As social media matures your ability to scale will diminish

As more and more client works begins to come through the door, a funny thing is starting to happen. I’m having less conversations with my peers. What’s more, I’m seeing less conversations. What’s worse, with Google Buzz launching, another network has been created to have more conversations…with ultimately the same people. Which begs the question:

How many networks is too many networks?

I’ve been maintaining for awhile now that as more social networks appear that have cool bells and whistles, that we feel we must join because of that cool “it” factor, the more our conversations will become diluted. And what ultimately happens is we make guest appearances on these social sites. We blow in for a drink and we’re back out the door.

What does this all mean? It means we can’t scale too well. It means as more and more networks are created and developed to be Facebook killers and Twitter killers, the more time that we’re going to need to at the least, kick the tires, create a profile, contribute to some conversations and give it a test drive which further diminishes the value of our time that we may devote to ourselves.

To me, to properly scale means that everything within your control grows at a controllable and manageable rate. Manageable being the operative word there.

Clients will always have our attention first but as we continue to grow that side of the equation, the other side will suffer. The side that helps us learn, grow, contribute and be a part of the ongoing conversation that is social media.

How do we scale? How are you doing it? How can you do it better?

4 thoughts on “As social media matures your ability to scale will diminish

  1. Marc, I have the same problem as you. More work = great, but less time to interact and learn. I have not done as good a job as I’d like at reading others’ blogs and leaving comments on them or interacting as much as I’d like on Twitter. What has helped me somewhat is creating a few lists of people who I’d like to follow closely/stay in touch with and separate these people from the masses.

    As our networks grow, our ability to scale individual conversations decreases, while our ability to reach a mass audience increases. It is tempting to use Twitter to promote and not engage, since time is limited. There’s a fine line between participation and promotion. Many of us do a pretty decent job at balancing this, but I think we’ll see more promotion on Twitter and some of these other networks as they grow and more people adopt them.

  2. The different networks are something of an illusion. They’re just different places to hold conversations – rather like having several different email providers. Just like GMail (or whatever) brings all your email accounts together in one place, someone will invent an aggregator that brings all your social media accounts on the different networks together into one application. The differences will vanish.

    That won’t solve the problem of having too many conversation to track of course, but even that is solvable by some sort of software agent that ‘intelligently’* highlights certain people or topics.

    It’s all solvable. Fun too.

    * Intelligently in the software sense of the work, using some sort of basic search.

  3. @Jason sorry for the delay. I think your point about using twitter to promote rather than engage is dead on and even more so, its engulfing us.

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