Tee Morris, co-author of Podcasting For Dummies and author of the forthcoming All A Twitter, has started releasing a collection of talks he has given about businesses failing to be authentic when it comes to using so-called ‘social media’ services.
In his five part video podcast series of talks titled Anti-Social Media, he cites many examples of businesses who do not understand the ‘social’ aspect of ‘social media.’ From automated Direct Messages on Twitter to misleading blogs as advertising vechicles, this is a veritable ‘what not to do’ guide for businesses finding their feet online.
One of the most interesting observations he makes in the first installment of Anti-Social Media is about the very people who currently consume blogs, podcasts and social media services. Tee explains:
With success, the people who have been there since the beginning are worried about social media going ‘mainstream.’ They’re terrified of social media going ‘mainstream.’ The problem is that’s what we want. We want social media to go mainstream.
You always know when a social media service you use has appeared in mainstream media because people are talking about it. Both on the service itself and in other places too. There seems to be a mixture of giddy anticipation and trepidation among hardcore users when the likes of Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg and Ellen DeGeneres start making mention of Twitter.
The initial thought, “Finally people get it,” might be replaced by another, “Do they get it? Are they just jumping on the latest bandwagon?” I mean Barrack Obama was a prolific tweeter… up until he got elected. For all their mentions it seems unlikely that Jay, Whoopi and Ellen are devoting much time to the practice.
Even a close personal friend of mine who is largely bewildered as to why she is on Twitter feels a great compulsion to be on Twitter after a publication she regularly reads wrote about the service.
Though even this is largely inconsequential since Twitter – like all social media services – operates on an opt-in basis. Lots of people were using the service in the kinds of antisocial inauthentic ways Tee describes long before the extra media attention. You were under no obligation to ‘follow’ them then and you certainly aren’t required to follow them now. Indeed you have the luxury of a ‘block’ button should you think it necessary.
The flip side of this phenomena is that more new people might mean more interesting people too. Sure they might fumble their way through at first, but they’ll learn by doing. We have to remember we were all beginners at one point. (I find the notion of the n00b to be really disingenuous). Our social media experiences will be enriched by a greater diversity of people within our various social networks.