Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Social Media is Evolving. Are You?

I have quite a few friends and acquaintances who are steadfastly resisting any temptation to join Facebook or Twitter. When I ask them why, I usually get some version of “I don’t care about what people are having for dinner”. That’s actually interesting because I do vividly remember the times some 2-3 years ago when both Twitter and Facebook were flooded by such mundane updates. But that has changed.

In fact, I rarely see any message about what people have for dinner anymore. Sure, there is the occasional picture of a spectacularly prepared dish or a cool looking drink but those are usually somewhat interesting. Thanksgivings, of course, comes with dozens of pictures of dead birds on Facebook but that’s part of the spirit - kind of like Christmas decorations. For the most part, the “what’s for dinner” updates have disappeared today.

One or two years ago, most of my running friends including myself were diligently sharing daily updates about our training runs. As a runner, nothing motivates me more than knowing that my friend Joe in Boston is ahead of me in weekly mileage or that my friend Andreas in Germany will compare my pace to his. But I got the message from my non-running Twitter followers and Facebook friends - sometimes rather explicitly - that they don’t care about that level of detail of marathon training. Once, I was even asked how I lost all that weight while getting the unsolicited advice to reduce those running updates in the same conversation... I reduced my training log updates and I noticed that all my running friends did so as well.

What happened is that we have evolved in the way we use social media. What appeared like a great idea and initially received positive responses from our followers, became less interesting and eventually perhaps even annoying. Ultimately, that made us figure out that this is not the right use of social media...for the moment. You can rest assured that the way social media is used today will likely be different a year from now.     

I wonder about those “denialists” who decided to ignore social media altogether. One day, they may join after all - likely when looking for a job - and they will go through the same learning curve - but years behind. I also worry about all of the marketing departments who are fine tuning their marketing campaigns assuming that the way we use social media will remain the same. Well, it won’t. Because social media is evolving. Are you?

PS: When you don't have something interesting to say on social media, it’s OK not to say anything...

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I think the desire for privacy and the perceived narcissism of social media are why Gen X'ers are resistant. I fully agree social media is here to stay and resistance is futile.