The Irrelevance of Social Media: Chasing Nothing

Posted by in Best Business Practices, Business Development, Marketing Strategies, Melissa Galt, Referral Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Success Habits

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A couple of week’s ago I got a long awaited invitation to pinterest. (Oh and if you’ve no clue what that is, it is a social media network devoted solely to sharing images, sans text.) I say long awaited because when I first discovered the site through creative colleagues, it informed me I needed an invitation to join. When I spoke recently to some 600 floorcovering dealers, I mentioned pinterest and was tickled when an attendee kindly sent me an invitation.

Social Media Marketing, Social Media Speaker, Melissa Galt, Relationship Marketing, How to Be Relevant in Social Media, Facebook Marketing, Pinterest MarketingSo I climbed up and took five minutes to poke about. Clearly not enough time to make any kind of footprint, barely enough time to even follow more than one or two others. And yet, the last week particularly, I’ve noticed that I’m getting notices saying so and so is following me on pinterest. I have created nothing worthy of following. I haven’t build a profile, curated a series of photos or even bulletin boards . . . heck I’m not even entirely clear on how to do that! Yes, I’m being followed.

(Of course, I intend to, when I have time! But sheesh with all of the other million and one things we each are responsible for keeping up with today, I don’t know exactly when this will be. While I love pictures, I love the words that form pictures even more . . .it’s that writer in me.)

This is the irrelevance of social media, the idea that anyone would follow someone else for absolutely no real reason is nuts. Now you may be thinking that these are folks that know me through other channels like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and they may be. Even still is it just my name that attracts, is there no discrimination as to the quality of the profile created, the information curated, the opinions served up??

This is tantamount to the drive-by friendings I get on Facebook. Total strangers that see my face show up because we both know the same person, click the friend button. They haven’t visited my profile, gotten to learn anything about me, care about what I stand for, or taken 30 seconds to send me a personal note.  Most often I bounce them with an invitation to join me on my business page.  And it is only about one out of every twenty (5% if you want the math) that will come back with a note about how they found me and why they want to connect. Why didn’t you tell me that to begin with?

Social Media Marketing, Social Media Speaker, Melissa Galt, How to Be Relevant in Social Media, 2012 Marketing Strategy, Relationship Marketing Speaker I have no interest in being chased, followed, trailed, friended, or even liked for no reason. If you get some charge out of building your numbers, knock yourself out. I have learned through extensive experience that while numbers may impress others they really don’t mean a thing. In fact, social media is a breeding ground for the put-on-your-best-facers with vast hordes of empty nothing followings. People who fan, friend, follow, and trail because they suffer the illusion that they will derive some benefit by association instead of by real relationship (that would require work.)

Stop the madness this year, don’t wait until next. Before you friend, follow, chase, connect, like, or fan someone for goodness sake and your own sake find out about them? Who are they? What do they stand for or against? What is important to them and why do you want to follow them? Be discriminatory and put the relevance back into social media. Chasing something gives purpose to the hunt, chasing nothing is simply a waste of your time.

As always, I genuinely want your thoughts, opinions, experiences and more here. Most of all I want to know WHY you are following me and make it relevant!

 

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43 Responses - Join the Discussion!

  1. Melissa, Thank you for saying something that needs additional consideration –and action. I am intrigued by the number of times I see that someone has followed me who shares no interests, guarantees a follow back and has many thousands of followers with only a few tweets or comments. I also wonder about the purpose of all this. If we could channel the thousands of hours of activity into something more productive (like, say, world hunger or clean energy), we could have a major impact.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Ahh Lyn,

      Even better we could take the time to build real relationships with real people and create a friendlier world, less war torn, and a better sense of community!
      BTW, that is one of the best avatars, I’ve seen. Kudos!

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  2. Margret E Covell

    Thank you, Melissa, for saying what so many are thinking! Only yesterday I had a conversation with my web designer who expressed how concerned he was about business owners wasting their time on social media – and for reasons pretty much the same as you expressed in your article.

    It seems that what began as a wonderful way for people to connect in a meaningful and productive way has become diluted to the point of futility. As you so rightly say, let’s concentrate on building real, friendly relationships.
    warmest good wishes, Margret

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Margret,

      Diluted is a good way to put it. Keep me in your real relationship loop.

      Oh and go to gravatar.com and put your headshot in so we can “see” you!

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  3. This is exactly why I follow YOU!
    Integrity, honesty, intelligence and talent with a purpose.
    Thank YOU Melissa!
    Continued blessings in helping so many,
    Deb
    http://www.greenskyandbluegrass.com

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Thanks Deb,

      Always glad to know I am making a difference!

      And know you are keeping it real in your relationships.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  4. Diane Bogino

    Melissa;

    True. I love when someone I have never met states: “Since you are someone I trust, I want to …..”

    What’s the old saying? Everything in moderation. Does anyone even remember the meaning of moderation?

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Hey Diane,

      Hmm moderation is kind of a lost art these days as is creating a real relationship it seems.

      Wouldn’t it be neat to have social media close for a month each year and see if people still know how to communicate in real time?

      Ahhh, I dream . . .

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  5. Emmett

    I shall make 3 comments!
    Comment 1: I agree in a generalistic sense with what you say. The term “friends” has become vauge and nebulous in definition. There was a time when friends and family meant survival and you HAD to learn interpersonal skills and work to be part of that social survival network. Now you are a name and a face with luck. The psycological aspects can be debated ad nauseum.
    Comment 2: I am not a sheep but a “Wolf”. I use social outlets for back links and high PR etc. Regardless of how you couch your words in this post, by the right hand side acknowledgements you, too, are a wolf.
    Comment 3: Hmmm, I don’t as much ‘follow’ you as I study you. Examples: I am a lone, rogue wolf sitting silently inside a dark timber stand watching a she wolf on a moonlit night in an open glen, stalking, trailing (marketing) her prey as she goes in for the kill, (sells, providing that which is needed, income), or if you will, you need to move something some distance and need a wheel, you don’t need to re-design it or anything ,you simply look for the best wheels out there build your wheel like those few great wheels and the likelyhood of your success of easily moving things from point a to b is relatively assured. I do not do what successful people say, but do as they do! To most, that may seem only a minor point in semantics, but the differences are vast!!! Simply put, I don’t do as they say but do what “they” are doing. The difference is MAYBE a little success or almost assured great success!
    I trust I have answered your query. No?
    May the rest of your week be fantabulous!
    Emmett

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Emmett,

      Thanks so much for your insights. I agree I am not a follower, but I do think “wolf” is a bit of a strong term. I think I am more of a shephard or as a friend once noted a sheep dog, nipping at your heels to keep you in line and headed in the right direction!

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  6. tony

    Hi Melissa,
    I have been in your mailing list for several months and impressed with your well written articles. I must admit that not all of them I read through. One particular article that bear good reminder is in respect of IMs who incessantly bombarded the mail box with their offers for products they have no or limited knowledge.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Thanks Tony,

      Glad to know you are getting the gold nuggets.

      I still hold true to my stance that when you build a real relationship if value, the sale becomes a foregone conclusion, no pitch necessary.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  7. Harry

    Hi Melissa-
    There is a mindless time wasting portion of the Social Media. There is also a good way to keep up with the large number of people that were once a part of our lives, and for normal reasons, now we don’t see often. For me, since I moved a fair amount as a student and I have some years on me, this is indeed a large number. I have also made friends with customers of my business as well as colleagues and vendors over the last 25 years. Some of them I genuinely like, not in the greedy wolf-like way brought to the fore in another comment. I learn of their lives and their families. They know a little about mine. I like social media especially for this level of “friend”. Casual contact with people that you no longer see, but in some way care about.
    I don’t find this takes a lot of time, that later I find is poorly spent.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Harry,

      As long as your time in social media is working well for you, that is all that matters.

      I’m not at all sure I concurred with the wolf comment, I’m more of a shephard!

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  8. Melissa,

    I follow you because you have a no nonsense, straight forward approach to marketing and you throw in an amusing comment now and then. You are very direct which I find refreshing.

    When I first got involved in social media I, too, concentrated on numbers because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. Now I connect only with people who I can learn from or are in my target market. I try to interact with them in a way that will build a trusting relationship.

    When I go to “real” networking events I don’t try t meet everyone in the room so why do it on social media.

    Keep up the good work!

    Connie

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Connie,

      Sounds like you learned the biggest lesson early enough to avoid too much wasted time and you are growing your business with real relationships.

      That rocks! Keep up the good work. Go on over to gravatar.com and add your headshot so we can “see” you here.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  9. Hi Melissa,
    Very interesting. I don’t know anything about following, facebook or anything else come to that. I had a look once out of curiosity and decided it wasn’t for me. I’m here now because I want to find out what it is you have to say and hopefully learn.I only speak to people who make sense to me… so far, you do!
    Kind regards,
    Linda

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Linda,

      Thanks, I hope I always make sense! Curious as I checked out your blog and you are sharing it with social media (Facebook, Twitter and the like) yet you said you aren’t using it. What am I not understanding?

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  10. Happy Holidays Melissa,

    As you know, and we’ve been in “real” contact with TRUE connection over cupcakes *wink*, I have been a huge fan of your message and work for a long time now. AND THIS is precisely why!! Authenticity, Integrity, Organic Connections and a wealth of expertise and brilliance that you share – and all while cutting out the B.S. (to be very blunt).

    I myself am rather upfront and it gets me in trouble at times but no matter. I too have not “followed the flock” (at times most definitely that is way more difficult than drinking the Koolaid as I call it). Still, as a fellow Pioneering spirit – it simply feels more in alignment to do it my way. YET I do find myself occasionally falling into the “trap” of the numbers, the game, the competition like high school of who is more popular and all the other social media “noise” — luckily I catch myself-Most of the time. ;) In fact, I’m not sure if you’ve read the book by Sherry Turkel entitled, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.” It’s fascinating if you haven’t.

    Well thanks again for another brilliant – authentic share and I hope you have a FAB holiday weekend.

    With Honor,
    ~Mandy :)

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Hey Mandy,

      Good to hear from you always. I’m not familiar with the book mentioned but it does sound right up my alley and I’ll grab it for holiday reading.

      I agree it can be hard not to fall into the numbers trap since I am well aware (as you are too) that numbers carry disproportionate weight in too many circles even when evidence of nothing . . .

      Stick to your own path, it is the right one for you.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  11. It is predicted that the nameless (brainless) befriending and following will start to slow down over the next year or two as social media takes its place in the mainstream. There has been a flurry of crazed activity and people think they are “missing something” if they don’t befriend everything that moves. There is great value to social media and the gold nugget will be in discovering the value for yourself. That will mean real connections to real people and sharing of useful information.

    Thanks for this. It’s truly excellent.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Thanks Susan,

      Oh, I’ve no doubt there is benefit. I’ve gotten that in my own business. It simply can be challenging to find the benefit amidst the noise and clamor of empty chasing . . .

      Great to hear from you always,

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  12. All I can say is “ditto”! I roll my eyes whenever I hear that someone has 400 friends but, they can’t even name half of them. At some point along the line these people have confused the quantity of friends with the quality of friends.

    Social media is meant to be a personal assistant for our relationships. Not a replacement for them.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Maureen,

      That is a great way to put it! “Social media is a personal assistant for our relationships; not a replacement for them.”

      The trick is to leverage the assistant in a way that truly helps and doesn’t simply add to the noise and distraction.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  13. Hi Melissa.
    As a general rule, I do agree with you, and think that it is true as well in real life situations as many do make connections w/others for superficial reasons.

    And until recently, I was a HUGE sceptic about the importance of Social Media in my own life; whether professional or socially. Having started blogging earlier this year, and connecting with many like minded people on Twitter through the blog, my feelings have changed dramatically!
    Especially about Twitter – I would not have seen this post, for example, if not for a “friend” on twitter..

    While thinking about why I Blog.. a huge part of it has to do with sharing my thoughts not only w/those that choose to follow my blog, but I imagine that I am speaking directly to those new found friends on twitter..It’s about a conversartion I am having which makes it a lot more tangible, authentic and therefore alot easier to create each post for me.

    So I have to say that because of many new connections made through twitter, and because of connections that appear simply because we have “friends” in common, perhaps this also mimmicks a little of what happens IRL, w/friends that introduce us to others that have similar ideas, tastes, and interests..

    Remaining genuine is key, but I find that its easilly felt who is not _ even when on social networking channels like FB, or twitter.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it is definitely thought provoking..
    Happy Holidays
    Jennifer

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Thanks Jennifer,

      I have no doubt the value of blogging and enjoy when friends deliberately share their preferences and recommendations. I think what irritates and frustrates me more is the “marketing” that something like FB does and I get drive by friendings for no more reason than they saw my face and how many friends we have in common. I like to know someone did a bit more work than that.

      I am likely super sensitive growing up with a celebrity mom and seeing “fans.” My definition of a fan is a stranger who wants a piece of you. . . food for thought.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  14. Excellent post Melissa. These are points other self proclaimed social media experts should be highlighting.

    I had seen the pinterest site a while back and wasn’t overly impressed. I personally only use twitter to follow specific sites relative to niches I’m working in so that periodically I can check posts they’ve been tweeting. For me it kind of works like a quick reference library.

    Looking at some who decide to follow me usually leaves me asking “why” and as you say many obviously give little or no thought to who they follow or friend.

    Best wishes for a great Christmas and fantastic 2012.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Thanks Jonathon!

      Yes, Twitter can be a valuable reference library, great point of usage.

      Happiest of Holidays!

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  15. Mistaking numbers for relationships reminds me of the worst in high school culture where popularity was touted over value and discernment.

    I think Twitter is the worst. People follow you not because they’re interested but because they want you to follow them. And, if you don’t, delete their follow they will. The automated DM notes on Twitter feel phony, too. Why not leave it to me to look you up and find you on Facebook…if I want to.

    Per Maureen’s point, it is said that on any given day most of us are only authentically connected to 150 people. (I think that’s the number, though it might be 250.)

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Joan,

      Not sure it really matters how many you may be “authentically” connected to. For some it would be 5, for others 500. The key as I see it is to step out of the blind friendings and random followings.

      I agree on Twitter D/M though can see why someone may want to save me the lookup by sharing their link. It would be better if personal and by request . . .

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  16. Jonathan Good

    Melissa – I agree it’s very noisy out there, but I don’t think irrelevant is a good word to associate with social media – it’s more relevant than ever and will continue to grow.

    To your statement “I have created nothing worthy of following. I haven’t build a profile, curated a series of photos or even bulletin boards . . ..”

    I’d say you’ve created something worthy of following already… You!

    Also, your blog looks like you use social media heavily to promote it – and it must be working because I found this article via a Facebook friend.

    I think many people look for others who they know (or even just heard of or read something they wrote, etc.)

    Pinterest is just another new channel to share interests in a different way.

    Lastly, I think it is difficult for start up networks to have enough content to be interesting and show their usefulness — once the early adopters do their work everyone else will start to get on board and the “network effect” takes hold.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Jonathan,

      I deliberately chose a controversial title for this as it means more readership . . .gaming or smart, you decide.

      I don’t dispute that social media has an important place. However I do think that far too many are relying on it in less than productive or even healthy ways. I lost a very, very dear friend earlier this fall to suicide and he had a following in the six figures and gave to everyone yet had nothing left for himself and too few gave back to him.

      Yes, I appreciate that experience is on the unique side, but I’ve a feeling it isn’t as unique as it should be.

      57.2% of people interact more online than in real life, I find that scary and isolating on many levels.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  17. Thanks for your clear-headed comments about social media.

    I have never made friends easily. I still can’t make friends as easily as others on Facebook but I do connect with about 40. Some are friends, some are past co-workers, very few are possible prospects. I use LinkedIn for business contacts and see much higher quality in meaningful connections there. I don’t use Twitter because I don’t wish to be a twit or find out that someone has eaten a bologna sandwich for lunch.

    I do agree that we have been mowed over by technology and that by the time we stand up and dust ourselves off, we get mowed over by the next greatest trend.

    I’m just tired of being tired. So I will resolve to cut WAY back on my email and social media frenzied time, and consider that my computer and iPhone can be turned off for days at a time without the world coming to an end.

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Rusty,

      Hey, I never made friends easily either because I switched schools too much and wasn’t even military!

      Yes, you can unplug and disconnect and the world won’t end. Go for it as often as needed.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  18. Michael

    Hi Melissa, thanks again for an interesting and thought-provoking article. I’m relatively new to the social media scene and am described as an “Observer” or Dabbler” on Klout. However, scocial media is a way or broadcasting and sharing ideas and equally of listening to other people that one would not normally encounter. It is always interesting to listen to what other people have to say and understanding their perspective on something. I guess we are all into social media for different reasons and if we find that it does not work for us, then we can opt out and opt back in again later. As for yourself and why I follow you – well you are always interesting and thought-provoking. Regards, Michael

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Hey Michael,

      Glad to know I am interesting and though provoking, keep me posted if I ever slip!

      Ahh yes, the broadcasting . . .not always recommended. It’s too close to having a convo by yourself. Social media works best if it is fueling a target and creating genuine points of connection.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  19. GREAT post! Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and wise observations Melissa! While I was trying to build my online presence in 2010, I probably joined a tad bit too many sites. Now that I moved (and it’s a NEW year!) I’m trying to update my profiles, and I’m seeing this over abundance of insane nonesense… I’m trying to delete a few along the way (although this is NOT as easy as it would seem). Wish me luck! and BTW: if you’re looking to build some of your boards on Pinterest, I have plenty of pins to share – so stop by and repin! :)

    Reply to this comment
    • Melissa Galt

      Thanks Lynda!

      I know that feeling really well and struggle with unsubscribing as well. I do look forward to the difference it will make and when you create a vacuum, you create room for more positive energy to happen.

      Hugs and Happy New Year!
      Melissa

      Reply to this comment
  20. Melissa~
    Wonderful honesty :) Love it. Which is why I read your stuff and follow you, too, like other commenters have mentioned. I’m newly on Twitter with a business profile… I’ve not sat down to figure out the whole Page Timeline thing on Facebook yet… While I faithfully use Twitter everyday to post my 140 characters of whatever, I don’t watch the numbers so much. Actually, when I see my followers take a jump in numbers, I tend to go through and cull out many of the ones that just don’t make sense or are blatant spam (gotta love all the porn actresses trying to get followers with “inspirational” tweets, lol).

    I’ve actually gotten a few of my best leads through Twitter itself, so I appreciate that part of it… but yes, there is little to no meaning in the number of followers that I have… it doesn’t mean anything to me to have a bunch of people who randomly DM people with the “follow me and I’ll follow back” style tweet following me, ya know?

    Thanks, Melissa, for your honest and authentic style :) and thanks to all the comments in discussion around this.
    Love & Light~
    Brandi H
    Brandi Harrigan recently posted..Out on a Limb April 7, 2012My Profile

    Reply to this comment
  21. Hey Melissa:

    Good thought – and here is an interesting trend – fewer and fewer of my real friends are spending time on Facebook these days. The real information (genuine status updates that matter from people you know) are getting drowned and diluted in the fake ap driven updates (Bob played Hokey pokey) or updates from people I barely know who are using FB for marketing (Hey – are you coming to the event?).

    So… what do you think the future is for social media?

    Reply to this comment
    • Sharon,

      There are articles I’ve skimmed recently predicting Facebook’s demise in the next decade.

      In the case of what your friends are experiencing, I hide those people from my feed so I still get good stuff.

      If it weren’t for business I wouldn’t be on FB, I miss REAL time and the phone.

      Social is here to stay, it is HOW it looks and feels that is morphing and changing rapidly.

      Hugs, Melissa

      Reply to this comment

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