Fall cleaning, raking leaves, and cleaning-up the social space.
Today…it was a day of cleaning. After a good weekend of social gatherings, thanks givings, and reflection…I spent time with family and less time with my online, social relationships. So, after the Christmas tree was picked…it was time to go outside and tidy up the yard for the winter season. I have three big oak trees around my house and a beautiful Japanese Cherry in my front year…boy do they shed some leaves. Time to pull out the rake and find the beautiful centipede underneath all those leaves. Thinking, raking, comtemplating…time to clean-up other areas as I move into the winter months, preparing for the New Year.
Social Media is just plain out getting noisy. It is about as noisy and overwhelming as those layers of leaves that needed to be raked. It is starting, well has become like a corporate minefield of noise. As more and more people, business, and applications dive into this new competitive playing field…it is becoming just as much like a machine as that corporate job I used to have.
Piles of leaves and a lots of raking to go…
Logging onto TweetDeck used to be fun. You could reach out to any person, anyone and more than likely get a response. Now, so many celebrities, corporate brands, big name CEO’s and people thinking they are celebrities have created noise and created the silos that these Social Media platforms were built to break down.
Now…the beating of the “man-chest” is about how many followers you have. These followers are not really followers, just people that have the opportunity to listen but not necessarily engage. They are like those piles of leaves just hanging out and covering what is green, what is fruitful.
The past year has experienced a tremendous amount of discussion on measurement and ROI…whatever the hell that means. We have lost the social…and yet implemented the business aspect of Social Media(s). Those who argue for the social, community aspect have sold out and are just as guilty as those they criticize…they are making a premium off speaking engagements and hefty social media retainers.
Disclaimer: Yes…I have a retainer with an organization to help with management of Social Media platforms. Yes, I get paid monthly. No, I do not Tweet and update Facebook on their behalf. It is their community and I just advise them on the best approaches and platforms to use to connect their communities. So, do I add to the problem…maybe, but trying to stay as pure as possible (whatever that means).
I need some water…and a new set of gloves.
I have totally locked down my personal Facebook account to people that I consider personal friends. I have un-followed one-third of the people I follow on Twitter a few weeks ago. I will do a cut list again. I am getting back to community. I am searching for a core community of people that want to grow both socially and professionally.
There are people on these platforms that used to answer questions, reply to mentions, and even carry a conversation…now they will not even answer a thought even when I ask with overly-nice tones. I used to tell my students that these Social Media platforms were a place that at anytime, you could have a conversation with a big corporate CEO…I barely believe that anymore. Reaching out in this space has turned into the same blackhole as trying to call them on the phone and getting an assistant or even talking to multiple customer service representatives at AT&T.
Social Media platforms are turning into true marketing platforms, another place to push information and less engagement. This is a rant, but I also think it is a sign in my mind that it is time to re-define why I use these platforms and who that I really want to connect with daily.
I DO NOT BELIEVE WE SHOULD DELETE OUR ACCOUNTS.
A few months ago, I found tons of merit in Spike Jones approach to get rid of the noise; close his Twitter account for two weeks, then re-open and start over. I like this so much…this was his way of getting through the noise. There is a lot of it. A lot of leaves. See…these leaves used to be green. On some of the trees that had beautiful blooms. Now, after they have changed so many colors…they pile up in my yard. They have piled up in my Facebook account, my Twitter account, my LinkedIn account, and even in my contact lists. Raking is a good thing, pushing them to the street for the city to pick-up.
So how do we get through the noise? How do we rake-up for the winter and get ready for new relationships?
1 – Write a mission statement for each Social Media account. What do I mean, write out how you want to use each account. How you will communicate with each account; who you want to allow or engage with using these accounts; if you will use it for business, personal, passion, cause, or all the above; and how often you want to use these accounts.
2 – Apply this mission statement to the people you follow and who follow you. Seriously, who do want to connect with daily? Use this as a barometer when you follow and also when you clean out your account.
3 – Clean-up your followers and who you follow. Go through an CLICK DELETE, UNFOLLOW, or BLOCK. Have that mission statement beside you when you clean-up, clean-out, block, and add back in.
4 – Clean-out all those many applications that connect through your social media accounts. We have so many different applications that connect and re-connect through out platforms from TweetDeck, Hootsuite, TwitPic, Seesmic, TwitVite, Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc., etc. Clean out those you do not use…these are platforms you have granted access to your accounts. This is the same as allowing tons of different people and companies having access to your email and bank accounts.
5 – Pick the right platform for you. It is not necessary to use all the platforms if it brings noise to your life. By us creating and starting an account, barley use this account, and leave it live without closing and not using it…we bring noise.
6 – Find and engage like minded people. Treat this online, social experience the same as an in-person social experience.
To be quite honest, I wrote this for myself. I needed to articulate for myself what was necessary for me to continue using and engaging with these platforms.