February 06, 2009

Social Media Topics That Have Jumped The Shark

Guest Post By Adam Singer of The Future Buzz (FriendFeed/Twitter)

I try my best every so often to bring a dose of logic to the world of blogs on social media. What I thought would be fun would be a post about topics written by social media and meta bloggers that I personally don't think serve a purpose.

If you read enough SM blogs, you know why this is necessary. If not, congratulations, you can skip this post and live on blissfully unaware of what I'm talking about. Let's jump into it:

Posts complaining about the echo chamber

Common complaint: The echo chamber is boring, topics being discussed have already been discussed to death, topics are obvious, or there are simply too many blogs/people discussing a certain subject.

Why these posts are unnecessary: last time I checked, we were in control of how high the volume is set and what sites we subscribe to. There are plenty of great blogs out there and if you're smart enough to write up a post detailing why the echo chamber sucks, you're smart enough to filter out the noise from the signal. Not sure what complaining about it does. Instead of complaining about the noise in the echo chamber, figure out how you can maximize signal and minimize noise. If you don't like it, just don't read it.

A previous post bringing logic to this situation: there's no reason to feel overwhelmed.

Complaining about list posts

Common complaint: lists are selling out, gimmicky, overdone, boring, not deep content, etc.

Why these posts are wrong: harping on a specific way of formatting content doesn't seem very logical. People like lists - and there is definitely high engagement on those pages (I've checked the stats). I see no reason why the way content is formatted should matter if the content itself is useful or interesting. Yes, there can be bad lists - just like there can be bad blog posts not in lists format - the format itself is irrelevant. Lists are great, I'll prove it to you:

  1. Are scannable
  2. Provide easy to read and consume content
  3. Have the novelty factor
  4. Are many times "must-share" content
  5. Engage people
  6. Are at times humorous, entertaining or incredible
  7. Are a strong social Web meme
  8. Get strong traffic
A previous post bringing logic to this situation: A Guilty Pleasure of the Blogosphere and Social Media: Lists

Social media "experts"

Common complaint: Everyone is a social media/new media consultant/specialist (insert other fancy, self imposed title here).

Why these posts don't matter: Making general complaints is kind of worthless. Complaining at the macro level accomplishes nothing - if you are going to write a complaint, call them out. Seriously. I've done it here, and even had a good reason/sample of what they had done wrong and laid out my case logically for the world to see. I thought it was fair, because they were wrong in writing what they did and didn't bother to listen when I brought the matter up privately. I saw no reason it wasn't the right move to show what they were doing wrong publicly when I was being ignored and they weren't even playing by their own rules.

A previous post bringing logic to this situation: Titles Are As Meaningless As Ever

Lack of good content

Common complaint: Lack of quality content in tech/social media/marketing/basket weaving/insert niche here.

Why these posts are wrong: Just because your favorite blogger stopped posting as frequently and instead is spending all their time on Twitter/FriendFeed doesn't mean there aren't hordes of other bloggers still writing smart content on your subject of choice. I know some of the early adopter crowd has a hard time believing people are still using tools that are a few years old - but the reality is there is plenty of great content being created in all platforms, not just the new ones.

A previous post bringing logic to this situation: FriendFeed And Twitter Have *Not* Killed Blogging


Sorry for getting all meta on you. I personally am not complaining, I am pretty happy with my current system for filtering content - but venture into these types of posts every so often thanks to random Tweets / FriendFeed links and thought I could do some good to help the situation. Feel free to point out the irony of this post in the comments, I'm well aware. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

Of course, usefulness is relative - what I find irrelevant, you might find interesting. And, there's nothing wrong with that either.

Also if you're going to complain, at least offer some guidance/next steps to fix the situation. Rants are fine with a purpose. Steven Hodson is great at them - read his blog if you're looking for how to be snarky and do it with class.

What posts by social media bloggers do you think have jumped the shark?

Read more by Adam Singer at The Future Buzz