Saturday, December 26, 2009

End of Year Musings

I don't know if it's because it's the holidays or because I have barely been out of the house in weeks and the recirculated air is beginning to rot my brain but I'm finding myself at a bit of a social media impasse recently. More and more, the concept of "social media" is being paired with "marketing" to the point that, frankly, the subject is losing its luster for me. Marketing is not that interesting to me; certainly not interesting enough that I feel moved to take time out of my day several times a week to write about it. I am not a marketer. I blog because I love to write, and I use online tools like Facebook, Twitter and others to communicate because I have a two kids, a husband and a house to take care of, as well as a full-time job--I don't have a lot of time for socializing other than the kind you can do online. I know that it's possible to have meaningful relationships online and I know the internet is a powerful tool for connecting with people outside the small geographical area in which we each live.

Frankly, the snakeoil/sleaze factor of social media of late is getting to me. The amount of money some companies are charging--and paying--for stuff like setting up a Twitter account or a Facebook page or doing a blogger outreach campaign--is, frankly, stultifying. My boss and I had a conversation about this recently--he worked in San Francisco during the dot com bubble and he said that what's happening now feels exactly the same as that whole thing felt back in the dot com hay-day. The gold-rush mentality, the crazy money being thrown around, the opportunists creating stuff because people were willing to pay any price because, well, who really knew why. We all know how that ended.

Add to that the whole rockstar component of this whole thing ("Internet celebrity"? Seriously?), the bullshit factor, the fact that half of it doesn't even work half the time (I've said it before and I'll say it again now--the fact that Facebook and Twitter are so prone to crashing, viruses, hacks and who knows what else just doesn't jive with the billions of dollars both are allegedly worth), the focus on number of followers and fans whether those numbers mean anything or not, the fact that we're all basically talking about the same things over and over again....I'm just starting to not feel it.

What to do about it? Break up with social media, like Suzemuse? Blog about something else? Quit blogging altogether and get started on that novel once and for all? I'm honestly not sure.

In the meantime, I'll say this. For all the talk about social media and ROI, to me, this comment made by a member when I posted on Facebook that I had returned to ASHA is what I consider to be positive social media ROI:
You are the Mother of my Facebook. Because of you, I started it. Look at me now.

In other words, to me, it's not about numbers, it's about relationships and helping people connect.

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