The thought occurred to me standing on one of the side streets of Westminster in the early hours of the evening. Unlike the tourists I wasn’t looking at Big Ben, but beyond to the clouds becoming silver silhouettes against a greying sky. The sky seemed like the only peaceful thing in the sprawling city.
Having just come back from a holiday in Crete where internet connection was less regular and costly – the noise of London was apparent. Only a few minutes ago my smartphone had dumped a leviathan of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and email updates (work and personal). Most of which were probably from PR or SEO agencies, of absolutely no integral value; delivered at an inappropriate moment by my smartphone.
Such treatment by our digital devices is expected in the city and digital folk tend to sneer at less developed digital economies across the world. But why? It’s not pleasurable being hassled 24/7, being pumped full of useless content. The worst thing is that we designed this noisy social media world. For every poor click through rate or product conversion, stands someone like me, staring up at the sky wishing the world was just a little bit quieter.
Of course, some social companies (usually venture capital funded) are working on ‘content curation’ methods to make our lives a little bit more bareable. I can’t help but wonder if such companies are just further adding to the noise though. Even RSS readers, with basic honest application, inevitably add to the noise.
Then there is this blog, this post in particular, which has ironically added to the noise. Throughout the last few years we have become victims of social media – adapting ourselves for channels, rather than designing them towards delivering quality content.
Search engines prefer quality in quantity; publish to mature your web presence faster. Social media influence is often ranked upon the frequency of posts, number of followers, etc. In my eyes, the industry is reaching a point where enough is enough. We must slow down, post less, focus on quality in order to maintain the integrity of social media (if there is anything left to salvage?).
Social media is my full-time career, it’s my passion, but it’s time to look at the technology we are using and if it is always having a meaningful impact on our lives. Unfortunately social media consultants are not necessarily the ones to rectify the noise problem, it’s the social companies themselves who have based ‘quantity’ as a metric for reaching ever-greater audiences.