Reaching saturation? Social media worries, inanities and limitations

August 10, 2009

I was reminded by a conference organizer that I need to get my presentation in soon for a presentation in Houston in early October. My response was, but the whole world might change by then and it will be outdated.

That’s how fast things seem to be evolving in the world of public information. Social media, of course, is the driver. Here are a few tidbits to illustrate the struggle of trying to understand and manage what is going on.

Social media is turning into a great big headache for CEOs and executives. This study shows that the two main worries (understandable I might add) are cutting into employee productivity and reputation damage.

Everybody’s talking about Twitter, twittering, tweeting, wasting time, etc. As this YouTube video shows, those pundits and news commentators are struggling like many others with what to do with all this and how seriously to take it. Thanks Paul for the headsup on this clip.

But what is Twitter and other text-based messaging doing to our communication and language? Wall Street Journal has a humorous and somewhat frightening take on this. It shows what happens if you misunderstand LOL and think it means Lots of Love instead of Laughing Out Loud.

And then there’s the vulnerability of Twitter and their lack of reliability. My understanding is that Twitter was down 85 hours last year. And just in the last few days experienced a three hour outage due to denial of service attacks. This is a significant issue for those considering Twitter as a critical element of crisis or emergency communications.

And then there’s the growing backlash–particularly against Twitter it seems but social media in general. Perhaps it is too much to call it a backlash, but there certainly is recognition that social media remains largely a domain of the digital natives–the younger generation who seems to have the time for all the tweeting (a mystery to me) and more significantly, an interest in the inane particularities of their friends’ and associates’s lives. This survey shows that 87% of adults say they prefer to deal directly with people. Count me in with the majority.


2 Responses to “Reaching saturation? Social media worries, inanities and limitations”

  1. Clinton J. Andersen Says:

    It can definitely be overwhelming considering a new social media site comes out every year. It would be good to see one stick around and be the mainstream for a good 3, 4 years.

    About Twitter, I can’t imagine any organization replacing it as their primary means of emergency communication. It is simply an addendum to what already exists. Last year it was down for less than 1% of the time. 85 hours out of 8,760. If individuals were relying on this solely for communication then that might be a different matter. This is a free service originally meant to keep tabs on friends and family. By no means is it a critical number or worrisome statistic.

  2. gbaron Says:

    Hello Clinton, the three hour outage is pretty significant. I know of government agencies who use Twitter extensively. Certainly it is not the only way of communicating but I know they would be very concerned about a three hour lapse in service–particularly if it happened right when it was most needed.

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