Social Media Exhaustion – Over-Loading and Over/Mis-Reporting

Is this us…are we now the media? You know…”The Media”…

You know “those” people that compete to report information to gain readership? To gain clicks? To gain recognition of exclusivity? I used to be “The Media” and know what it means to compete to be the first to report, to provide the first images, the  first information…hell, I lived it! I still claim to be the first to fly over southern Louisiana in a helicopter to capture the first images for the world to see…just after Katrina.

Why does it matter? Why do we compete to stack our timelines when we hear some dies? Is it out of the need to share or to be the first to put it out “that” information? Do we consciously think about it as we do it…or have we bought into the synchronous style of social reporting. Are we digital voyeurs?

Facebook knows it…they openly admit they do not want to be the content creators but the content aggregators. Their timeline has the the “News Ticker” and will be adding new “Gestures” so people can do more than “Like”. Oh yeah…we can now subscribe to people without becoming friends, placing thought leadership into individuals’ timelines.

It can work to our advantage where we watch hurricanes and earthquakes unfold via Twitter. Providing rich information necessary to help people in need when the “mainstream media” had to have two sources to confirm. But…oh but…we see the flip side everyday from mainstream media we trust and support. We watched this misreporting happen during the Rep. Giffords shooting where it was misreported over the airwaves and the social spaces that she had died. Yep…just have to be the one to say it first. Mainstream media led the way and we followed by retweeting faster than we could stand it. We had to be the first to post the unconfirmed information to our timelines…to be the first to tweet and post those links. I wonder how many went back and deleted those posts? I wonder if I fed the frenzy?

We are overloaded…extremely overloaded. USAToday.com published predictions for 2012:

“In general, more and more people seem to be reevaluating their social and digital existence. Even the SOPA battle is revealing some unforeseen schisms. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bad idea, not because piracy is good, but because of the plan for enforcement is wrong and dangerous. That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.”

Yes…I bolded the important part. An we are in the midst of a fight over how content is created via the web…all the way up the food chain to the Congressional ranks with SOPA.

Our timelines are overloaded with individuals fighting to report information faster than the next. Lots of unconfirmed information from deaths of people we know to out-of-context quotes from political candidates. My social space is a competition between individuals competing to express opinions formed from mainstream media about political figures to videos captured of political candidates in the midst of heated, out-of-context debate and conversation.

Have we become the 6 O’clock news right inside our own timelines. No offense to the many of my friends and colleagues that are true journalists…but my timeline has become daytime drama from 4-6:30pm replacing the soap operas and 5-6pm news.

We are overloading our friends, family, and colleagues with un-truths in our social spaces. No wonder the numerous predictions across the spectrum have predicted 2012 as the year we pull back from the social space because of fatigue. Forbes.com just reported that Facebook flirting causes 1 in 3 divorces in 2011 overseas in England. This past March, The Guardian reported: “Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the “primary source” of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.”

I am a bit overloaded, trying to help clients sift through the social space…in the hopes to find the way to engage in digital word-of-mouth. It is a lot to sift through especially when our own personal space is a barrage of over-achieving social reporters. They are either competing to become the first to report or the first to pick a fight with a local church, hospital, brand, or “ex” something. No wonder customer service has become the next marketing (as reported by Forbes.com), because people have lots to report and fuss about online.

Yep…so who is the customer service for this rant? Well…maybe it is time to just trim back our social spaces; find better connections, richer content, and fonder communities. Time to get real.

***Image from Mashable.com via this link: CLICK HERE

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