Social Media Sucks, Especially Twitter

Preface: I am going to spend 2 hours working on this post, whether I like it or not.

Social Media Sucks

It does.  Think about it, how much of your day is sucked in doing something online?  If you’re anything like me, it’s almost a constant struggle to stay away from online chatter and “actually work”.

Here’s some interesting stats from eConsultancy about social media usage:

  • Facebook claims that 50% of it’s active users log in at least once a day.
  • 15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging.
  • Near the end of 2009, Twitter was accumulating 27.3 million Tweets a day.
  • There are more than 3 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each week.

Social media is a complete and utter time-suck.  But isn’t that what you want?

“L” Is For the Way You Log At Me

The rise of social media began because we finally found a way to connect with each other in real time based on common interests and the desire to foster communication to build relationships.  And relationships take time.

I’ve been married for almost two years, and we dated for almost two years prior to that.  Day in and day out for almost 4 years I have worked to foster a healthy relationship with the woman that is my wife.  I should be a master at it by now, right? (Glorious laughter erupts from married couples worldwide.)  No, I still suck and have to try every day to make that relationship work.

Why?

Because building relationships takes time.  You don’t just magically wake up one day and have 13,768 followers on Twitter the same way you don’t wake up one day and magically understand everything there is to know about marriage.  You engage over time and add value to what people are talking about and slowly you get re-tweeted and commented on and you build followers.  It’s not easy, but it can be fun as hell.  And I touched on my next point, which is…

If Social Media Sucks, Then Twitter is the Dyson

Twitter usage increased 3,700% from 2008 to 2009.  In one month alone in 2009, over 299,000 minutes was spent tweeting and re-tweeting.  Yes, Twitter is a procrastinatory force to be reckoned with.

Twitter is the ultimate conversation.  It’s millions and millions of people holding billions of conversations about anything and everything you can image.  What better way to connect with your audience?

  • Don’t you want to connect with your target market?
  • Don’t you want to put a human feel/face on your company so people trust you?
  • Didn’t you spend years wishing there was a way to connect directly to your audience for free?

And now you want to give it all up because it takes a lot of time to get it working correctly?  “There’s no immediate or foreseeable ROI in it for us.”  Well, whoopty-damn-doo.   There’s no immediate ROI for marriage or child-birthing either, but we take those risks because we believe fostering those relationships is important. (BTW there’s a great post by @julien about factoring risks into success here).

Do or Do Not, There is No Try

50% of marriages in this country end in divorce. (More if you factor in Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, but they are outliers).  Why do you think that is?  Are half the people in the country simply incapable of handling the commitment of marriage or do you think there might be something else going on here.  My theory is this: we have forgotten how to maintain relationships.

In our lives of instant gratification, the long play of marriage/relationship building is just too hard.  If I want a hamburger, I drive 2 miles from my house and one is waiting for me.  If I want rice, I boil water and cook rice and if I don’t want to wait the 3 minutes for the water to boil, I put instant rice in the microwave and 45 seconds later I have rice.  If I want to uncomfortably flirt with a complete stranger, I go on Chatroulette (which I’ve never actually done). There is no waiting anymore.  There is no build.

Even in social media, where the gratification is almost quicker than real time, the act of relationship building takes a significant amount of time because we are programmed to initially distrust those we don’t know.  Conversations must be held, tweets must be RT’ed and, God Forbid, in-person meetings must be held to foster trust and mutual respect.

How do you build relationships online?  Do you find that Twitter is the best way or do you prefer Facebook or LinkedIn?  Do you share my opinion that in order to build lasting relationships you have to have a presence in more than one social media medium?

Social media is the ultimate time-suck.  Just yesterday I spend an hour of my life watching Scott Stratten of Unmarketing fame give a presentation taped a few weeks ago. (see the video here)  It’s amazing and it sucked an hour of my life away, for which I am eternally grateful.  I feel I learned a lot and believe I can be better at what I do because of that time spent.  I spend at least and hour or two reading and commenting on blogs each day and I tweet throughout the day.  Why?  Because I believe in relationships and I believe that it is my duty to foster them into mutually beneficial partnerships.

What are you doing to build those relationships?  Do you agree or disagree with me?  Comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

P.S. – Official time on the blog was 2 hr 7 min. of which I will never get back, but that’s okay, I’m hoping to get a lot more back in return.

jS


About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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9 Responses to Social Media Sucks, Especially Twitter

  1. Building relationships agreeably takes time and effort (imagine that instant gratification peeps) whether in business, friendship or life. My experience has held no one platform Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is best. They all work on some level. Each platform offers opportunities to engage in conversation. The conversation takes precedence, not the medium. Having a presence in all three may be helpful in expanding your opportunity ti meet others but it may not necessarily be more effective. Find one that works you, if all three (or more) do then keep at it.

    I use Tweetdec and allow for scheduled intervals of use which are timed. Once the bell rings, that’s it, back to more directly productive tasks.

    Moses Ma deines Twitter from a psychologists perspective, I enjoy his take on social media, however, I also think social media is just beginning to evolve.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-tao-innovation/200903/understanding-the-psychology-twitter

    BTW: I found this post via a RT on Twitter from someone who found it interesting, never would have found it otherwise. In this instance Twitter is valuable as a search tool on specific topics.

    The business crowd seems split on the value of social media. I think this is the yin/yang of business for immediate profit vs. business for growth through long term relationships. Looking for the quick sale, Twitter probably isn’t for you. Looking to build (or maintain) a relationship that could lead to more business or a joint business venture, or staying current with business trends in your industry, etc. then social media is possibly your best bet.

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree totally and I’m glad you found me through an RT (Twitter communication at it’s finest) and I hope you keep reading. I think over time you will see more and more companies adopt social media into their programs and it will become a very valuable tool to be used in the correct circumstances.

      • I have found it invaluable in staying up with trends in my industry, creating new business relationships and with posts like yours expanding my knowledge beyond what I ever thought possible even 5 years ago.

  2. Sally G. says:

    Hi Joey. I found my way here via Mark Shaefer’s comment section ~ your final statement was so unexpected and so funny, I had to read more. (written on behalf of Joey Strawn by his mother)

    I agree with your sentiments in this post. I am presently in reflective process of putting context and perspective on my online participation ~ because I have found myself feeling like some days have not been spent as productively as they could have been.

    I have ‘met’ the most incredible people via Twitter and Blog Posts. I gravitate to individuals who make me think, make me laugh, inspire me to be better, do better, live better ~ and also to those who share information of value to me.

    I’m grateful to have bumped into you in Mark’s comment stream yesterday – and I thank you for the time you are investing of your Self with others. I quite like you …

    • Well I quite like you as well Sally. I’m very appreciative of you reading and commenting and hopefully I’ll continue to be able to help with my written meanderings. I love meeting people online and building those relationships because I believe it makes me a better communicator and that’s my goal: to make myself and those around me better for being here.

      Social media is a great way to grow those relationships and skills and I’m glad that you are consciously trying to participate online. It makes us all better for it. Thanks again for commenting and tell your friends!

  3. Hi there buddy! Just adding a short little note in your guestbook to say hi there from Halifax, which is up in Canada. I’m really impressed with the good quality of blog writing you have yourself here, and I’ll without a doubt be back again to say hello once again in the near future. That’s just about everything from me, hope you have a superb rest of the year!

  4. randy lahey says:

    nice dart bud

  5. yash money says:

    and that was hey ya with….. outkast

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