Are You A Social Media Channel Changer?

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…

Are you changing the channels too quickly when it comes to social media?

Are you changing the channels too quickly when it comes to social media?

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.”

But wait.

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.

Do you take the time to understand how social media works and where the vaulable content might exist?

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.

  • Abhijit

    So, do we have a TIVO equivalent here as well ? :-) or is social media too current to “go back” when I feel like ? Is FB Timeline supposed to help you do that ? Revisit moments ?

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Great point, Abhijit!

      It feels like social media is so focused on “the now” and what is being discussed, but how often are we going back and analyzing the bigger picture of what happened in the past. I feel like we do that for social media crisis management case studies, but what about analyzing conversation trends, sentiment about past events, etc…I think a little bit of that was done post-Olympics.

      Only time will tell :)

      Cheers!

      –Sean

  • http://flip.to Ron Callari

    Today’s attention span has gone from hrs/minutes to nano-seconds. We’re a ADHD society that has applied the multi-task construct from our jobs to all aspects of our life. Social networks feed off of this with their LIKES, G+, photo-sharing, +Ks, etc that prompts many to not really engage but as you have pointed out Sean – to channel shift our lives away! “Gaming the system,” is the onerous by-product in the desperate attempts made to ramp up stats, influence K scores, win at EA, etc. We’re all subject to it and tempted by it -even when we think we’re not. So thanks for allowing us to reflect on this Sean – and perhaps give more than a pause, the next time we click a button!!!

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      All great points, Ron! Maybe the next social media channel or app will be the one that helps us slow down and create more meaningful conversations. Million dollar idea or does our society even care that we’re running a million miles a minute? ;)

      Cheers!

      –Sean

  • http://www.mightycasey.com Mighty Casey

    It’s about weaving a web, not the channels. Building a brand online requires presence across all relevant channels. DROP. THAT. REMOTE.

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      I’ll take 50 strong, meaningful relationships with people on 1 channel over 5,000 shallow relationships on 10 channels any day.

      Quality over quantity…remote dropped ;)

      Cheers, Casey!

      –Sean

  • http://www.melissagalt.com Melissa Galt

    You hit the nail on the head with this one . . . better to focus on one channel at a time, where your market is and get up and running before switching to another and gaining nothing out of any of it.

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      IMHO, success in social media is all about baby steps. Take it slow, see what works, build relationships. Once you feel like you have one channel going strong, choose another one and repeat the process.

      Thanks for the feedback, Melissa!

      Cheers!

      –Sean

  • http://www.freenclearstuff.com Alicia Taylor

    It’s important to be on social media, but you do have to have the time to dedicate to maintaining it. It’s frustrating for people to start following you, just to have you ditch it. I try to spread my time evenly across the social media platforms that I have committed to.

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Completely agree, Alicia! The challenge is to find the channel that is “right” for you and/or your organization. The best way to do that is to take the time to listen before jumping in, right? No point in diving in and building relationships if you’re just going to ditch the channels and relationships later.

      Thanks for the great input, Alicia!

      Cheers!
      –Sean

  • http://mikadouglas.tumblr.com Mika Douglas

    The social frenzy is definitely upon us. I think that this will be self-correcting. One must separate “socializing” with connections that build influence. Building influence takes thought, contemplation and time. I am not slamming “socializing”. This is a new form of connection between individuals that cross, ethnic, socio-economic boundaries and cultures. If one participates in this way, growth and compassion should evolve. That’s a good thing. In terms of building influence, the applications will settle down and the preferred tools will prevail. Once the measurement tools like Klout and Kred can measure context of conversations, users will refine the way they communicate to be more effective.

  • http://www.McHome-BIZ.com Keith Hones

    Could it be the hunter inside us, constantly searching. All ways thinking it’s greener on the other side of the hill.
    Our interest level for t.v. is at an all time low. As your cartoon shows, we move on to the next new shiny thing.
    It’s not just t.v. and social media, there also diet, fashion even Internet Marketing.
    So us human beings move on at a much more dramatic pace.
    Long way from cave drawings and is change the only constant.

  • Jim Wirshing

    I’ve got to agree that the key is knowing your audience, or in this case, knowing your social media platform.

  • http://netsperience.org decibel.places

    Everybody knows the ONLY network that counts is Klouchebag – along with Klout and Kred they are the KKK of social media

  • http://www.facebook.com/EmmanuelGonot.SEO.SocialMedia Emmanuel Gonot

    Completely agree with this but as a social media professional, I feel that you’re preaching to the choir. Anyone working in the social media or PR space for the long term knows that quality is always better than quality any day and that you have to understand the audience and build a community in a channel in order to succeed in it. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Dan

    I know right? I have 30 tabs open as well, lol. Always task switching.

  • NewsMeBack

    Though I click through channels, I’m staying on social media for a long time.

  • Reza

    lovely Content love to share all !

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  • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheToyChannel/videos Mike Mozart JeepersMedia

    Twitter is my overall favorite and I’m MUCH stronger on Google+

  • http://benheys.com Ben Heys

    Good post…it can get overwhelming though with the vast array of social platforms out there now and how there always seems to be some new big thing you NEED to get on before you’ve even mastered the last two…

  • http://letsbuildwebsites.com/ mitz

    Yes you are right about channel surfing…I am not into that…I am involved in different communities and I stick to them…

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