Is There Really Too Much Social Media?

So after a near miss on a thunderous debate/argument this morning over a presentation I gave a few weeks ago at EmMeCon in Redwood City, I took a few minutes to think about the ramifications of the ‘discussion’ and my presentation.  It started harmlessly enough, the question was posed to me — was the off the cuff presentation I put together for the conference worth refining into a more polished version to use for other conferences/tradeshows/other beneficial stuff?

There’s no one who won’t agree that there is a proliferation of social media outlets that are growing in number, scope and scale like a plague of locusts descended on the farm crop in the height of growing season.   And it’s questionable as to just what the benefit of said expansion actually means in any measurable way, or whether it even makes a difference to anyone.  Probably not just anyone who makes a living via social media, but whether it makes a difference any one at all.

If you click the AddThis link at the bottom of this post, and click the More link, it will give you nearly 350 options to share the content – a few are email, I think one is YouTube (a social time waster in and of itself like no other), and the rest are a plethora of social media/sharing sites in a variety of languages and locations.

Who on earth has the time to subscribe, post and monitor that many social media sites?  Not to mention that the ‘social shutout’ – the ongoing war of the worlds to establish social domination and supremacy – between the various media sites means that no one is playing nicely with anyone else and it’s getting harder and harder to find ways to aggregate your thoughts into replicated transmission across the variety of sites…  meaning that the inevitable has already begun (even though social media is only in its’ infancy) and the absorption of the smaller fish by the whales and sharks, or perhaps the nibbling into nothingness by the remoras, should see a rapid acceleration in the demise of the peripheral sites without enough time to establish a sizable user base and become candidates for absorption by the big guys.

How and where do you draw the line?  If you miss an upcoming site that could give you early buzz and prominence by wasting your time on an already dead fish, that’s bad.  If you choose to be an early adopter of everything, that’s massively time consuming.  If you choose to do nothing, well, at least your company isn’t making a fatal set of missteps in mismanaging your social media presence (and to some degree your online reputation) that will take forever to correct.

It’s been postulated that by 2020, every enterprise app will have its own social media component (check sources, infographic from presentation) and who really can grasp how that will work in a world that’s populated by a near incestuous spiderweb of vendors, clients, agencies, firms, and the like?

Obviously there is one optimum answer, but it almost defies logic in its simplicity.  Each person, each company, each entity, should become a social media of its own, and there should be a way to create an ‘interweb’ of sorts where the musings, postings, and so on are inherently part of a social web that we haven’t yet conceived.  Or have we?  That’s sort of what a search engine was designed to do.  Or sort of like a giant Facebook without Facebook being the intermediary.   Everyone gets an ID and plugs into the ‘mainframe’ and each entity is equally as important as the next.

Oh, wait, isn’t that what web pages and search engines are supposed to equal?  Funny how the more things change, the more they appear to stay the same.  Everyone wants their 15 minutes and will figure out how to game the system to get it in the end.