Tag: filtering

Going with the flow..without you

Ever wondered how you’d react if a social media practitioner you follow, who also follows you back, suddenly decides to unfollow you; actually, not just you but all their follows as well?

I prefer the term ‘practitioner’ because those of us who’ve become adept with social media actually do practice it, regardless of whether or not we consider ourselves or are perceived by others as gurus, experts, explorers or droolers.

Being unfollowed actually has no significant impact to the more expansive, pervasive value social media brings to my daily experience. But there are some who dump follows and seem compelled to explain why. However, for reasons which ironically have defined why social media totally rocks for me, here are some thoughts on why I think such explanation is simply for naught:

    My Fair Lady
    photo sourced from moviestore.com
  • It’s not about you. Social media is first and foremost about nurturing social interactions that bring value to each other’s experience. This collaborative, almost self-effacing quality is a natural tendency when cultivating good relations and earning trust among complete strangers. So unplugging suddenly only sets you back after all the work you’ve done to date.
  • Dunbar’s number makes high follow ratios look ludicrous. While theoretical, it makes complete sense to me that there exists a limited cognitive threshold, or number of people with whom you can realistically maintain meaningful social interactions on a regular basis. So if you claim to be unable to properly maintain interactions with a multitude, unfollowing all would certainly be one drastic course of action. It’s dramatic—unless of course it was meant to be dramatic.
  • Spam is here and here to stay. Get over it. Whether you like it or not, filtering is a daily chore. If you argue that there’s so much noise on your stream that you’re spending more time sifting through trash rather than tweeting or blogging then perhaps you should have thought twice about subscribing to that auto-follow app that brought in all that crap to begin with. Unplugged or not, spam will continue to invade you elsewhere.
  • Social influence is still a relative science. With all due respect to my trusted colleague Joseph (@RepuTrack), I know he would to an extent agree with me when I say that we are still in the midst of proving that social influence, ranking, etc. can indeed be accurately, justifiably and sustainably measured. If you choose to despair and unfollow all because you suddenly feel that your influence has been negatively affected by slumping ranking based on a relative science, then what are you really despairing about?
  • Twitter still will be here without you.England still will be here without you..♫ (My Fair Lady) There are so many social media practitioners crowding the online space that even the smarmiest who have the brightest (or seemingly bright?) torch held high with laurels of kudos crowning their social media clout can easily *pouff* vanish at any given moment, and yet the stream will continue to gush and roar without care.

Oh but perhaps if you unfollowed everyone all at once..perhaps then you could secure a nano’s moment for someone to actually notice and care enough to blog about it. Eh?

It’s all good, I suppose. We are after all still in that long, drawn-out age of attention, which started back in the 60’s and managed to drag its lumbering, whiney feet into 2009.

For whatever reason, no explanations needed, and no I won’t take it personally, it’s really quite okay to let go…and just go with the flow.

Screening hires: social media’s pound of flesh?

Recently I’ve seen a number of articles suggesting more and more employers are using social networking sites to screen candidates.

It seems reasonably proactive and an efficient leverage for companies to filter through the rough and determine if applicant X would be an apt fit in a given work environment.

New York Times blog post notes the following among the top things considered as red flags: provocative photos, drinking/drug use, bad-mouthing employers, and poor communication skills.

autom8 black n white image

It takes a healthy dose of common sense and an even heftier dose of professionalism for anyone to ensure that their online presence and profile remain civil and non-incriminating. Also, privacy settings for these sites do exist for a reason.

But I do question this screening approach. And before I do, let me first reflect on the state of social transparency as most of us see it.

Wisdom of the Crowds: a blurred vision?
Each time I am continually drawn to @mehwolfy‘s post The Social Media Zebra Question, which in my view, paints one of the most unbiased pictures of social transparency and offers a compelling case for why unadulterated expression is what lends quality to the rawness of uncontrolled messaging—one of the principal tenets of social media.

The brand-customer relationship has been forever transformed as a result of this transparency. In fact many traditional best practices in communications are beginning to evolve as we pay closer attention to the collective voice from the wisdom of crowds. The new paradigm has been a boon to many businesses.

Will the mode of transparency continue to permeate the cultural mindset to the point where its sheer boldness begins to outweigh and outsmart the long-term benefits it can offer? How clearly can we sustain our vision in this brave new world?

Pound of Flesh: a measure that’s never exact
I briefly allude to a classic line from the Bard’s piece The Merchant of Venice simply because Portia’s speech on the quality of mercy not being strained, to me, speaks volumes to the poignant and well justified notion of relativity. An exact pound of flesh can never be carved out of Antonio, and, in essence, no issue is ever that black and white.

Fast forward to this article, Self-destruction through social media, in which one employee updated her Facebook status with “These kids are driving me crazy” and was dismissed for the remark.

Was the remark so pejorative that it hopelessly marred the company’s reputation or rendered said kids into irreparable psychological damage? I even came across another article which noted that employers look for excessive use of emoticons as a red flag. Seriously??

Who in these organizations is defining what is considered truly inappropriate on social networking sites? In the same way social transparency’s intensity is transforming traditional communications by storm, is there also a risk to this filtering trend getting way out of hand?

Bottom line: do organizations really get social media, enough that they are able to make sound judgment calls on who and what they deem appropriate for public consumption?

What do YOU think?

Filtering – a thorny path to awareness

Despite the nature (and brute power) of the social media beast to propagate at break-neck speed, the onus remains on us to filter through the barrage of information.

To benefit from the ubiquitous advantage of real-time access to information, we must be able to make sense of it all; and do so ideally, at the same speed in which it comes to us, or as efficiently as we can, at best.

autom8 iconI won’t delve into the how, since many of us who practice, experiment, preach, advocate, etc. social media, have our own way of making the experience unique and sustainable, depending on our goals.

Instead, I’d like to flesh out four large thorns, which, in my view, will remain and continue to dominate the landscape, influencing how social media is perceived externally by skeptics and internally by the converted.

I call these ‘thorns’ not because I think they are there to wilfully harm our experience, but more because they are blatant annoyances that distract us from the bigger picture. Their distractive quality is so deeply embedded in social media culture that little can be done to change it. Hence, I have no choice but to filter them out.

Repetition
When I see someone blast a series of tweets on the same subject, it not only clogs up the information stream, but the value of the subject itself diminishes with repetition.

For instance, how many times can you create a different angle on branding and repackage it a thousand ways to be to able brand everything but the kitchen sink?

If we refrained from repeating ourselves, do we increase or decrease the opportunities to innovate?

Materialism
It would be hypocritical to deny that money is not part of the social media equation.

autom8 iconHowever, one would hope that the efforts towards building global awareness are more highly valued over obvious, materialistic goals, which to me are ultimately petty and base.

Can social media show us the profound value of higher pursuits such as learning, science and technology over that of material gains?

Self-centeredness
The human ego is a remarkable force. Carl Jung refers to the ego as “a complex of ideas which constitutes the centre of [the] field of consciousness and appears to possess a high degree of continuity and identity.”

This consciousness is what drives us to continually heighten our level of awareness. And in most cases, we are unable to accomplish anything without its driving force. Are we using this force to contribute to the collective good or to feed our own self-centered needs? Can we get away with both?

Hysteria
Swine flu. The term alone conjures up hysteria on a disproportionately enormous scale. Yet, it is normal for us to fear the unknown and react with panic when we are presented with the possibility of a threat. And we react accordingly with caution and vigilance.

However, does the fact that we now have instant access to online resources that report on this crisis position us to be better prepared to manage a potentially lethal outbreak? Or do we aggravate the situation by spinning it out of control?

autom8 iconAre we naturally prone to wallow in fear and develop paranoid tendencies that eventually prove counter-productive? Are we driven by curiosity or fear?

Back to the Gold Rush

I’ve always likened the evolution of social media to a journey of awareness. While the path may be thorny, the promise of an enlightened destination is worth the bombardment of distractions along the way. Maybe I’ll see you there.

You may just find me by the banks of the stream with my rusty pan sifting through endless sediments of information just to capture the nuggets that matter.