Do I know you? Are you at least a friend of one of my friend’s friends friends? Did you go to school with one of my kids and now you’re just a bit curious as to who I am? Did we meet on a bus or have some meaningful contact back in 1997 in the days of ICQ?
Well, if the answer is no to these questions, why do you want to make contact with me?
The answer is simple. Social Media have turned the whole world into manic friends and followers of anybody. It doesn’t matter who, so long as that list of ‘friends’ just keeps getting longer everyday. Then you can do what the gods of Social Media want you to do. SELL STUFF!
Now while it all started out as a bit of fun and was a great new way to keep in touch with family and close friends, you don’t think that these companies and corporations are investing millions, if not billions, of dollars just so you can send and share some cute new baby pics with Aunt Mavis, do you? No, they expect a return on their investment. Facebook is now so big, and so highly valued that it has been classified as ‘too big to buy’.
Everyday new Social Media sites are being launched into a market that is totally saturated. But for some investors even a minute percentage of the market is worth chasing. But are we all getting just a bit ‘browned off’ and burnt out’ with the daily queue of friend requests?
I started using Social Media as a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family. Then I too decided it might be a good vehicle to promote my books. But now I am starting to recalibrate my thoughts on this. The time that it takes, the continual invasion of people I don’t know, into what were my private areas of Social Media, and the hundreds and hundreds of requests I receive each day to join events, link back, click here, read this, do this, do that, buy this, buy that and the stream of marketing emails is just over the top. It’s too the point now that even just cleaning out the crud takes an age each day.
So what’s the answer? Kill the lot?
There is one fact that is certain. Social Media is only going to get bigger and far more invasive, as these investors aggressively seek a return on their investments. As will the aggressive online marketers who will become smarter, more adept and more painful.
Already one site I used to enjoy is now so full of rubbish that I have given away even bothering to use it. Goodreads was a great idea, but has now turned into a stream of nonsensical author marketing trash that has destroyed any enjoyment for me at all. My personal Facebook page is so full of people I don’t know at all, I have started doing the unthinkable. ‘Unfriending’. I’ve stopped using others such as Shelfari, Linkedin and a bundle more due to non-stop cheap marketing and incessant emails.
Stumbleupon are at least a little bit honest about where Social Media is going with their new invitation. ‘Want to see more great stuff from your favorite sites, brands and people?’ I read that as ‘Can we start flogging stuff to you now?’
I still enjoy Twitter though, as the interaction is different. Short, sweet and only seen when I log on, say hello, and then go and get on with my life. No streams of stupid game scores, cute kitty cat images and joke postings. I click what I want to see. The rest I can ignore. In some ways the initial perceived negatives of Twitter are in fact positives. Follow whoever you like and the choice to follow back, but without streams of crap filling my personal space.
So my decision? I’ll stay with Twitter for sure. A trimmed down personal Facebook and my Vandal Facebook page. For the rest, I’m sorry, go away.