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Is Social Media Saturation Setting In?

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Is Google Buzz Too Much of a Good Thing?

Cartoon of a grizzly bear wearing coat and tie, carrying a briefcase.

If You're Going to Be a Social Media Bear, Be a Grizzly

As a social media enthusiast, I sometimes feel like a lemming, chasing from one hot thing to the next. First it was blogs. Then, MyBlogLog got hot – remember that? For a while it seemed like everybody was diving into LinkedIn, and then Facebook pages started sprouting up like weeds. And of course, Twitter.

Now, Google Buzz is upon us. My Gmail inbox is overflowing with comments, links, conversations, recommendations, and observations. All great stuff … but is it too much of a good thing? (Read this for a quick, insightful, high altitude assessment of Google Buzz.)

Today, I feel obligated to promote content on several social media platforms. There are tools that make this relatively easy, but still … doesn’t it seem absurd to throw out a link to one interesting blog post on five or six networks? To be efficient by using social media aggregating tools, your communication becomes less personal. To be personally engaged by conversing on multiple platforms, you run out of hours in the day. Something has to give.

Will social media become another mass marketing outlet?

Many bloggers have noticed a decline in comments and real communication on their blogs. Much of it has drifted over to Twitter or Facebook. But lately I’ve noticed people dropping off of Twitter. They may still be on Twitter, but not with the same gusto. I probably fall in that category as well.

In any business endeavor, we run the risk of spreading ourselves too thin, of losing intensity. This is dangerous in marketing, and particularly so in social media marketing, where passion is what makes it so effective in the first place. How do we cope with the noise, the saturation, the compulsion to engage on so many platforms? I can think of a few things, and I sure would like to know what you think.

Engage with purpose. A friend of mine likes to say, if you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly. If you feel yourself going through the motions, cut back, reevaluate, rejuvenate.
Engage strategically. The time for experimentation with reckless abandon has passed in social media. Experimentation is still good and necessary, but pick your spots. Have a reason to jump into the next big thing.
Resist the temptation to be a first adapter everywhere. Sometimes you have to let the other guy or gal be the pioneer. I missed the Google Wave wave, and that’s OK. Life goes on.
Be willing to walk away. Pulling the plug on a blog or a Facebook Page feels like a whopping failure. It really does. And the more of ourselves we pour into our work, the worse it feels. But business is business and you have to cut your losses before they cut you. One of the downsides of social media engagement is it makes exit strategies – and executing them – tough. But successful business people always have a willingness to walk away.