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?

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