Right now, social media is boring. Just like normal media is boring.
Most human chatter IS boring most of the time. Try and listen in on conversations at cafes and restaurants. Keep your ears open at functions and family events. Social media is primarily a giant gossip pit. Very human. Just as we have been for millennia. It is gossip and fluff. See the screengrab here. Being inane (as a collective) is being human. Take FourSquare for example. Yet another narcissist’ playground.
Most media is boring. Because they are not targeted at my specific interests, or they are not available at the times that suit me (eg TV), or they are not available on the channel (eg TED talks are inaccessible on a Blackberry).
It is also boring now because every business is scrambling on the bandwagon, desperately grasping at it as the next magical easy answer to marketing PR and advertising (which are increasing viewed as disingenuous, forced and annoying.) But most businesses still don’t get it. (That’s ok, this stuff, like websites, takes time to understand.)
As with the early days of the web, social media today is still too focused on the tools, the conduits, the pipes and faucets.
You can no more do social media than you can do popularity. Social media is not the new snake oil to cure all your business ills.
Providing the conduit is easy. Starting conversations is hard.
Some topics naturally lend themselves to chatter – celebrities, sport and porn for example. But generally, social media is still hard to directly monetise. And most frighteningly for some businesses, it equates to giving up control over your marketing and PR. (Isn’t it interesting that Apple, a company increasingly known for its paranoia and control, does not directly leverage social media?)
So what IS interesting?
The extension of geography-agnostic and distributed memetic tribalism (!), the instantaneous fleeting yet still enriching connections, transparency (and thus “enforced” authenticity), the combination of anonymity and public airing of laundry.
What we need is not more tools. We need more understanding an exploration of the motivations that drives us to seek out communion, the psychology behind community building (especially the organic spontaneous genesis of communities). And of course the mechanism therein: socialising, bonding, acceptance, excommunication…
So why would anyone want to sit down with your business for a great night out? Would they want to talk about you behind your back? Be real. Do what you love. engage with people openly. Everything else is bollocks – like secretly paying people to spread word-of-mouth! Gag!