Is Social Media Becoming Less Social?
Twitter hashtags like #eventprofs that once had active and vibrant chats twice a week. On April 6, 2014, #eventprofs chats were quietly retired with the following announcement by Brandt Krueger:
The #EventProfs weekly chats are currently living on a beach, sipping boat drinks, in retirement. More info here.
This came after a period of disengagement when even chats with celebrity guests like the head of Wolfgang Puck Catering were not well attended. I participated in that chat and it was embarrassing that hardly anyone turned up for a guest of that caliber. Now #eventprofs consist of individuals sharing their own products, services and content. Little interaction is taking place.
The demise of the #eventprofs chats is one of a number of signs of the decline in social media engagement. One of the basic features of social media is that it is inherently social. It is a medium of interaction and of giving as well as taking.
Another symptom is that there seems to be a sharp decline in the number of tweets that are retweeted. Individuals are more likely to favorite content so that they can access it later and less likely to retweet and share it with their followers. I have never conducted a study but this conclusion is based on my own observations.
Barrons has observed a decline in activity and engagement across all channels:
There is less of a tendency to "like" Facebook pages and share the content of others on Facebook. This even happens on platforms like Triberr in which some individuals rarely take the time to share the content of other tribe members.
In LinkedIn Groups, many members place more of an emphasis on posting content their own content than participating in discussions and helping other group members by answering the questions they have posted.
The final trend is a slower rate of following people back, even people who take the time to share one's content.
Fellow blogger Jenise Fryatt once identified the steps that are needed to use social media effectively:
- E Engage
- I Inform
- R Retweet.
This earned her the title of Queen of #EIR.
Lately there seems to be an emphasis only on Inform.
No one would ever think of going to a networking event and spending the whole evening approaching people, handing out business cards, giving elevator pitches and then moving on before anyone has a chance to respond. Yet , this is precisely how many are approaching social media.
Are we undermining the effectiveness of social media? It's something to think about.
Social Media Today seems to agree. The Wall Street Journal reported a Twopcharts finding that:
As of May 21, 2014 no one had shared Brandt Krueger's blog post announcing the end of chats or commented on the post. No one had retweeted or responded to the announcement on the official #eventprofs account that chats had been retired. There were only 2 comments on Brandt's blog post.
One thing is certain, disengagement is reducing the value of social media and that's unfortunate.
Photo Credit: Fraser Mummery
Anne Thornley-Brown is the President of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto Team Building firm. Anne manages the 185,000+ Event Planning and Event Management Group on LinkedIn. She is active on Twitter @executiveoasis and she blogs for Cvent Blog and Huffington Post.
Is your level of social media engagement increasing or decreasing? Why?
What is contributing to the decline in social media engagement?