A collective look at the social media landscape offers varying use types. They range from an open-sourced virtual cocktail party to folks reliving the glory days and cliques of high school and businesses looking to become more human. The beauty of it is that no matter how you use the medium, there is no “doing IT wrong.”
With that said, there are three common threads that often emerge in individuals’ use of social media: self-absorption; voyeurism; and a need to be connected. They are beautifully displayed in this social media Venn diagram from the folks at Despair.com under the headings narcissism, stalking and ADHD (their words, not mine).
It’s a pretty graphic that calls out some of the ugliness that lies behind the social nature of these sites. Don’t believe me? Ponder on this:
Narcissism- In the past year, personal branding has been a constant trending topic and buzz word across the social space. The thought is that while doing your job, you also have to look out for number one. Everything from Tweeting and blogging to networking events is all about you and finding the next big break for you.
I see it as kind of backwards, but if you think about it, most blogs that you read (including this one) fall under the author’s name. You also see many folks on Twitter and Facebook sharing their latest posts over and over as it’s a way to bring more people to seeing what they are doing. One downside to oversharing is that communities like Twitter seem to self police themselves. Over-sharing blowhards of the “I” and “Me” varieties tend to put folks off and lose followers.
Stalking – In general, the term stalking typically comes along with a negative connotation. Well, that was until folks added Facebook to it. How many of you have said that you were going to Facebook stalk someone? Don’t be modest, everyone knows you do it. The question really is does it make it right?
Sure much of the information is public, but when does it become an invasion of privacy? I am no judge, lawyer or purveyor of online privacy, but also think that somewhere down the line we’ll see something come up about this in the legislature.
We should never take stalking lightly, even if we make it easier for folks to do it with geo-location sites like foursquare, SCVNGR and Facebook places. My friend Michael Dolan penned a great piece a while back on perhaps the first instance of foursquare stalking (take a read if you haven’t heard the story). It is definitely scary. In theory its cool to see where your friends are (would have been key in high school pre-cell phone years), but it also can let burglars and creeps know where you are and aren’t.
ADHD – I have never been formally diagnosed with ADHD, but I can sure multi-task like no other. Surely some of you are the same way.
No matter how good you are at juggling, social can be a true time suck if you try to see everything at once. You can’t do it, so don’t try. For some reason, if you think you can, may I suggest the following to help paint a picture:
- RockMelt – this browser was created for people with a short attention span as it ties in RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook within one browser. It has more pop-ups than VH1’s Pop-Up Video. I still have some invites so ping me if you want one to give it a go.
- LiveFyre – I blame Danny Brown for putting me onto this comment system. I have fallen in love with it and it offers more fluid commenting on many blogs and links to people’s SM accounts so you can easily follow a commenter or socially share. Depending on your settings, you can receive instant updates to bring the conversation from Twitter to your blog.
- Facebook groups – If you are in an active group, you probably see Facebook (1) cookied into your browser. These groups are very beneficial, but can also be easily derail your productivity if you join the cult.
When you have tried all three of these for a week and stayed on top of them religiously take a look at your “To Do” list and see how many things are crossed off. Chances are that it’s not as good as you thought.
At the end of the day, this diagram should show that we all need to take ourselves less seriously. We all will fall somewhere in between one of the three buckets, I know where I am, do you?