The whirling universe of social media seems to have slowed down lately. With Facebook gone public, Google+ creeping toward rigor mortis, and Twitter degrading to a boring barrage of promotions, the old excitement just isn’t there.
There are a million reasons for this. The channels themselves are limited. While large followings are admired, the more updates in your stream, the less likely you are to see any particular person’s messages. How can relationships take root? All of us in the sandbox together does not mean we’re actually relating. Maybe we’re just getting in one another’s way.
Each social network asks for the whole story: bio, contact info, picture, work history, and all your lists of friends. The more we upload to one site, the less we’re likely to want to move all that data to another site. I may not adore Facebook, but that doesn’t mean I’d be quick to replace it with a competitor.
Twitter’s my favorite, and yet it’s far from realizing its full potential. Why are relatively few people using this marvelous tool for inter-connectivity? It could be connecting citizens, and instead it’s become merely a revolving billboard.
Has social media failed us? Have we failed it?
The debut of Facebook on Wall Street, with its imminent IPO, is attracting a ton of analysis from every quarter about the social network’s true worth. Everyone from Spin Sucks to Jason Falls to CNN.com has an idea about whether or not we should take seriously FB’s supposed sky-high valuation.
To be honest, the valuation of just about anything these days shocks this old lady. Gee, we used to buy gas for 65 cents a gallon.
It’s funny how, in a way, as inflation soars, money becomes increasingly irrelevant. Getting what you want becomes a matter of leverage, involving many assets besides money. Assets like content and contacts, systems and apps.
I spent an hour this evening on Facebook, as I’m often wont to do. It was entirely enjoyable.
Google+ lets me lounge in video hangouts enjoying my friends and family of an evening as if we’re in the same room. Will that overshadow the use of FB? In some ways at least, I bet it will.
But the breathtaking leap that Facebook has allowed us will never lose its worth. Being able to communicate so casually and yet so meaningfully with friends, family, and whoever else re-defines our humanity.
Observing the fluctuations and unpredictability of social media can leave you breathless, dizzy, or entertained – according to personal tendencies.
We thought, a season or two ago, that Google+ was taking over the world. Many still anticipate that will happen. But look at that smooth operator, Pinterest, sneaking into everyone’s heart. Which platform, do you think, is more worthy of your time?
This article about Facebook’s failure as a storefront suggests a cloud over the whole idea of doing business via the SM giant. If customers are not, after all, interested in purchasing from FB … Gee, I guess, we have to use that platform for dialog and engagement outside sales. Still a difficult concept for so many to grasp.
Here’s another one: when QR Codes came on the scene, I was thrilled with its in-person, right now interface of public and website. But as this article shows, there’s a far better technology coming down the pike.
It’s a daily circus, complete with clowns and heroes. It’s in the same category as reading the news always was, except these powers closely affect our daily lives. But don’t panic; let it flow. Detached, slightly amused calm will serve you well online.
True confessions: I don’t have a Facebook Page for my business. Never have. The use of FB Pages, seems to me, is to provide a forum for fans to dialog amongst themselves and with the company. If your clientele aren’t likely to be enthusiastic about chatting with one another, why have a Page? It will just be a one-way conversation.
I also don’t have a YouTube account, but for a very different reason. I’d love to have a YouTube Channel, all gussied up and chock full of cool stuff. But then, I’d have to take the time to get a grip on making videos, creating a style and format, a list of topics, a logo, some music, la, la, la. Just ain’t happenin’. Yet.
Perhaps the ultimate confession is that though I have an account on Google+, I never ever go there. Oh, and it’s been maybe six months since I returned to Quora.
All this after more than four years in the online world. Shouldn’t I be more advanced, social media-wise? Talk about the hairdresser with messy hair …
Social media is creative self-expression. No one formula works for all. If you’re feeling forced to comply, explore other avenues.
Twice today I read the statement that YouTube is the second most used search engine next to Google.
On the web, there is just one ultimate rule: the search engines have to be able to find you.
Imagine being a book in a library that somehow did not get cataloged. It’s a huge library, with a few million books. That un-cataloged volume is lost forever. Apply the same logic in the context of the web, on a scale that dwarfs a library. You can see that cataloging, tagging, keywords begin to make sense. Yes, it’s important to create awesome content, but it’s even more important to label it properly. Without the appropriate tags, you’re a hair in a haystack.
But all that amounts to nothing more than the same drivel I always perpetuate to keep me from admitting that making videos is absolutely the next thing I must do in my education about social media. I need to do it and quit just talking about it. Write a script, practice, get the lighting right. It’s not rocket science.
Why do I so often avoid doing the one thing that would really make a difference?
Look out, peeps. Video could happen.
I’m not sure how it came about, but any blogger on social media who does not mention Google+ has become criminally suspect in the past couple of weeks. Therefore, I’ll endeavor to do my civic duty.
Eons ago (2007?), a friend invited me to LinkedIn. The self-same person invited me to Google+ last week. It turned out well last time, so I can’t simply ignore her nudge. I went so far as to set up my account on the site. Many of us do that: mark out our territory and then go absent until primal howls or peer urgings impel us to return there.
So I’ve truly not tested it, but there’s a more basic obstacle here. I don’t crave its services. I’m still unpacking Twitter, FB, LinkedIn. Haven’t even started using YouTube. Many out there seem to be happy to have a new social media toy: for me, Google+ is more superfluous than delightful.
How many tools/toys can we use? Is Google+ just a replica of FB, forcing us to feed the competition between them?
I’m primed to be convinced otherwise, but so far the new software isn’t enough to steal my attention from oh-so-many other fascinating internet pursuits.
The news this morning said that Google may close its operations in China. This has multiple ramifications, but the one that particularly strikes me is, if Google is forced to make an exit, China will forever represent to the world a society on a suicide mission.
Apart from governments and nations, the internet was born and grows lustily. It poses a distinct threat to anyone who thinks they control other people. The tenets of the internet and social media are diametrically opposed to old means of societal control. The web at last quits pushing against the flood, and lets the gates fling open. Fascism or anything remotely totalitarian has no place in the democracy-gone-amok that the social web is creating.
I bring this up in the context of that ever-popular discussion: what does the internet have to do with me and my business?
Google is considering leaving China because of hackers who are seeking to use the service to gain control over their society. Yet the loss to China, should this critical tool go missing from their arsenal, would be huge.
For China, and all of us, the necessity of internet connectivity is second only to our need for water.