I admit it…I’m a channel flipper. Combine 300 channels in my cable package, with an extremely short attention span and you have all the ingredients necessary for an evening of click…click…click…
And my channel changing doesn’t even have a reasonable pattern. 30 seconds of The Daily Show followed by 30 seconds of Storage Wars followed by 30 seconds of CNN, you get the picture. It’s no wonder my wife has given up on television and reads books while I complain about the fact that “there’s nothing on television.”
Maybe the problem isn’t the quality of the programming. Maybe the problem is that I’m not dedicating the time necessary to understand what is on and engage. Maybe if I took the time to learn about the mission behind Whale Wars and better understood the passion of the crew of the Bridgette Bardot, I might learn why they are willing to freeze their hineys off in the nether-regions of the world for the entertainment pleasure of the world. Who knows…maybe I might even want to contribute to their cause.
While I still contend that the invasion of reality TV (that doesn’t actually represent real life) is the problem, a contributing factor may actually lie with my unwillingness to invest time and understand.
The same problem exists in the realm of social media, though. Blend crappy programming with an unwillingness to understand the channels and you have all the makings for channel surfing in social media.
The challenge for those who are just getting started in social media is to take the time to understand how the channel works, who are the members of the community (humming the Sesame Street “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” song), and what types of content they are seeking and contributing. Once you understand those elements, you can then determine the best way to engage and what valuable contribution you might offer to the community.
Unless you’re willing to take the time to become a member of the community and contribute…you’re just channel surfing.
In that case, you might as well just go read a good book.