Is social networking “social”?
Is it really “networking”?
The push behind “social networking” is building a list of relationships and not focus on revenue generating. The goal is to develop a list that includes “influencers” who advocate for you, your brand, your promotion, your method …whatever you are marketing, to their followers who will share the influencers opinion with their followers, hopefully creating a cascade of interest, i.e. “going viral”
It is “social” in the limited sense of sharing information with as many people as are interested. I wonder, are people really that interested in everything an author has to say?
Write It and They Will Come
For example, Jack writes a blog post that brilliantly describes the type of people who will be successful in his line of work. He includes persuasive infographics that clearly show traits of those who’ll be top tier. Jack continues with bullet points to outline the growth prospects of the industry and ends with a five step action-item list for wannabes to complete with little effort.
He tweets on Twitter the link to his genius post, and shares it on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. Jack’s post attracts the attention of influencers and it goes viral. Everybody is reading it and becoming aware of Jack.
So, people subscribe to Jack’s blog, Follow him on Twitter, and ask to connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. Before he wrote this fabulous industry breaking post, he had 500 social connections. Now he has over 50,000 connections and the number climbs everyday.
Now, Jack is a rock star and his accumulated list of influencers and followers are waiting for his next hit.
One Hit Wonder
Jack writes again. His connections can’t wait to enjoy another cerebral feast from the keyboard of Jack. This time his post is controversial and leaves a bad after taste with readers. A number of people unsubscribe or stop following him.
The next week, Jack attempts to dig out of the mess he released the previous week. Fewer people are reading his blog. However, his connection number is quite high, now over 75,000 since the post that brought him social media fame.
Bring on the Switch!
What if the measure of social media or networking success was tweaked somewhat? So every time a follower or influencer read a blog or text, they had to click the “Awesome” button if they liked what they read. If they read it and don’t click “Awesome” or don’t read it at all, it’s a lost connection. Similar to the kill switch on a train, where the engineer has to tap a button at a timed interval to keep the train going. No tap, the train stops.
Clicking the “Awesome” button would encourage followers to be more responsible and interactive. Following or liking somebody just because an influencer or advocate does, seems like to much power has been exchanged for laziness.
The Rocket Ride Down
Jack is a busy guy, and finds his time for writing has diminished. So, he reposts his older material, or mindlessly re-blogs other writer’s content. He sets up tweets that fire automatically throughout the day. The tweets point to his blog or have humorous memes and videos of cats doing evil things to dogs.
Very little of Jack is in any of it. Still, since a connection only needs to be made once for free and then nothing required to maintain it, Jack still has an impressive number of “connections.” I think they’re mostly zombies.
What about Jack?
A bit about Jack. He doesn’t know anything about many of his social connections. He’s aware that his connections total over 75,000. How does Jack maintain his relationships with this many people? He doesn’t. How many of these connections are relevant? Who knows?
The “networking” stream is flowing out with very little return. It is definitely one-way. How many of Jack’s million connections reach back to Jack? Why are you following Jack? Did you even read his first post? Did you really like it, or did you think you should because somebody you followed liked it?
Just how “social” is social media? What do you get out of it? Leave your comments below.
© 2015 J. Christopher Dunn