I am thoroughly disenchanted with "social media". I actually
started feeling this way before I read Getting Creative With Your Content
where James Chartrand complained:
I'm disillusioned these days. It takes a lot to get me interested
in anything, and as each day passes, I scan more and read less. I
I've been feeling the same way. I'm fed up with "me too" posts,
"Subscribe and get a free..", "Build anticipation", "Increase your social
media contacts" and all that.. so many people parroting the same
vapid advice. But mostly what is getting under my skin is this
whole "Social Media" thing: Digg, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Sphere..
all of it.
Here's why: recently Skellie of skelliewag.com wrote
a guest post at ProBlogger entitled How to Write Posts That Set StumbleUpon on Fire. There's nothing wrong with Skellie's
post. The suggestions are valid and they would work. I'm not
complaining about the post per se: it's just reporting on reality.
The main suggestions are summarized at the end of the post. I'll
reproduce them here for your convenience:
(these are from Skellie's post referenced above)
- Start using StumbleUpon and voting up content from other blogs and websites in your niche.
- Friend those who Stumble your articles and thank them. This will start a dialog that could turn them into a loyal reader of your blog.
- Write about SU and encourage readers to add you as a friend.
- Swap Stumbles with other bloggers.
- Link to your SU profile on your About page.
- Befriend active StumbleUpon users and stumble and review some of their content if they have a blog or website. Active users command more traffic and they’re more likely to repay the favor because they’re Stumbling all the time anyway!
- Add a Stumble button/link under each of your posts.
- Add a Stumble link to your Feedflare (find it in your Feedburner control panel).
Notice this: nothing there implies that the content you bless with
your Stumble vote has to be unusually good. Now of course you
wouldn't "vote up" pure crap - but you can hardly wait for true
excellence, can you? No, you'll vote for "acceptable", anything
reasonably not junk.. and you'll expect your mediocre efforts to
get the same votes in return..
Don't believe people do this? Do a Google search for "swap stumbles"
and "swap diggs".
Point of reference: I've written a little less than 6,000
articles for this site. A handful have attracted attention on
StumbleUpon or Digg. A small handful at that. Those posts
weren't voted up because somebody owed me tit for tat: these
were honest appraisals of value devoid of motive. But it's
just a handful, just a very few.
And that's exactly as it should be, right? Nobody hits
home runs every time at bat, but in the new world juiced by
social media, you can bat 1,000 with the help of your pals..
all it requires is that you help them as they help you.
The system stinketh unto heaven.
I used to use StumbleUpon to find good content. I don't
bother any more, because it's now full of ho-hum content. Not
"bad" content, but not exceptional. Not good enough for
StumbleUpon to remain of interest to me.
Again, please understand that I am NOT saying StumbleUpon
or Digg or any of the others are full of junk. I'm simply
pointing out that gaming the system as is now common practice
produces mediocrity. I also realize the increase in Internet
users, the democratization that began around 1995 or so and
brought illiterates of all stripes into a world that formerly belonged
exclusively to geeks; that growth has quite naturally lowered
standards. What I'd consider a very basic and unnecessary "Unix
shell" article is apt to be seen as major geekery by a large
number of current Netizens. That devaluation is somewhat
inevitable, but social media boosts that trend to new heights - or
actually new lows, from my point of view.
O Tempora! O Mores! Yes, the grumpy old geek is bitching
about how the old days were so much better. Put a cork in it,
Ok, fine. But I'm simply stating the truth: these mutual
stroking arrangements are not as satisfactory as the real
thing: organic linking to valuable and truly interesting
That DOESN'T mean there isn't good stuff posted. It doesn't mean there
is less good stuff than there used to be. It doesn't mean that
somebody with a lot of Stumbled pages doesn't actually have a few
gems with in them.
And it doesn't mean that you or Joe P. Blow doesn't think
carefully about their votes and promote content that actually is
superlative. But it is obvious that a lot of people are trading
favors and voting up content that never should be promoted.
That's my opinion, anyway. Please don't Stumble or Digg
this post. Seriously - it's not of interest to the social
media promoters and will only tick them off. We'll get hundreds
of insipid comments from troglodytes who haven't read the actual
post and wouldn't understand it if they did.
In fact, as of this minute I'm removing all those "Stumble this"
links and others that used to be here. I do not want to be
part of any of that nonsense any more.
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© 2012-10-06 Anthony Lawrence