Mainline and online news agencies are still enamored of social media. For example, articles reporting the death of singer Amy Winehouse gave as much space to reporting how many Tweets were posted worldwide as they did discussing the woman’s passing.
This has happened before. During Japan’s earthquake and tsunami tragedy, as well as Haiti’s earthquake months earlier, Twitter trending and Facebook posts garnered ample shares of the coverage. When the Obama Administration makes an announcement social media action is part of the news report. So too with sports: during the Women’s World Cup we were regularly treated to breathless reports about how many Twitter followers Hope Solo or Abby Wambach had gained that day. Social media, it seems, are part of the news, at least for now.
This isn’t going to last. Remember when motels used to advertise “Color TV”? Now it’s “Free WiFi,” whatever is the latest and greatest draw. The same will happen for social media. The shine will wear off the rose.
There’s some sign this is already happening, at least in terms of people becoming stressed by how many social media are available, how many accounts they establish, and how often they post or check the stream. One article recommended, among several other things, these ways to avoid social media burnout:
- “Identify different and specific uses for your various social networks. Many use Facebook just for friends or family, Twitter as a public persona and LinkedIn for work relationships. Figure out what your priorities are, and stick to them.
- Use software or Web apps for monitoring multiple social networks simultaneously.
- Set specific times to use (or to stay away from) social networks. Take a day off and go get some sun.
- Don't get obsessed with how many Facebook friends or Twitter or Google+ followers you have. Who cares?
- Don't get stressed out about the content you are missing. You do not have to read every tweet or update. Treat your social-media stream like a river - dip in and get out as your time permits.
- Pick your social networks wisely. Some aren't worth your time. If a social network isn't providing value and relevance, ditch it.”
One could argue that articles reporting how Amy Winehouse’s death trended in social media are offering a legitimate comment about her popularity. Maybe. But it still seemed to me to be superfluous and mundane. A young and highly talented woman had died tragically. By comparison, who cares what’s happening in social media?
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.