Home > Guest Blog, PR and social media > Put The Social Back in Social Media

Put The Social Back in Social Media

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Jules Zunich

In my ongoing attempt to provide some class and thoughtful prose to this little slice of the web I call my blog, I’ve enlisted the help of Jules Zunich – @juleszunichPR to her friends. When not guest blogging for other, Jules’ work can be found at http://zgrouppr.wordpress.com/. She also owns Z Group PR, a Boise, Idaho based boutique public relations firm specializing in PR, media relations, community outreach, government / public affairs, social media engagement and corporate communications. The firm’s tagline – Everything You Say And Everything You Do Is Public Relations – says it all.


Put the Social Back in Social Media
For me, inspiration sometimes comes in a small spurts rather than a huge wave. Paul and I had been discussing this guest blog post for a while, but I wanted to make sure I served up something different, before I jumped in. Sulking was my inspiration – or rather, my reflecting on why I was feeling disconnected from my social groups inspired me to take a look at how social media has gotten less social.

I recently commented on Mark Shaefer’s {grow} post on the Twitter snobberati. I declared myself a reformed Twitter snob after reading the touching story of Mitch and his new friend Reza, a disabled Veteran who is doing good things in the world. Reza is not going to be found on any Twitter Must-Follow list (well, maybe now) and honestly, if he had shown up in my feed, I probably would not have followed him.

My instinct, the snobbery within, would have told me that I need to focus my follows on the players, leaders and influencers in public relations. To tweet and re-tweet the expert-thought-leadership-guru advice of the day so that I could in turn, earn my spot in line as the next uber-smart twit. If Twitter was high-school, I’d be a social-climbing bitch. Not very social.

Last week also brought in Ari Herzog’s scary blog post on the dark side of geotagging and specifically, Foursquare. Strange men calling women at restaurants after they checked in online; Commenters threatening violence via email; Strangers meeting moms with their children at events – all of these are not very social.

Late in the week I had a blast reading the comments on Gini Dietrich’s I’m the Smartest Person In the Room post where she calls out the self-proclaimed experts, mavens and gurus – a subject that has riled me since day one online. I get that social media is the wild, wild west, but appointing yourself Sheriff, or the smartest person in the room, is not very social.

Reading about entrepreneurs and dotcom founders leaving their blogs behind for email newsletters makes me wonder if this is all more social than we can handle. Seth Godin (one of my fav expert gurus) does not tweet and he doesn’t allow comments on his blog – both considered by many as web2.0 blasphemy. Will there be an increase in social media thought leaders that turn out to not be very social?

Any activity that causes concerns over addiction, loss of productivity, or detachment to reality would be considered not very social. Stranger danger is not the only concern for parents with kids online – teenagers are already being treated for social media burn out.

With 5700 tweets and 75 blog posts under my belt, I feel like I am just starting to really get social media. Although I have downsized my “friends” list on Facebook, choosing to interact with people that I actually know and care about via my personal profile and then connecting with others via my company page.

While PC Worlds’ Robert X. Cringely predicted that the social media honeymoon was over back in February 2009, I would not say the quickie divorce is eminent, but I am finding social media to be headed toward a less social place.

What are you doing to make social media more social? I personally am increasing my efforts to connect with more real people, to limit my online surfing and to focus on being more social, rather than a retweet robot when I am online. For me, chasing the snobberati and gurus is a thing of the past. I want my online life to mimic my real life – a place where I can be me: fun, passionate, focused, wild and, dare I say it – very social.

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  1. November 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I really liked this post and the part that really hit me was, “I get that social media is the wild, wild west, but appointing yourself Sheriff, or the smartest person in the room, is not very social.” With unbridled freedom comes responsibility. Thanks for reminding us all that any form or communication, from old-school letters to the present day social media platforms, requires thoughtfulness and a bit of caution.

    • December 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks, Rosanne. I agree and many people on the web are like teenagers: They want all of the fun of it and none of the responsibility. Thoughtfulness is always a good thing and I’d say have a double scoop when applying it to anything online. Thanks for being here! ~ Jules

  2. zgrouppr
    November 9, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Thank you, Rosanne. Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks “smartest person in the room” post was hilarious (the comments are still coming in) and a great reminder that many people are questioning the unbridled abuse of unbridled freedom.

    Thoughtfulness and a bit of caution seem to have rolled out of town like a tumbleweed, but with a few people politely pointing it out as they see it, we can probably keep things civilized.

    I personally think that after the social media frenzy has died down a bit we will find ourselves back where we were before the technology made communications too easy – being nice, taking the time to have real conversations, getting to know our clients, and showing a bit of humility along the way. The only difference is that these things will be happening online, not just in person.

    Thanks for being here. Isn’t Paul great!

  3. November 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I wandered over from Z Group PR because I’m a PR Road Show Roadie and because, frankly, I’ll follow Jules just about anywhere. She’s proven adept at not only capturing the flavor of the moment insofar as communications trends go but also discoursing intelligently on communications in general. Now that I’ve completed my sycophancy and groveling…

    The question “What are you doing to make social media more social” implies a verdant pre-social media forest full of bunnies, talking (Twitter) birds and fawns expounding the virtues of the cloud and its denizens. Unfortunately I’m not sure this place ever existed. The Web is, indeed, the Wild West, its shopkeepers and saloon owners aside (Google, Facebook et al) and the anonymity afforded its users legislates against thoughtful and informed commentary.

    Communications professionals are struggling to get the lay of the land despite the plethora of tools at our disposal. All we can do is hold fast. Great post.

  4. November 11, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Thanks for Benjamin, Rosanne and especially Jules. I think this post is right on. Even before reading Jules’ take on this topic I had found myself being much more selective in my online socializing. This wild ride of social media is proving to be like real life and just like in real life some people will have tons of friends while some of us just want to make fewer but more solid connections. Social (media) is all what you make of it and at the end of the day you have to be who you really are.

    Thanks as always Jules for starting an interesting and necessary conversation.

    • December 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      I have been thinking and writing about this too – even since this post. It’s like a new puppy. All we can think about is snuggling it, but then latter, after it goes to the bathroom a few times and keeps us up all night howling, we realize that we have to get tough and set a schedule. Or maybe it’s not like a puppy, but other shinny new objects that we become accustomed too over time. Either way, I think that people become more selective once the newness wears off.

      Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.
      ~ Jules

  5. December 8, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I’ve been thinking for a couple of days about your question…what are you doing to put the social back in social media?

    It’s hard…the more followers and fans you have, the harder it is to keep up. I had about five weeks this past summer where I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown because I couldn’t keep up. But, just like everything, you figure out a time and a place that works for you.

    I’m a big believer in being social and being human. So some days I just tell myself that it’s OK if I don’t read the blog comments until after business hours. Because then I can be me. What I’ve learned through that process is that it doesn’t matter if I’m present in the comments during the day. Our community has way too much fun without me and I think they prefer it.

    So everyone will figure out what works best for them…and what works for me may not work for you. Great thought-provoking piece, Jules!

    • December 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Gini – I knew a guest post from Jules would attract a good class of people to my little slice of the web. You make good points – just because technology allows us to be connected 24/7 doesn’t mean we HAVE to be connected all the time.

    • December 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks, Gini. I think I do give up some quantity (followers, friends, readers) because I feel the need to work on the quality. I really try to follow real people and respond to everyone. Naturally, my sphere of online friends will be smaller, but it’s a group that I really cherish, so it’s worth it. Thanks for visiting. ~ Jules

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