One bow in the social media expert’s armoury is this notion that you have a potential audience of 350 million users. I like numbers like this but I do ignore them. First of all does your product, strartup or offering really have the ability to touch a truely global audience in one go?They are few and far between in my opinion.If you take a startup that’s concentrating on the UK market then you’re user segment is more like 19 million (nearly 6% of the total amount). Then when you start slicing down the age segments you are in the less than 1% numbers.Hopefully in 2010 we’ll start seeing social media experts starting to get real about the numbers of people that you can realistically reach.For me in 2010 I’m not looking at the “what next”, I’m sure a gathering of technology folk are too. This will be the year of getting real about what social media is, what is capable of and what you and I can really do with it.
Facebook’s general twisting on the way we live our lives begins to turn sour with me. Fan pages…. there’s tons of them, which is fine, but what is starting to annoy me is the “inviting” me to become a fan. With MySpace the issue was simple, either I followed you or I didn’t. Dictionary.com’s definition (among many) of the word “fan” is:an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.: a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.Most of the things I get invites to be fans of are things that I’d never get involved in. What it does do is just increase the ego and it’s becoming tiresome. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind friends sending me these invitations, it’s the nature of the invitation that bothers me.Social networking is not a numbers game, it’s about relationships. If I don’t know the person, company or organisation then what makes you think that I’m ready to be a fan?So, looking forward. Perhaps it’s time that Facebook lost its title of “social network” because it’s losing the social factor. It has become a big directory of linkage, a connected town with it’s own rules. Looking for real social networks, I’m looking at the true social nature of things like Dopplr and Locle. Real people, real locations and real life.
I went on a Twitter purge today. It was all down to something I noticed last night, I’d reached a tipping point where it was becoming difficult to maintain a meaningful amount of data coming in.I’m not on Twitter to data mine, I changed my mind about that a few weeks ago. But out of the 146 people I was following, how many was I having a contract of information with? About four all in all. To be fair I’ve made some new contacts in Northern Ireland, creatives that I didn’t know existed etc. The rest was just turning into link bait, shameless advertising and pointless content. It’s creating content for contents sake. What got me thinking? Well I had about fifteen alerts from Twitter saying that folk had added me, why had then added me? No idea, more than likely to bump the numbers up and not based on anything I was actually saying. So why am I adding folk I don’t really know, what value are they adding to my knowledge? Very little, so I went on a purge. It’s not just limited to Twitter, I found the same with Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Bebo. How many of these contacts are actually meaningful? How many will add value for me in the long turn? Since the Facebook redesign I hardly log in, only to keep in touch with a handfull of folk that I’d normally talk to (ie, I have already had a face to face conversation with them BEFORE adding them on Facebook). Back to a simple life I think. Try and reduce the paper in my office, get all the CD’s on to some form of media player. Try and live a bit simpler.