Welcome to the first post of She Said, He Said in 2012! Social media fatigue will be our blog post topics this week as well as our discussion for #shehechat on Twitter at 8 p.m. CST Thursday. Also, make sure you check back tomorrow for Jim’s view.
The other night, I was watching a TV show (surprisingly not from a recording off my DVR). This particular show is one I really like so I didn’t mind sitting through the commercials. About halfway through the hour-long episode, I turned it off. At every break, I was subjected to the same commercial. When I realized that I had it memorized, I picked up the remote. I was tired.
As the clock ran down on 2011, my Twitter stream was full of social media “experts” plugging their blog posts about how to avoid the social media mistakes we made that year and how to use social media correctly in 2012. I avoided reading those posts but looked back at a few of the authors’ timelines. Most were full of broadcasts of the same messages over and over again. I got tired.
Whether you still consider it to be new media or not, there has been another round of talk recently about how social media is just getting tiresome. It made me wonder why everyone is tired of it. Is it the time we have to spend with our various networks? Is it the repetition? Are people just bored?
A question of time
Out of curiosity, I looked up “social media fatigue” and it appears that the first syndrome broke out last summer around the time Google+ arrived as the newest social media network. Many blog posts I read echoed this sentiment: “Another social network? I don’t have the time!”
Truthfully, I get it. While you can sign up for most social media networks without spending a dime, they are not free. Using social media means time dedication and time is an asset that has to be used wisely. Indeed, social media costs you time.
Also, many people are active on more than one social network. Take the time spent on one network and multiple it by three or four and suddenly social media is taking up hours, not minutes. When I stop to think about the time I put into social media both personally and professionally in a week, I can see how someone might get tired.
Rinse, but please don’t repeat
In my TV commercial example, I turned off a show I really liked to watch because I was inundated with the same commercial four or five times in a 30-minute time period. If I got tired from a television broadcast’s repetition where I didn’t expect any interaction, imagine what that strategy does in the social media world.
Repetition is especially annoying and tiresome in a social media community where interaction is supposed to take precedence. I wanted to ask those “experts”: Where is the engagement in all that repetition? No wonder some people are getting tired.
This is just boooorrrriiiinnngggg
Again back in August, Memeburn posted the results of a social media survey conducted by a U.S.-based research house. The survey found that many people said they were using certain social media networks less than when they first signed up. Reasons varied from worries about online privacy to the younger, tech-savvy groups professing boredom with their favorite networks.
Even if boredom is really an issue, I have to wonder if that’s the fault of the network or the user. It’s difficult for me to label any social network as boring. Social media networks update, upgrade and change frequently because technology is always advancing. When changes are made, there’s usually an outcry of negativity from users who refuse to embrace them. This tells me that social media isn’t stagnant and boring but, in general, users want to continue to use them in the same unchanging way.
Don’t settle for fatigue
Beating social media fatigue is really in the hands of the users (and I’m looking at me as well as all of you). My action plan can be summed up in three simple steps:
- Make the time for social media and use that time wisely. Time is money and I’ve invested in social media.
- Make sure that I’m sharing, engaging and interacting every day – not just broadcasting. It’s the best way to avoid repetition.
- Embrace changes to social media as they come and integrate them. New features should equal differences in my sharing methods and help avoid boredom amongst my followers and friends.
So will 2012 be the year of social media fatigue? My answer is only if we let it be.