social networks

What Is Wrong With Social “Networks”?

I still recall the forum days, IRC, ICQ/MSN, MySpace and a lot more.

Social media is supposed to be about social networking and keeping in touch with people. Over the past couple of years, I don’t see that happening. Most interactions are monologues, people maintain accounts without really using them, touching base with folks is not always acceptable.

We are approaching social media wrong. Here’s my take on that.

Social Network

Highlights

00:00:00 – How People “Use” Social Media These Days
00:02:20 – Mixing Facebook With Business
00:03:43 – How Social Network Interaction Is Supposed to Work
00:05:48 – From A Networking Perspective
00:07:19 – I Think Social Media is Broken
00:08:47 – Ways to Actually Bond

Transcript

I have a pretty pressing problem with social media – the way it works right now. There are far too many social networks. When I get back in time and I remember the old days of forums, and ICQ, and before that, IRC.

Basically, it was a lot easier to create communities of people with common interests and kind of keep them more or less in the same place, right? Like, having just a few networks in IRC and having almost no alternatives other than AOL, and MSN which you know specific people were using for certain things.

It was kind of easier to just hang out with people in the same place. Having forums, which were kind of dedicated on specific activities makes it easier to just bond with people again with common interest, within that same specific circle.

How People “Use” Social Media These Days

Some would argue that it’s kind of similar right now, with having different groups on Facebook or so on. But I’d say that this is actually not the case, and there’s, the evolution of social media has been going on for a while now, and it’s really hard to actually connect to people on social nowadays.

I’ve made lots of experiments, like I go on Twitter, pick a random list that has been maintained a few years ago. I even did that last night with a friend. I just saw that most accounts or at least kind of a third of the accounts haven’t been posting at all for a year or two, which means they’re not using Twitter, which is fine.

But others are just out to posting links, or people are not writing but just sharing and re-tweeting. Which is kind of weird, it really doesn’t spark discussions.

Lots of people are on there if you follow them they won’t even notice, if you write them a direct message they won’t even notice and so on. Then you go on LinkedIn and you see the same thing, like lots of people have account it’s really exploding nowadays, and quite a lot of people are actually moving from Facebook or other places to LinkedIn.

After Microsoft’s acquisition, which I find weird but I don’t mind because I like LinkedIn. But again, lots of people just don’t, they don’t see their requests, user experience is pretty horrible in LinkedIn, it’s just making me crazy especially on desktop to be honest, and so forth.

So that’s another whole other medium that’s not in use.

Mixing Facebook With Business

Facebook – lots of people try to avoid it for business, for those that do business it gets a bit weird because you’re really kind of mix both things together. Like you want to maintain a professional outlook, and then you post photos of eating food, or drinking beers in a bar.

I don’t mind that – like I’m not saying you really need to be completely business professional and so on, but it’s just kind of mixing two things. Or if you’re using Facebook entirely for business I also find that weird, it’s not kind of the purpose of the network like it is with LinkedIn.

Then you have other networks like YouTube where you can try to communicate with channel alters, which are not replying to comments, which is insulting. Not to mention that this is kind of the norm for many Facebook pages, and Twitter accoumnts and whatnot.

So I think that social medias broken for various reasons. It’s, lots of people use it as a one way street for promotion. Again, I don’t mind that at all, like I do the same thing with my accounts, with my posts, with my videos and everything else. But I also do interact and I also use the media as kind of equal citizen, someone who’s actually active, following other people, reading other posts. Interacting with others’ content and so on.

How Social Network Interaction Is Supposed To Work

I find it a bit weird where I’m trying to write some comments and respond to people on other posts, and there’s pretty much really no one, it’s like, it’s almost like a press release. You just launch something online and you say, hey I did this A, B, C, you can contact me, here are my contact details. Like what the hell bro, that’s social media, it’s not how it’s supposed to work.

In a nutshell again, lots of people have accounts everywhere but they don’t really use almost any of those accounts, or they only use Facebook for fun so that they just happen to see what else is going on. Not even going to touch on Google Plus, we all know what happened there, nothing.

As someone said the other day I really felt bad and I wanted to be alone so I just stop on Google Plus. But again, just a … I’m digressing, it’s really the way we use social media nowadays is not really how we were supposed to do that.

It has to be an equal process of participating and also kind of receiving information, and kind of being informed or so on. Facebook is the largest social network nowadays, even though I think that YouTube is the second largest kind of search engine, so that’s also something worth noting. But both aren’t really receiving that many interactions, even though Facebook obviously is the winner because their groups are fine, interacting with people is fine and so forth.

Youngsters Are Dodging Facebook

But youngsters, the generations that is really trying to dodge Facebook because they see it as a platform for old people. Lots of interviews say, like interviewing people aged 15 to 20 or so, they just say well I don’t really want to use Facebook, my parents are there, my grandparents are there. Like I don’t feel like sharing everything to my family, it’s like it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t resonate with them, which is kind of fine.

But what they do is they go on Instagram and SnapChat which is a completely other way of interacting with people and actually kind of expressing something, and just making some bond.

From A Networking Perspective

On the other hand from a professional standpoint if you just want to again, interact with people, just from a networking perspective, again, lots of people are looking like they claim that they’re open for networking.

They go to networking events online but they’re closed offer, you don’t have a basis for contacting those people. Like they don’t write work posts, they probably write those press releases on LinkedIn and so on. But they don’t comment on them, they don’t respond to these questions, they don’t participate otherwise.

You end up talking to the wall, I mean it’s … There’s literally no interactivity. At the same time, so there was [inaudible 00:06:28] almost a month ago, and I shared on Twitter that I’m not going to participate and lots of people say, hey, you’re going to be missed. We haven’t seen each other for a while. We haven’t interacted for quite some time, yada, yada.

I do appreciate that, and it’s nice because I also miss those people and would have some fun spending some times with them. But those are people who, again, they read my status, and I’m active there, and they never really reach out on direct message or just texting me, or asking for Skype or anything like that.

Just interact, they’re like hey really wanted to see you in person, even though we are actually here and we can actually chat, and have a conversation. I know it’s online but I mean we can jump on and hang on, or whatever, and actually have a conversation, or a call, or anything.

I Think Social Media is Broken

That’s why I think that social media is broken, it’s not supposed to work like a monitoring cue, it’s not supposed to work like a public feed of your accomplishments or your photos over the weekend, which again for Facebook and Instagram I think it’s fine.

But the rest is really networking should be done right, and currently, there’s no single medium that you’d know that the majority of people are following and using, and would be happy kind of interacting with other people. A kind of the best practice etiquette for how okay it is to interact with other people. It’s all really weird.

Again, if you go to a networking event you’re supposed, or like a conference, a meet up or anything else, you’re supposed to interact with people. You’re supposed to work with people, alongside with them, and spend time with them and what not.

So it’s there’s, no stigma around actually interact with us, but on social media it’s weird, it’s supposed to be social and most people don’t respond to comments or replies. Like I’ve had so many times actually reporting kind of seeing a blog post, seeing a broken link there, reporting a broken link and this link is left even if I have reported it twice. Just because people don’t read those emails. Not to mention that some celebrities, they do have personal assistants, and virtual assistants handling email. They actually ignore most of those emails, which is even weirder.

Ways To Actually Bond With People

So yeah in a nutshell what I’d like to conclude is keeping in touch. I do think it’s the right thing to actually do networking. When you like someone’s something, whatever it is, accomplishment, a status, don’t be afraid to just comment.

I’m actually chatting with a lot of people just sending them a message as well, like hey, I’m seeing that your business works really well, it’s evolving, really happy to see you moving forward. Just keep up the great work, or I see that someone did something, or volunteered somewhere and say, “that’s a great cause, keep up the great work” it’s really motivation.

So I’m not, I don’t want to act like life coach or something, or motivational coach, but it’s really a way to actually bond with people. Sometimes like the only way to connect, I have specific people that I chat with, and they know that they’re only active in a specific network so I have to maintain like 10 of them in order to make it work.

So yeah, if you have a social media account make sure at least your notifications are on so that you can receive messages. If you receive too many messages maybe you just need to block some people or something. But otherwise make sure you’re accessible, try to interact with other people, make some good deeds and use social as it’s supposed to.