As the social networking scene becomes more crowded, busy, and chaotic, more people are experimenting with automating or outsourcing social media tasks. But does this violate the spirit of authenticity which is so highly valued within social media?
So far we’ve discussed
Today, we’re talking about reading tweets and status updates. Is there an expectation that a person should read all the tweets and status updates of all the people they friend/follow? Some of them?
The big difference between social media and other forms of media is that while traditional media is broadcast in one direction, social media is multi-directional and conversational.
As in the offline world, if you’re going to engage with people and have conversations with them in social media, you have to listen to them. In fact, most social media gurus will tell you that listening is more important than speaking.
What’s implied by friending/following?
Some people believe that when you friend someone on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, you are essentially saying to them, “I want to listen to you?” If that’s the case, then friending/following someone and not listening to them could be compared to sitting down for coffee with someone and then tuning them out as they tell you what’s going on in their life.
Other people believe that when you friend someone on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, it’s more like subscribing to a newspaper or email newsletter. The information is there for you to take in when you want to and ignore when you don’t.
Which do you think is the better analogy? Or do you have one of your own?
Does a person need to read tweet and status update of all their friends/followers? If not, what percentage of tweets/updates read makes you a good listener or bad listener?
Facebook and Twitter have introduced lists. By placing friends/followers on lists and then checking those lists at different frequencies, a person can read all the tweets/updates for people on some lists and some of the tweets/updates for people on other lists. Some lists might get checked very infrequently, and very few of the tweets/updates of the people on that list are seen. Authentic or not?
Or really does it come down to a matter of intentions? If I put a Facebook friend on a list and intend to check it periodically but don’t, is that cool? But if I have no intention of reading any more of a person’s updates and click the Facebook ignore button next to their name, is that disingenuous?
I don’t think we’re under any social obligation to read tweets or status updates. But, the better a person is at listening to people through social media, the better their relationships will be.
Offline our relationships with people vary in depth depending on how much we listen and engage with a person. That is the case in social media as well. It’s perfectly natural to have varying depths of relationships online, and to listen to and engage with some people more than others.
Where I think it can become disingenuous is when someone feigns interest in another person to manipulate them into doing something. It’s like the hot girl back in high school who would flirt with all the guys – even the ones she didn’t like – just to get attention, help with homework, guys buying her stuff, etc.
I’m interested to hear what you think and to try to flesh out this issue.