Louis Gray touches on a great point over on his blog today about how information is regenerated not just by the people who follow us, but by the popularity that we carry. I want to focus on one portion of this because it touches back to many of the issues we face not just with Blogging, but in how we use social media as a communications medium.
Below is my constructed graph on how the two main primary places I blog, Techwag and Toolbox have a regenerative effect throughout multiple networks to reach the broadest audience possible. Add to that the joy of syndication and at times it can be difficult to get away from content I create because it ends up in so many places.
I only create content in two places that are geared to be public, techwag and toolbox. I also write on a number of private systems that are work related but they usually only end up in work channels; they are not normally consumed by the public outside of the structures of work and its connected systems. I am more of a guest speaker on work related systems, where as I am a public speaker on those publicly addressable systems like Techwag and Toolbox.
Both of these sites have multiple feeds into multiple systems that essentially for want of a better way of putting it, spam the message throughout multiple channels in effort to find an audience. Some of it is also a problem with Syndication, in how my guest blogger status at Cloudave and my formal syndication deal with IEntry influence how data is obtained by the reading audience. Add to that the multiple systems such as Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, and others all intersect with what a blogger or person will write, the audience can become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that is being regenerated across the internet.
Some articles will have 20 separate locations that they can be found in. They are all the same articles, making it look like I am everywhere all at once. Add to that the process of Digg, Stumble upon and other social book marking systems like Diigo and you have a disaster of links to the same content across hundreds of platforms for those articles I write that are truly popular. The least popular articles are those that end up at the bottom of the social pyramid because they failed to gain an audience.
The problem is that many of us who create content want to engage and audience and with the proliferation of social sites; we tend to spam our blog entries, pictures, videos, and podcasts hoping to snag an audience. The man social networking sites makes this much easier, not just for honest bloggers and podcasters, but for spammers and bad marketing people as well. We want to give our audiences a choice where to engage us, but in the longer run we can easily look like spammers. Our only difference is that we are not trying to sell you anything, rather we are trying to tell you something we hope will resonate with the reader, either as a comment, a retweet, or a like on some system somewhere that will bring you back to the origination point.
This is part and parcel of the problem that Louis brings up, the more popular you are, the more ability you have to bring people back to the home blog or starting point. Some people are very good at this, others not so much. Starting bloggers are invisible in the social system because they have no one to help them spread a message. Bloggers that are on the D List like me have some systems that make us look like we are everywhere. A List bloggers seem to be everywhere, you cannot escape their message because the sheer number of followers and in some cases the sheer quantity of material they put out is constantly supported, discussed, and digested in the Social Media sphere. But where does this put marketing and corporate engagement with customers?
Companies can only hope to have this kind of following now, but in the future much like the mascots that companies use, from the Burger King to the Dairy Queen Lips, they will need a public face that has the same abilities as an A List blogger. Google’s hire of Don Dodge was brilliant because he is not only popular but not overwhelming with his blog or other public things he writes. Others not so much, they are all over the social sphere in ways that are at times counterproductive to finding the message in the noise.
Which makes filtering mandatory, consumers and readers are going to filter out the bigger names, decreasing their ability to draw an audience while we focus on smaller and closer tight knit groups of people. One of the reasons for starting my own smaller private Facebook profile while my public Facebook is open to all is just that, too much noise amongst the more active of the social networking pundits whose value is decreasing in favor of fresh new voices. This is where social networking for people and for corporations get interesting, at what level does the noise start to filter out the message, and once the message has been filtered out, how to regenerate the relationships with people that will listen or purchase the product.
Open to debate, where do we go from here in social networking when even the strongest voices are starting to be filtered in favor of smaller more intimate groups of people?
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag )