC
2 years 3 months ago

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.

2 years 3 months ago

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.


2 years 3 months ago

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.


2 years 3 months ago

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.


2 years 3 months ago

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.

2 years 3 months ago

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.


Sue Neal
2 years 3 months ago

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,


2 years 3 months ago

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.


Sue Neal
2 years 3 months ago

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!