I was at the Heavy Chef Session at Deloitte last night and I was privileged enough to listen to Rich Mulholland speak on the misnomer that is ‘Social Media’. What follows here is my interpretation of his talk, as well as a hypothesis of my own, and some problems that we may encounter in the future with this “social” world that we live in.
What went down!
Rich was talking about the lack of context int he social media world; about how there is a lot of content being generated about any topic that you can think of, but if you take a break from being online and interacting in social media networks like Rich did for a week you will quickly realise at least 2 things : (I am paraphrasing a bit here)
- You will not miss the conversation
- The conversation will not miss you
Now this epiphany is rather ground breaking; especially if you are lucky (read popular) enough to have a couple of hundred odd followers; these people that hang on your every word for a drip of wisdom to fall from your lips (erm… fingers)!
But there is the kicker! These followers don’t know you; they “know you”, but they don’t really know you. They follow you because you ,at some stage, had something of value to say and they were, at that moment, impressed enough to take action on what you said and clicked on the all powerful Follow Button!
Where am I going with this?
What this boils down to is context! There was context between what you were saying and what they were looking for. A correlation between a supply and a demand at that moment in time. Sadly though this was, in most cases, a fleeting meeting of minds, likes and dislikes. There is no relevant or credible reason as to why this person who follows you would now be interested in your choice of deserts, holiday destinations or advice on which car to buy. All that they will now be getting from you, when following you, is a lot of content that is not in the slightest bit relevant to you.
So does this mean that we should only follow people that we know really well and would have more than one small thing in common with?
Our social media networks need to converge to give the world a holistic image of ourselves and not an image fragmented by space and time with different algorithms scratching and pasting together bits of info about us.
Perhaps the answer is not within social networking; but rather in context networking. A network that (borrowing from Richard again) underpins the wide range of networks we are currently a part of and gives us true value by showing us information from sources who know us for more than a fleeting second because we both happened to think an orange sofa was hideous!
Context is key and context is, for my money, the future of media – and not just the social kind!