Nerd alert: I love communication.
From the Paleolithic cave paintings in the Altamira caves, to an 140 character Tweet, to a letter a great-aunt writes and mails to her great-nephew, all of these events illustrate the humanistic need to share experiences and connect with other human beings.
Wikipedia defines communication as “the process of transferring information from one entity to another.”
The key here is that information is transferred and then received; a process involving two willing entities.
So simple. So beautiful.
So jacked-up when you consider all the chaos that exists in the social media realm.
‘Early’ studies of online communities as they developed in blogs were often held up to Lasswell’s or even Shannon and Weaver’s models of communication. Regardless of what model or paradigm you were a scenario – or in this case an online community – through, the presence and extent of two-way communication defined an online community.
I believe this same, very basic concept can be applied to social media for any person, business or brand. The rate at which friends, fans, consumers, or complete strangers are engaged and then reciprocally engage, defines the quality of your social networks.
Again – not rocket science. Yet, when I sign into Facebook or Twitter, I’m overwhelmed with GROUND NOISE and STATIC. No one is talking to me and everyone is talking AT me.
In this industry, I even see businesses selling social media ‘platforms’ or ‘strategies’, as if the art of genuinely communicating with other human beings can be bottled and sold. It seems the brands, products or companies who are ‘tearing it up’ on social media are those who have people that genuinely love the brand/product/service doing the communicating. These companies are few and far between though, and I believe the result of the mad rush to “be on social media” or “have a social media marketing plan” is all the mayhem we’re consistently bombarded with in the online realm.
Should you be on social media? Well, do you have something you are so impassioned to say? Do you have someone you care about saying it to? Do you think they will care to listen?
Most importantly, will you put forth the effort to listen and respond to their response?
I wish I could bottle and sell this process in the social media realm. Easier said than executed.
Although if I could, we might just inject some calm amidst the social media mayhem.
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