Last week I wrote about the Three Types of Social Content. I want to extend that conversation by looking at how the use of Social Content is killing Social Networks. Consider your own Social Network streams, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus – I’d place a bet that most of what you see is content that has been curated for the purpose of capturing your attention. Very little of it is original content. From Cat videos to reposts from news outlets users want to be able to share others content and be known for sharing helpful, funny, and interesting content.
Social Content – Not Friends but Publishers
When we decide to Follow, Circle or Friend someone – our major points of contact (unless we know them in real life) with them are not who they are but what they share. Does what they share fit into our groups of interests? This removes the effort of seeing them as a person but instead we are seeing them as a source of Social Content. Will they provide us with interesting, informative and importantly shareable content?
If you think about the way Social Networks were originally structured, they were meant as virtual places for meeting people. The people you met revealed something about themselves and you in turn revealed something about yourself, in other words a normal social interaction. Now we are moving to a situation where we careless about the actual person and more about the content they share. We like people who share original content, but actually we are hopeful that they will simply share something that is going to be popular and will in turn increase our own Social Currency.
Social Content – Content For Content’s Sake
We are used to hearing that content is king. We all want to be a part of that royalty, the Social Web thrives on popularity and users are seeking ways to promote themselves, their business, their brand through the use of content. Content Marketing is the panacea to all your woes. Your content will help you build a business, develop a network, create a platform. All of these things are actually true. The problem with this is that while these mantra’s were developed originally for business, they have permeated the personal world.
Every user is now a brand, but instead of that philosophy humanizing brands, it is having the opposite effect, it is dehumanizing people. Users of Social Networks are less interested in being Social and more interested in being publishers. There are endless posts on tactics to get “more retweets, more links, more views”, which are great if you are in the content marketing business, however, these posts are being read and utilized by people, real people, ordinary individuals who are actually quite interesting in their own right.
Social Content – Stop Publishing, Start Humanizing
I know that you won’t stop sharing cat videos – I’m not really asking you to. But every once in a while how about sharing a story about you. Share something that lets me get to know you as a person – heck I might even like you and if I don’t well that’s ok too, because there are plenty of others out there that will.
Take a risk and be a human being on a Social Network and let’s stop seeing ourselves as just producers of Social Content.