Teaching, Promoting, Cheering UX and SEO Since 2002

Why Social Media Bugs Me, ME, ME!

It finally dawned on me, after yet another useless waste of my time skimming headlines in a social media site, why I don’t like social media and why, if I bother to join, I quickly lose interest.

It’s because the content that’s posted isn’t for me.

The motivation for posting is to get yourself, your web site, your business, your articles, your blog, your products, your services, your brand, your weird user name and your big important thing noticed, found, clicked, linked to and commented on.

The point, purpose and driving force for most of the content is that it’s for you, the person posting, not me.

Sure, I’ve posted an article once in awhile somewhere. When I do, I’ve thought about it for more than 3 seconds. I debate to the death inside myself whether or not the article has any value to readers. I feel awkward posting my own stuff. It’s like begging for birthday presents from strangers.

And yes, I’ve had duds.

I don’t ever think I’m today’s gift to the masses and therefore, wouldn’t dare subject you, to me, on a daily basis. I wouldn’t dream of posting five or more articles of mine in a row, for example. I don’t have five things in a row important or clever or useful enough to post, for gawd’s sake.

I’m not desperate and okay, if you are, it shows. Clearly.

I have an ongoing relationship with several blogs and web sites who run my blog posts or articles with my permission. Some of them just come and grab what they want. They have an open invite and to this day, when I see they ran something, I get all excited. It’s such an honor to know THEY CHOSE it.

I didn’t shove it down their throats.

Some sites want to hear from me if I have something for them to consider, so I drop an email with a link to something I think may be a fit. It’s up to the editors to make the final call. Some of them agree with my suggestion and some of them don’t. They just won’t run it. I don’t always get feedback on why something is rejected and after awhile, if I keep missing the mark, I just don’t send them anything else.

I’m not a mind reader. Editors understand their readers better than I do. Social sites will take anything they can get.

Which is why social media is such a circus. There are no editors to help sort out the substance from absolute mind numbing junk. I don’t have time to skim long pages of headlines filled with content that isn’t targeted to me. Topic categories aren’t enough of a filter. They don’t separate advanced content from the basic.

Nobody has developed a socially driven site that says, “Hi Kim! Here are today’s links to what you want, because we know you, know what you need, know what you love and we especially know what interests YOU.” And then it slips me a nice glass of wine, removes all the distractions so I can actually read online and …

Come on. Is this too much to ask for? I need genuine and unique content. I appreciate well written articles, even if I disagree with what it says. I really admire good writing. I hate hearing the same tips 3456 times. I don’t want to be a groupie in your fan club where you obviously admire somebody and are trying to brown nose your way into their kingdom.

The other day my daughter offered to make a web site for me. In her mind, at her age, the place to be is in your own social site that connects with other persons’ social sites and the sole purpose is to show pictures of your cat and talk about your boyfriend.

Nobody cares about my cats and if I had a boyfriend, you wouldn’t want to hear the gory details of how I drove him crazy and he left me in flurry of screaming curse words and the sound of screeching tires on the driveway.

Makes for a great story but what do you get out of it?

What, exactly, do YOU get out of social media sites as a mere reader other than possibly being entertained or informed? How many minutes does it take to find that thing that informed you and was it really worth the time it took to hunt for it?

What do you get as a content submitter? The benefits to marketers are obvious. But understand this. I am also a site visitor and I hate being used by you.

If you want me to visit more often and take your content seriously, quit selling.


  1. August 3, 2007    

    Hi Kim,
    Whoo, that was some post! I really understood your feelings in this one (or think I did).

    To be honest, I still feel like I’m groping blindly around the SM scene. Sphinn is helping me to understand what this whole deal is about to greater extent, and I am enjoying it, but I do see what you are saying.

    The whole point of it seems to be increased exposure for the submitter.

    In the business world, this makes sense to me. Professional recognition that translates into being better able to support yourself and your family is a good reason to put yourself out there. So, to me, a site like Sphinn makes sense, and I’m stumbling along trying to see if I can write ANYTHING that gets more that 6 votes, just to see what that feels like.

    But then you have the other SM sites…Digg and Reddit etc. What is the point of this? I saw an article on Reddit about a little girl drowning. Someone actually took the time to submit this, hoping the ‘sensational’ aspect of the news would win popularity for the submitter??? That seems so odd, especially when tragedy and scandal are the fodder for this process. So there’s that whole aspect of it.

    Then there are the MySpace/Facebook type SM features where the fodder is…you! It’s a weird kind of exhibitionism, really and I completely do not get the point of that.

    I keep coming back to the conclusion that people are lonely. And that the Internet is proving to be an acceptable surrogate for actual human relationships. People with hobbies, fears, loathings, longings, are seeking out what appear to be like minded people. Perhaps people are so unhappy in different areas of their lives that SM seems like a real solution to the things they feel they lack?

    Well, my response is almost as long as your post. But, you’ve made me think again about all of this with your interesting article. It’s an important subject, I think, for anyone who is interested in the story of mankind.

  2. August 3, 2007    

    wow, while myspace is a guilty pleasure of mine you have totally put into perspective why i can only stand to be on there just to check my email and see how many strippers want to be my “friend”

    Now what scaresme more than anything about these socialmedia sites is that they are a major topic of discussion at the blackhat hacker conference in vegas this weeek.

    Be warrrened, people, they are trying to steal your identity through your friends list!

    Then there’s my myspace complaint from the start: when did bad design become cool?

  3. August 3, 2007    

    Typeos are from me being on an iPhone not a real computer. I’ll post a link to the hacker article later too.

  4. August 3, 2007    
  5. August 5, 2007    

    Well, I’d guess social sites would work for you, if you wanted news, not necessarily quality articles. If you want quality articles, you subscribe to feeds or just go to the blog directly, knowing that there’s something worthy to munch on.

    Then again, if you are despearate for new quality content, stumbling in your favorite category should work.

    Then again, you are right. Social sites are mostly used by people, who want to get noticed and talked to for many reasons.

    Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, I suspect.

  6. August 6, 2007    

    Maybe I just would feel more comfortable being part of a network of hermits in caves…

    There’s nothing wrong with “social”. I’m not dead. I like meeting people online.

    I just get frustrated with all the nonsense that comes with social media territory. If you have nothing better to do, lists of headlines to scroll is no big deal. Finding several headlines in a row, of completely off-topic posts in a social media site, submitted by the same person or company solely for advertising is not social, to me.

  7. August 7, 2007    

    I’ll join the hermit-in-cave network if you create it. What could we call it?



  8. August 11, 2007    


    User generated content is always going to be like that. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. These days everyone has a blog although very few have something of substance to say. They are compelled to say it because that is what’s “hot” right now, and that’s what marketing sites promise will bring them the riches.

    And so they write and they post and they submit. The end result? This enormous pile of garbage we praise as the new era of journalism.

    Maybe this thinking goes against our cherished democratic principles, but for me, citizen journalism is an oxymoron.

  1. This Week In SEO - 8/10/07 - TheVanBlog on August 10, 2007 at 6:23 pm

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