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December 11, 2012 / Michael E Picray

Is Social Media Anything Like Social Disease?

Well… it has been a whole day or two since I posted, so I guess I can venture forth and see how far I can stick my foot in my mouth today.

Cruising the web this AM I found an article titled:
5 Ways Social Media Will Change The Way You Work in 2013
by a guy named Eric Savitz at Forbes.

Unfortunately Mr Savitz begins with a flawed premise. That being that the reader uses social media at all… for anything. And he emphasizes his total commitment to his chosen world by making social media the ONLY way you can contact him! (No available email). So instead of me sending this to him privately, it’s going publicly.

Mr Savitz apparently believes that collaboration is always a good thing. One of the “improvements” he apparently believes in is :

enabling employees to form virtual work groups and exchange ideas on centralized message boards. Among the greatest virtues of these tools is their ability to unlock the “dark matter” normally trapped in email inboxes, making relevant content accessible and searchable for the entire company.

I had the misfortune of experiencing this “benefit” in college, only there they called it “group projects.” In EVERY group project that I was required to participate in, there would be one, or if the group was large enough two, individuals who had ALL the ideas, and who did ALL the meaningful work, while the rest of the group either just went along for the ride (ie gaining the benefit of the worker’s efforts), or got in the way and sat around saying stupid stuff.

Now, if social media enabled the management to determine who the idea people were and the individuals who actually produced the end product so they could get rid of the dead weight, it would be a wonderful thing. But that’s apparently not the way it is supposed to work.

Apparently, he envisions that all “working group” members are supposed to blither their days away, “contributing” the worthless mulch of their minds in real time without the internal mental fermentation that separates good ideas from time wasters. Thus the time wasters will flood the system, and the quantity of valueless work will swamp the system.

Nice. Hey! Rah, rah! Go social media!

But my largest objection to this attitude is that anyone and everyone who doesn’t “do” social media is either somehow “not worthy” or a waste of time. IN today’s world, virtually EVERY genius in history would be unemployed and ignored by the people who guard the job gates – the “human resources” folk. You know them… they use computers to keyword search resumes and reject all others? (So who is doing the personnel function, them or the computer? Why do you even need an HR person? A secretary could load the scanners and print out the results for management!)

I “did” Facebook – for a while. I spent a lot of time playing games (I was in the top 100 players in “Mouse Hunt”!!!). The games were the only activity that were worth doing. The “social” stuff was empty, meaningless drivel.  And FYI – the contacts in Linkedin are also worthless since Linkedin seems to send out invitations without your approval.

And like so many other single-focus people in the world, Mr Savitz fails to see the down side of his chosen world. Along with many others, he thinks that social media is a FINE thing for business!!! Well… if a business wants to open the personnel files to the world, open their books to the world, and give their competition information that will enable them to competitively destroy the company – fine. Let it be so, because once you go all-out social media, you have no more business secrets. “Security” ceases to be even a valid concept in the social media world. Facebook can’t even protect your accounts from hacking and takeovers! Once your account is hacked and taken over, they will do NOTHING to help you get it back!!! (I’ve seen it happen.)

And don’t even get me started on “Twitter”! Here’s a sample of a twit at work…

In a piece called “Your Twitter Profile Is Changing On Wednesday” by a person named Cadie Thompson, she writes:

The Facebook-like update has far been optional for users, but starting Wednesday the social network all require all users to adopt the new design, the company said on its blog.

I bet that if you are a Twit-er, you won’t even see what’s wrong in the above sample. By golly – this person learned how to WRITE (poorly)!!! Must spend a lot of time Twitting out! (If I were an editor hiring a writer this person wouldn’t even get an interview.)

So.. what do we have here? We have a large percentage of the world’s business lemmings, young folks and a considerable number of the “old” folks, engaging in mutual mental masturbation and apparently thinking that ALL intelligent people are doing it too.

Not me.

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One Comment

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  1. Steve Picray / Dec 11 2012 16:37

    I think the main problem with social media is that it is supposed to be SOCIAL, not business. I recognize that there is a social element to doing business, but I don’t do business with companies because of stuff they do on social media. I eat at certain restaurants because I like their food, not because they tweeted something, or have a nice Facebook page. I buy groceries from the store I like that has low prices, not the store that has the most LInkedIn connections or something.

    I use Social Media for two things: expressing my opinion about things (Twitter), and staying in contact with some of my family and friends (Facebook).

    I would venture to state that blogging is also a form of social media, in that you are posting your comments for the world to see. I would say there really isn’t that much difference between Twitter and a blog, except for the length of the post.

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