Karen Post at TalentZoo.com recently wrote an article (Facebook, I’m Just Not That Into You) about how she’s “breaking up” with Facebook because she sees it as a waste of her time because, as she puts it: “you do not bring me any traffic for time involved.”
I think therein lies the problem; social media isn’t a new way of diverting passive sets of eyeballs to one’s product. It’s the new landscape.
Platforms like Facebook are where the human being attached to the eyeballs exists (and he/she wants to stay there). Everything (including conversations about products) is being pushed into the cloud. It’s the end point. That’s why application development is taking off and people are logging so many hours on role playing games like Farmville.
Fed by the economic downturn, the great American pastime of shopping for useless junk we don’t need is on the decline, and consumers (ie “people”) are moving on to other ways of occupying their time – which increasingly involve engaging with friends in collaborative activities like video games and expressing themselves creatively through all of the easy-to-use tools now available.
While social networking has come rather naturally to public relations pros, marketers and advertisers have had a comparatively harder time reconciling its new demands with their goals.
When someone says that Facebook is a big waste of time, what they’re really saying is “interacting with colleagues, family and clients is a big waste of time.”
I like Linkedin and Livejournal too, but they can’t compare to Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook vs. Linkedin vs. Livejournal
Twitter vs. Linkedin vs. Livejournal
The reason Facebook and Twitter are so disruptive to the way we work is because the way we work is nearing the end of its shelf life (in the same way that the traditional media’s way of delivering news and entertainment is coming to an end).
Rather than seeing time spent on Facebook as being wasted, look at it as an investment in learning how to interact with others in a new way (it is radically changing the underlying nature of work and business – even some of the basic tenets of economics).
The new model for interaction with people is one-on-one. The shortcuts we’ve become accustomed to for interacting with customers or stakeholders are going to lose their effectiveness in time. Best to be prepared for when that happens.