I’m Tired of Social Media

I’m starting to get sick of social media.

More specifically, I’m growing weary of the “magic bullet” thinking around social media: “If we build it, they will come.” If we have social mediums like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a blog, our business/brand/organization/cause will succeed and excel past our wildest imagination!

This gets me every time.

EHH. Wrong. Try again.

We’ve reached a saturation point with social media. Brian Solis calls it the transition from Social Media 1.0. Basically, we’re like dogs who have finally caught up to the car we’ve been chasing. We’re standing around asking the question, “Um. Now what?”

Chris Brogan put it like this:

And he’s right. Social media has never been about the “media” as much as it has been about the “social”. The atmospheric rise in popularity of social media boils down to this one point:

People like connecting to other people. Social media help us do that.

That’s it. That’s the bottom line. (That one’s for free, by the way.)

Here are four quick tips to make sure you’re keeping the “social” in your social media strategy.

1. Discern your purpose. Write it on paper. This is first for a reason. If you don’t what you’re all about, how do you expect to let people in on the story? Adding social media to an org who doesn’t know what they’re about is like giving a running chainsaw to a two-year-old: DANGEROUS.

2. Let your purpose dictate the tools you use. Once you’ve figured out what you’re about, let that purpose guide you to your arsenal. One inner-city ministry has a strong MySpace presence because that’s where the kids in their area go. Some folks we work with at Monk determine that having a blog wouldn’t be productive or helpful. Seth Godin doesn’t tweet. When you try and be all thing to all people, well, it doesn’t work. Like, ever.

3. Avatars are people, too. Remember that the folks lurking behind the avatars we see in Social Media Land are real people. They have thoughts, feelings, dreams, emotions, digestive problems, mortgages, lazy eyes and acne. Ignore what “experts” say about the online world not being “real.” It is. Increasingly so. What works in engaging people in person usually has an online equivalent. Figure that out for your context and, as they say, you’re set.

4. Focus on adding value. Last but not least, social media are about adding value. Social media is others-centered. No one wants to hear you talk endlessly about how great you or your organization is. Just like we’d ignore the person at a party who constantly talks about themselves, we ignore social media that is painfully self-referential. Give most of the time, don’t take.

I’d like to hear from you, though. What’s tiring you when it comes to social media? What are you sick of seeing? What would work to fix the problems you’re seeing?