Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

Summary: I'm stuck inside of a giant echo chamber of social media pundits talking to each other. After kicking myself repeatedly, I made plans to get out.

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Kyle Flaherty wrote a great thought-provoking post today about balancing the social media noise and keeping the focus on productivity. In it he dug up a question he asked his readers one year ago: "What is your social media tipping point?"

As I asked myself this question I started to mentally hyperventilate. I realized quickly that I'm stuck inside of a giant echo chamber of social media pundits talking to each other -- and that I've been guilty of doing that, too. After kicking myself repeatedly I decided to work on getting myself out. When embarking on my personal plan, I came up with a short list of things that are especially getting on my nerves.

  • Popularity contests
  • Social media "consultants"
  • The "why you need X" tool discussions
  • Did I mention popularity contests?

Blah.

My focus, much like Flaherty's, is on finding ways for social media make sense for an enterprise technology business. Forget what some of the personal branding and B2C folks tell you -- the same fundamentals of social media that work for their efforts don't always apply to enterprise IT companies. The formula is still in the works and the jury is still out on exactly how it works, despite a bunch of different proposed options.

In order to do this I need to start clearing out some of the noise. I care less about how Bob Smith made himself the most popular person on the Web and how. Just because Bob can promote himself does not mean he understand my company or my space. I need to stop reading blogs -- even if I love the bloggers -- who talk about how to become an influencer or measure your personal influencer or or or... Bring me more Flaherty. Bring me Peter Kim. Bring me Dennis Howlett. Bring me Oliver Marks. Bring me Dave Fleet. Bring me more people who understand what is bunk and what is not and what the Global 1000 are finding to be successful and what their technology buyers are doing. Bring me case studies. Those are the things I want to read.

Let me inform you -- having a blog or being popular on a social network does not an expert make. I am certainly not one. I am an information sponge who likes to share what she's learned through writing. Also, patting each other on the back for recycling the same ideas should not be allowed. We should expect more out of each other and ourselves. Social media provides new communication vehicles but the basic fundamentals of good business planning still apply. Isn't it irresponsible to be so self-congratulatory when so many businesses are being sold snake oil or still have no clue what any of this means to them?

Oh, and finally, I'll say it. Some businesses just don't need to have an active social media presence.

Do you have ideas for getting other social media folks to step up and take their messages outward? Are you passionate about enterprise technology, too? Will you be at SXSWi? I am open to a discussion. Email me via the form below. And bring your "A game."

Topic: Social Enterprise

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19 comments
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  • So What Companies shouldn't be in Social Media

    Jen.. I don't disagree but you just kinda threw that out... I have an assessment that companies can take to determine whether its right for them or not ( http://snurl.com/ayml3 ). What are your thoughts on who should play and who should sit on the bench?

    S
    stevemann
    • Heh

      I did just kind of throw that out -- because it's a deep topic for another time. I've talked about it in the past. I don't know if it's a hard and fast rule as to which companies should use socmed or not. My thing is that each company should evaluate its customer base, partner base and even its competitors and be where they people are. Figure out what will boost sales and brand, etc. For a security company, for instance, with a lot of breaking signatures and info, could have a play. A semiconductor company....eeep. Might be harder, but possibe. There's no formula.
      Jennifer Leggio
      • so....

        I think web 2.0 can be applied internally virtually everywhere (think of the CIA). I dont think it can be applied externally to your point but i think the things holding a company back are not what industry they are in but what cultural roadblocks exist and can a particular companies culture be transformed to take advantage of collaborative capabilities.
        stevemann
        • Yep

          I do agree with you there. I also don't think, though, that companies should be pressed into doing internal collaboration as a "must have" deal. It's a "nice to have" I think, at this point, but will transition to a "must have" over time. Especially with current IT spending limitations.
          Jennifer Leggio
          • examples?

            I'm wondering, are there any real life examples of companies being "pressed into internal collaboration..."? And are there any case studies of companies that "tried" using social media and decided for whatever reasons, strategic marketing, governance etc, that it was not an appropriate or timely option? There may well be - I haven't seen them. My experience, limited as it is, is that the bigger challenge is companies not using what is available, rather than using the tools, joining the conversation (if I'm allowed to use that phrase).
            beachblogger
      • RE: Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

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  • RE: Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

    I love it. You are SUCH the scrapster! *LOL*

    Seriously though, I've often wondered how much those of you Twitter Illuminati (*grin*) grow tired of seeing and hearing the same stuff going back and forth across the network. Can you say, 'preaching to the choir?'

    Whatevs, though; as for me, I learn so much from you guyz, I really don't mind... ;)
    AJ in Nashville
    • Scrapster!

      I think that's the best compliment I've had all year, thank you! :-)

      I'm glad you liked the post!
      Jennifer Leggio
  • Social Media is about effective communication, not an end to itself

    Very interesting article. Also, thanks for sharing the source link to Mr. Flaherty's thoughts. Very interesting stuff.

    As mentioned by Mr. Flaherty, I tend to be overwhelmed by Social Media. Quickly. When I am actively engaged in FaceBook, Twitter, RSS, E-Mail, and Instant Message; I hit information overload. What's worse, I find that the quality of things being said isn't very high.

    Tools like Twitter and Facebook don't really encourage nuanced and in-depth conversation or thought. Both, however, are essential if you really do want to become an expert on a given topic.

    There is also a secondary problem with Social Media Saturation. When you are constantly plugged in, it's far too easy to engage in group think. Adding something new to a conversation requires that you set aside time to have new thoughts. That can't happen when you have a massive influx of new data thrown your way, all of which screams, "Process me now!"

    So, I try and compromise. Social media is a hugely powerful tool which can aid in spreading a message or raising awareness of a product/service. I try and control my social media by speaking and responding when I have something to actually say.

    While this may anger some of the hyper-technophilics, most normal people understand. Fortunately for me, the normal people are those who I really care about.
    _________________________________

    <a href="http://www.oak-tree.us/blog">Oak-Tree.us/Blog</a>
    Rob Oakes
  • SXSWi

    I was just speaking with someone today about an "echo
    chamber breakfast" at SXSW. Like a steel cage match or
    something. Let's discuss - might be fun!
    petekim
    • RE: SXSWi

      YES!! This needs to happen Peter.

      Kyle
      kffbos
    • Awesome

      I love it! I'll be in touch.
      Jennifer Leggio
  • RE: Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

    Agreed! I've always argued that there is nothing revolutionary about social media, it is just an evolutionary turn in our communications. At the end of the day the better communicators are going to succeed whether in a press release, a white paper, Twitter or a web page.

    Perhaps the 'echo chamber' is not simply social media people talking about social media, but instead poor communicators with nothing original to say. It happens in every industry and every communication format I would imagine.
    kffbos
  • RE: Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

    Social media.......a good way to vent without paying for a LCSW :-)
    rocketman67
  • As an aging rocker, and a blues guitar player

    ummmmmmmmmmm...what the hell does Social Media ( is that a new alt rock band ?) have shit to do with SXSW in Austin? Maybe we do have a huge problem here....jk...sxsw...too much geek speak here...
    Boxarox
    • Haha

      SXSW Interactive happens a few days before the music festival. It's mostly Webby stuff. I would rather go for the music, personally. ;) Alas!
      Jennifer Leggio
  • RE: Get me out of this social media echo chamber, please!

    yes, yes and yes . I have never seen as much
    preaching
    to the choir as I see amongst social media BIG
    GUNS.
    For a while, I couldn't understand why they
    weren't
    posting about all the companies their wisdom
    and
    experience is being applied to, all the income
    they
    were creating for their clients, and all the
    jobs
    being created therefrom. Then, I "got it".
    Their
    client is the guy (or gal) they see in the
    mirror and
    they are doing a great job for that client. my
    blog is
    a little different
    http://ims-seo.blogspot.com/2009/01/social-
    media-too-
    much-ado-about-numbers.html
    But please don't tell anyone, it is a secret!
    victorseo
  • Substance Behind the Hype

    I'm becoming a fan of Bill Lewis: http://dobbscodetalk.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=Cloud-Computing--Its-a-Deployment-Model%21-No-Its-a-Computing-Model%21-No-Its...-BS-.html&Itemid=29
    MichP
  • I've been around this block too many times...

    Far too many.

    Social media is new? Not really. What we have now is "The Facebook" bubble. Techies like our bubbles even when they don't involve losing great chunks of money we can't afford to lose.

    I remember when (sigh, I'm old enough to use that phrase, better than "in the day", though) corporations scrambled to install corporate BBS systems on mainframes only to rip them out again when it became apparent that people were spending more time there than actually working. And saying things that their superiors did't want said.

    Next up came email. Other than out and out spam I defy anyone to look at the bundle of undeleted messages in their Outlook (or whatever if you're lucky) take a quick scan on how much is internal corporate "spam" of departments/teams announcing a minor personnel change, CEO, CTO, CFO emails that say less than nothing but are marked urgent, other bits of internal clutter and "spam" that you haven't gotten rid of yet and do a quick calculation on just how much time you waste on it.

    Then came "talk backs" and "comments" wherein every internal or external blogger in existence and most serious actual reporting sites invite you to comment on their comments. This, for example. Inside the enterprise these tend to last as long as BBS systems did and for the same reason.

    Now we have social networks. Echo chambers. Which is, inside a corporation, the entire reason for their existence. Externally they are about PR. But in both cases the idea is to promote something. Inside it's about "corporate culture" better known as organized group think. Outside it's an attempt at the same but harder to control.

    Still....have a look at the time you spend there too, just in case you miss something, say a coworker sticking both feet in their mouths and their keyboard up somewhere unmentionable by posting something stupid.

    Nothing we humans like better than gossip, is there? ;-)

    Now ask yourself, what else could you be doing?

    Stroking the dog or cat sitting at your feet looking for some attention?

    Cuddling with your significant other?

    Gardening?

    Cleaning?

    [b]Working?[/b] Oops, sorry about that!

    I'd be very curious to know the activity level of the Talkbacks on ZDNet and CNET occurs between, say, 8am Eastern time and 5pm Pacific? That takes on the greater part of the U.S. and Canada when we're supposed to be at work.

    Of course, if it all went away tomorrow we'd find another way to fritter time away. Back to water coolers, that tight knot of smokers exiled to the weather outside buildings and, preferably, hidden while on a smoke break.

    Or inventing a way to do it on the Web, texting on our cells, downloading movies and music and on and on and on.

    Some way to find ourselves back in our favourite echo chamber.

    ttfn

    John
    TtfnJohn