If you wanted to look at what or why or how social media works, you have to look at its Tangible Relevance…It’s essentially the melding of being precisely identified with practical social applicability. Look no further than in an article last week in Adage by Simon Dumenco titled, “Balloon Boy, Kanye West and Lady Gaga Walk Into a Bar …”
In that piece Dumenco refers to an earlier article in which he says:
The rapid dissemination of misinformation through Twitter and other real-time social media is increasingly causing a “general derangement of reality” that’s “becoming more and more endemic to the way we consume information and communicate…
He then goes on to marvel at how the public Twitter time line reflects our fascination with Kanye, Lady Gaga and Balloon Boy. Sadly, he’s right! Now back to my opening statement. Yes social media works because of “Tangible Relevance”, but what I see slowly starting to appear, and maybe not so slowly, is a phenomenon called “irrelevant social media with zero social applicability”. Just look at what was trending; Kanye, Lady Gaga and Balloon Boy?
Simply put, the average, social media using public does not need to, nor do they desire to think while consuming social media. A) we make it easy for them not to and B) they just want to be in the moment. Watching, semi-participating but not getting dirty. Let’s call it social media rubber necking. Slowing down long enough to check out what’s going on, make a comment, say something derogatory, view some video, share some misinformation, push out your 2 cent content with zero value and move on.
The problem with all of that? It has zero social depth. There is no practical application to the content, to the story, or to the overall value. It’s like eating cotton candy. It tastes good, looks pretty, but you’re going to be hungry in an hour. Do I have a solution? Nope. Even worse? This is not going to go away or diminish in any shape, way or form. All you can do is watch and comment. Or better yet, bring value to your social engagements. Indeed a general derangement of reality is dominating common social media usage.
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I think this belongs in the same box as the 60% of twitter conversation has no real value statement from a while back.
Yes lots of conversation is inaine, pointless, and useless. But it builds a shared moment, shared memory and relationship with the people you’re conversing with. That has it’s own intrinsic value which is nearly impossible to quantify.
This lends itself to the arguement that social media is a time waster. But in my view that’s about all it does for the arguement.