Social Media Madness… Love It. Hate It, Embrace It, Reject It… It’s Mad, Mad World: Survive and Thrive with It…

Social media landscape is crazy… there are; apps, games, analytics, blogs, commerce, ad networks, mobile, photo, video… who knows what else is out there lurking… but despite the insanity, you can’t ignore it…

Has it become a mania, madness, addiction, obsession, dependency… epidemic for social media sites? Does Facebook, Twitter… have us hooked?  That’s what a study conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business found. Researchers gathered 205 participants and monitored their ability to resist daily temptations, including; the urge to check social media sites. For one week, subjects that ranged in age from 18 to 85 were asked to let researchers know how strongly they wanted to give into various temptations.

The results suggest that the urge to check social media pages is one of the strongest temptations out there. The temptation to log on to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites is more difficult to resist than temptations to smoke, drink and even sleep. According to a recent study released by non-profit ‘Anxiety UK’ over half of social media users polled said; Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites had changed their lives– and 51% of those said it’s not been for the better. Forty-five percent of responders said they feel worried or uncomfortable when email and Facebook are inaccessible, while 60% of respondents stated they felt need to switch off  their phones and computers to secure a full-fledged break from technology.

In other words, it’s not being on social networks that makes people anxious. It’s being away from them. The findings suggest that some people need to re-establish control over the technology they use, rather than being controlled by it, says Nicky Lidbetter. Data revealed that two-thirds of respondents had more difficulty sleeping after using social media, and 25% admitted to difficulties in their relationships because of confrontational online behavior…

The survey was conducted by the Salford Business School, University of Salford, where 228 participants were polled… While the study consists of a small sample size, Salford’s data backs up other information on social media addiction. In a recent study ‘Mobile Mindset’, found that 73% of people would panic if they lost their smartphone, while another 54% admit to checking their phone while lying in bed…

But are social media users anxious because of social media, or do more anxious people gravitate toward digital interactions? If you are predisposed to anxiety it seems that the pressures from technology act as tipping point, making people feel more insecure, overwhelmed,  says Lidbetter.

A similar study at University of Bergen measured Facebook user addiction; found people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face…

In the article Caution: I’ve Been Diagnosed With Social Media Madness by Carolyn Goodman writes: There are so many social media options now available, my head hurts. My palms get sweaty at the mere whisper of a new site. If I get one more invitation to join some random, seemingly important group, I think I’ll weep. As a marketer, I feel a lot of pressure to keep up with it all, primarily, so I can talk to customers about how they leverage these forums as strategic marketing opportunities.

But in reality, it’s not possible to do that… While there are certainly more social media options in the B-to-C world, we B-to-B marketers are under intense scrutiny to understand and learn how to have, at the very least, a point of view on what these options are and how to use them appropriately for business. Its Herculean task and it cannot be accomplished under normal circumstances.

So I’m officially raising my hand and shouting to the world: Stop This Madness. I’m going to spit out the social media Kool-Aid, stand tall, and promise, on my honor, to be only as social as I need to be, while spending my time on more important marketing initiatives. Won’t you join with me to find a cure to social media madness?

Fling open your windows and shout it with me: I’m mad as hell and not going to take it any more… Then go back to learning and creating marketing solutions that drive your business forward. To that end, I’m going to embrace these four directives:

  • I vow to maintain an updated LinkedIn profile– and respond to inquiries to connect when they make sense.
  • I promise I won’t tweet every day just to be able to claim that I don’t tweet regularly.
  • I won’t use my Facebook stamp to let my friends know every time I’m in a new location… unless it’s someplace impressive like one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
  • I’ll stop posting videos of my kitten playing with string on YouTube. Despite the fact that I get millions of hits worldwide. It’s not fair to my kitten, and surely viewers have better things to do.

In the article Social Media Madness by Blogenstein writes: I am not one for collecting friends. I’d rather have 50 friends on Facebook that I know well and care about than 500 or 5000 people who I know/have known/met randomly in a bar one night. It’s almost like the personal has gone out of our online social interactions and we’re just talking with a bunch of random faceless people.

Similarly, with something like Twitter I keep my follow list down, and will occasionally remove one or two to keep things manageable. This is a combination of interest levels– (Do I want to follow you? Does having you in my feed improve things? Do I often see you in twitter conversations, or have twitter conversations with you?)– and feed overload where I need to read all the tweets.

The fact is having too many people in my feed means I have too many tweets to read. For a while I tried catching up on the overnight tweets, but since most of the people I follow are American they have a 5 hour head-start on me in the morning which makes it take ages. I don’t bother any more. I don’t see not following someone, or unfollowing someone as a sign of; I don’t like them. It’s more that I can’t fit them into the budget that is my social media.

Likewise whether they are a friend on Facebook or not, really doesn’t have any impact on actual friendship & real life social interactions. If social media status matters that much to you, maybe you’re not that much of a friend in the first place…

In the article Social Media Madness– Does Everyone Need It? by Melisa Labancz-Bleasdale writes: In our constant quest for faster, better, newer… we have invented, embraced, and quickly discarded social media mechanisms at a blistering rate. Every business looking to capitalize on social media madness should examine what they have to offer, and what they stand to gain before funneling their marketing dollars into social media programs. They should than carefully consider which channel is best for what they are selling and whom they are trying to reach.

Companies should also consider the amount of time and energy they have to maintain their social media outreach. A large part of the business-to-public exchange is in; the volume, frequency and relevancy of the messages. Twitter is likely a bad place to set up shop if you aren’t prepared to engage daily. As it is for all communications channels, it’s important to choose the correct vehicle for distributing your message. Vehicles like; blogs, podcasts, Twitter… have helped many B2B’s increase awareness and market share. 

Communications experts believe that part of the problem organizations have in successfully utilizing social media is that they believe it’s a separate entity, instead of seeing it for the tool that it is– another means of expanding the existing communications and marketing efforts. Few argue that business should avoid social media altogether, but it’s entirely possible to build successful PR campaigns without it.

According to McGrath; social media is just one possible channel; albeit one with great potential… and, whether you’re a B2B organization or not, the degree to which you use it should depend on your audience and what you’re trying to achieve. 

According to Mustafa Dill; I’m a firm believer in ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you always should.’ When prospective clients want a Facebook or Twitter account, I always ask them, ‘why?’ If they can’t articulate it, and they usually can’t beyond– ‘well everyone else is doing it’– then we’ll drill down to identify a specific goal. Social media for me is about user behavior as they seek solutions; if you can offer a content-based solution, then great. If not, wait until you can and, in the meantime, keep analyzing your customers’ behavior until a solution presents itself.

According to Lori Donovan; I think it’s all part of knowing the audience. If you audience isn’t on Facebook, you don’t need to be there

In the article Social Networking Sites Are a ‘Modern Form of Madness’ by telegraph writes: They may be a venue to socialize and keep in touch with people, but social media websites; Facebook, Twitter… are making people less human by isolating them from reality… says Prof. Sherry Turkle, MIT, way in which people frantically communicate online via social networking sites can be seen as a modern form of madness.

In her book, ‘Alone Together’, Prof. Turkle writes; people are become more isolated from reality due to social networking sites because technology is dominating our lives and making us less human, Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, technology is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world... We’ve invented inspiring and enhancing technologies, yet we have allowed them to diminish us...

Her warnings, and those from other cyber-skeptics, follow the death of Simone Back; a woman in Brighton who posted a suicide note on Facebook that was seen by more than 1,000 of her ‘friends’. Yet none of them called for help, instead they trading insults with each other on her Facebook wall…

In the article Social Media Madness by Suz Trusty writes: Social media is here to stay; it’s in some very profound ways, revolutionizing how we communicate and also how we and companies are perceived. If you want to bet on a sure thing, bet on use and acceptance of social media as means; 1) connect and communicate with customers and prospects; 2) share valuable information (how-to’s?) and experiences; 3) build brand awareness; and 4) market products and services.

Become familiar with it so you can pick and choose what works best for you and your operation, and what you can reasonably do with it, given the many other tasks you and your employees must perform. Start by determining, if just a website and email are enough to keep you connected. Does communication through social media; Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, YouTube… help your company? Do research and explore the options… But, don’t let social media drive you mad…