Social Media Fatigue: Can The Future Save Us?

Social Media Fatigue: Can The Future Save Us?

Heather Dougherty

Check out my social feeds lately and it’s like a cricket convention. Aside from the occasional Foursquare check-ins, which are inconsistent at best, there’s not much to see folks. I’m tired of “sharing.” There, I’ve said it. I’m over, finished, done with this second job that has spiraled into chore-dom. With some 1,000+  friends/brands, across six different networks, all clamoring for my attention (and me for theirs), it’s an exhausting pursuit just to cut through the noise to get (and give) news anyone gives two hoots about (even with Hootsuite at the ready).  Feeling overwhelmed by the whole social scene, I’ve — as the hippies phrased it —“dropped out.”

UNLIKE the freedom movement of the sixties, however, I do NOT feel liberated. I’m the Strategy Director at a digital marketing agency for cryin’ out loud. I can’t DROP OUT, right? I mean, what will my peers, clients and – perhaps more importantly – potential clients think when they go to validate my credentials by assessing my social activity? “She hasn’t posted in 3 weeks?!! Preposterous! How can I trust her to advise US?”

Maybe what’s preposterous are the expectations around my individual social activity. After all, do you ever see Don Draper taking an ad out for himself in The New Yorker? No, you don’t. It never would have happened. And it certainly wouldn’t have happened everyday, multiple times a day.

Of course, the internet has transformed us forever and we can’t look back – not that I even WANT to – but keeping pace with the current proliferation of new social sites and apps is not sustainable. Not for me, you OR your company. Furthermore, if I’m feeling this way – as an early adopter – isn’t that an indicator that the rest will follow? What happens when your tediously cultivated community decides to ‘drop out’? Or, at least, drop somewhere else?

Consolidation is the only manageable future I can imagine and we’re already seeing it starting to take hold.

As I imagine it…

  • Twitter becomes “the peoples’ news”, sitting alongside media news, providing data visualization in real-time and driving awareness and participation in world events.
  • The many video and music providers – YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, MySpace (yes, keep reading) Spotify, Pandora, etc. – consolidate and sit under one overarching entertainment umbrella, seamlessly integrated with TV.
  • Facebook becomes your diary (a natural leap based on the move to Timeline) – linking directly to Ancestry.com (or the like) – with sharing features focused on smaller, much closer-knit communities of friends and family.
  • Pinterest plays the part of a truly curated sharing space due to its more timeless nature, lack of linear structure and visual foundation. It will maintain its role as a personal catalog and likely incorporate public/private settings like other bookmarking services currently do.
  • Apps get folded into this central system based on function and only the ones that can easily integrate survive.

That seems more manageable, no?

There are inklings of this consolidation already happening, but it’s early and there’s still a lot of fragmentation – and so it will likely be for the next 5 years at least. There are definitely murmurings, though…

  • Twitter “Cards” bring Twitter closer to Facebook (though I think they may refocus to news as stated above)
  • Altimeter Group releases a report about how brands are struggling to streamline and consolidate their efforts across paid, owned and earned media…and how to solve it.

I am hopeful for a manageable future. In the meantime, I will refocus my own social efforts based on some sage advice from some well-respected friends in social…

  • Carri Bugbee, award-winning tweeter for Mad Men character @PeggyOlson, says she felt overwhelmed by the fragmentation by 2009, but contends that marketing/communication professionals do not have the option of dropping out. They need to understand the ethos of various social platforms, not just the mechanics, in order to make smart choices about where and how you (and your clients) participate. (translation: Suck it up.)
  • Olivier Blanchard, all-around marketing smarty pants, says he takes a different approach – only posting when, and where, he feels compelled to post. You can be sure he’s keeping on top of what’s new – just not participating everywhere, everyday. (translation: Spread it out.)

Thank you, friends, for putting things back in perspective. With that, I’m off to “drop back in” and find a way to manage the seemingly unmanageable, until my utopian convergence becomes reality.

 

Check out my social feeds lately and it’s like a cricket convention. Aside from the occasional Foursquare check-ins, which are inconsistent at best, there’s not much to see folks. I’m tired of “sharing.” There, I’ve said it. I’m over, finished, done with this second job that has spiraled into chore-dom. With some 1,000+  friends/brands, across six different networks, all clamoring for my attention (and me for theirs), it’s an exhausting pursuit just to cut through the noise to get (and give) news anyone gives two hoots about (even with Hootsuite at the ready).  Feeling overwhelmed by the whole social scene, I’ve — as the hippies phrased it —“dropped out.”

UNLIKE the freedom movement of the sixties, however, I do NOT feel liberated. I’m the Strategy Director at a digital marketing agency for cryin’ out loud. I can’t DROP OUT, right? I mean, what will my peers, clients and – perhaps more importantly – potential clients think when they go to validate my credentials by assessing my social activity? “She hasn’t posted in 3 weeks?!! Preposterous! How can I trust her to advise US?”

Maybe what’s preposterous are the expectations around my individual social activity. After all, do you ever see Don Draper taking an ad out for himself in The New Yorker? No, you don’t. It never would have happened. And it certainly wouldn’t have happened everyday, multiple times a day.

Of course, the internet has transformed us forever and we can’t look back – not that I even WANT to – but keeping pace with the current proliferation of new social sites and apps is not sustainable. Not for me, you OR your company. Furthermore, if I’m feeling this way – as an early adopter – isn’t that an indicator that the rest will follow? What happens when your tediously cultivated community decides to ‘drop out’? Or, at least, drop somewhere else?

Consolidation is the only manageable future I can imagine and we’re already seeing it starting to take hold.

As I imagine it…

  • Twitter becomes “the peoples’ news”, sitting alongside media news, providing data visualization in real-time and driving awareness and participation in world events.
  • The many video and music providers – YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, MySpace (yes, keep reading) Spotify, Pandora, etc. – consolidate and sit under one overarching entertainment umbrella, seamlessly integrated with TV.
  • Facebook becomes your diary (a natural leap based on the move to Timeline) – linking directly to Ancestry.com (or the like) – with sharing features focused on smaller, much closer-knit communities of friends and family.
  • Pinterest plays the part of a truly curated sharing space due to its more timeless nature, lack of linear structure and visual foundation. It will maintain its role as a personal catalog and likely incorporate public/private settings like other bookmarking services currently do.
  • Apps get folded into this central system based on function and only the ones that can easily integrate survive.

That seems more manageable, no?

There are inklings of this consolidation already happening, but it’s early and there’s still a lot of fragmentation – and so it will likely be for the next 5 years at least. There are definitely murmurings, though…

  • Twitter “Cards” bring Twitter closer to Facebook (though I think they may refocus to news as stated above)
  • Altimeter Group releases a report about how brands are struggling to streamline and consolidate their efforts across paid, owned and earned media…and how to solve it.

I am hopeful for a manageable future. In the meantime, I will refocus my own social efforts based on some sage advice from some well-respected friends in social…

  • Carri Bugbee, award-winning tweeter for Mad Men character @PeggyOlson, says she felt overwhelmed by the fragmentation by 2009, but contends that marketing/communication professionals do not have the option of dropping out. They need to understand the ethos of various social platforms, not just the mechanics, in order to make smart choices about where and how you (and your clients) participate. (translation: Suck it up.)
  • Olivier Blanchard, all-around marketing smarty pants, says he takes a different approach – only posting when, and where, he feels compelled to post. You can be sure he’s keeping on top of what’s new – just not participating everywhere, everyday. (translation: Spread it out.)

Thank you, friends, for putting things back in perspective. With that, I’m off to “drop back in” and find a way to manage the seemingly unmanageable, until my utopian convergence becomes reality.

 

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