ABC to Bash or Not to Bash Social Networking?
Today I received a curious tweet from Peter Cashmore, Mashable’s founder and CEO, pertaining to an ABC announcement and a somewhat biased story angle about social networking.
What seemed odd was ABC using one medium (the Internet) to solicit information for another medium (TV). As I read the tweet, the obvious irony was not lost on me!
Mashable founded in 2005 is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news. When I hyperlinked from the tweet to the ABC website, it brought me to a “contributor pitch page” entitled: “Enough Already! Sick of Social Networking?”
The pitch read as follows:
Have you had enough of social networks? Are you weary of the constant stream of photos and status updates and friend requests? Do you want your privacy back? Or are you one of the last holdouts? Do you feel pressure to join social networks but don’t want to? Tell ABC News how you really feel. Share your story with us, and a producer may contact you.
Now, doesn’t it seem a little bit incongruous that an organization as large as ABC needs “social networks” like Mashable to get their message out to the masses. And then subsequently soliciting those same masses to ask them to turn on their own “social networks?” And when ABC talks about social networks, they are specifically targeting Twitter and Facebook subscribers.(note: while the ABC pitch speaks generically about “social networks” as a whole, the photo posted on the pitch page graphically depicts the “Twitter” and “Facebook” logos).
While Mashable has presently accumulated over 361,000 followers on Twitter and notes that their website has attracted over 5 million pageviews, I can only imagine how many 1000s of stories ABC will receive. Tales will flow in from the attention-deficit digerati waiting to bite the social networking hand that feeds, so they can move on to the next “shiny thing” that offers more topical “geek cred!”
People like Jeri Cartwright, President of Cartwright Communications might also agree with ABC, as she indicates she is unable to fight off “digital exhaustion” when she is inundated with “friend” requests on Facebook and LinkedIn.
On the flip side, it is very possible that ABC will receive a good number of positive responses that speak favorably about the advantages of social networking. There will be those who commend its ability to break news faster than any mainstream media could shake a stick at (sorry about that ABC!). Others might note that Twitter and Facebook have provided them with the opportunity to conduct business, build a brand image, provide hands-on customer service, and communicate regularly with a truly international melting pot of people, from all walks of life. Still others might shed some light on how social networking breaks down racial, political and religious barriers and how many of us feel we have become members of a global society who appreciate our similarities but can also address our differences, and relish in our diversity.
Or perhaps ABC will receive a humorous anecdote similar to one emailed to me from Lauren Turner, an interactive marketing manager at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and a member of my LinkedIn network, who when asked the question if she thought social networking was “overexposed,” responded with,”I don’t feel like I am ahead of the curve anymore. My 72 year old grandmother just added me on Facebook!”
Or maybe they will be enlightened similarly to what I learned from Mike Sosin, an associate health & benefits agent in Chicago, who marvels at social networking as a space where “so many people never before connected can share ideas and perspectives with (just) a few keystrokes.”
We also could be just making too much out of this topic. As Corinna Martinez, senior technical project manager at the Department of Fish and Game states: “Cool tools are just tools!” They get us from point A to point B. However, she was also quick to add that “these apps give more power to the people…because they link PCs, mobile phones…and marketing in many exciting new ways.”
It just so happens that even while the “geek cred” of Twitter and Facebook is starting to fade, tens of thousands are still subscribing to Twitter and Facebook daily. At last count, five-year-old Facebook has tallied 175 millions while Twitter, two years its junior is closing in at 7 million!
So “NO,” Mr. ABC journalist, we haven’t had enough! We are just getting started. And if you want to learn more about our breaking social networking stories, all you have to do is tweet us. Not to say you were ‘scooped, but my best bet is as result of this blog and others like it, this topic will be searched, researched, tweeted, retweeted, commented on and discussed ad nauseum, before yours’ hits the airwaves. Social Networking may be a little bit “overexposed,’ and perhaps it doesn’t move at the speed of light, but it sure does move a lot faster than a TV news story!
So in closing, I wouldn’t be so impertinent or worse, “unsocial”… by telling this TV network that they are a little LOST in taking on this misguided story angle…. because I just realized… that’s one of the things ABC does best!