It is a Strange Thing Blipping and Inspiring: The Unimportance of Social Media's Importance
Briefly, I blipped. For a few moments, for about eight hours to be exact, a tweet of mine became somewhat popular. Lots of retweets, click-throughs and then, Twitter gave it Top Tweet status. That means they highlighted my Tweet as important in the moment. Social media is very much about the moment. Some moments last a few weeks, or, in the case of my moment, a few hours. And my moment was still modest compared to some Tweets which fire up with hundreds of retweets. I had, as of this morning, 18.
It was not so much the brilliance of my Tweet as it was in the simple observation of the character count of a quote and its attribution.
So I blipped. My blog traffic spiked to around 10x its normal rate, and I suspect, for the next few weeks I will see a slight increase in my overall average.
Nice, but so what?
The quote itself is of utmost importance to any Christian, but too often considered a religious cliche. A billion views or retweets means nothing if it is read with a "That's a nice boy posting that," or "I'm spiritual but not religious" vagaries applied to it. Contemplate what it means theologically, and any Christian will be knocked to the ground in its heaviness.
Either something matters, or it doesn't. A billion views without making a change is just a billion views. When Barack Obama published his best selling The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, I wondered if those reading it would be inspired. Did his book matter?
Were they inspired? Without action, there is no inspiration. I have not seen it. I don't mean that in a political or cynical way, but want to point out that popular interest is not necessarily correlated to true change.
Ultimately, I know my blog may impact very few lives. Some people might find links to things they want to be involved with, or see pictures of something I have photographed, or even read a review of a book I read. Is that what matters?
As I read about social media, and I include blogs in this category, I read about getting followers is the key. So whenever I use certain keywords, it is like flies and dead meat. Sales people, especially those in the coaching field, sales, real estate or MLMs, glom on to my Twitter account and follow me blindly. They hope I will follow them back. Or they place @anthonytrendl in a Tweet hoping my genuine followers will see what they are about.
I reject a lot of social media theory as a result. If all it becomes is a self-repeating, self-retweeting event, it will cycle into death.
A notorious waster of the opportunity to be original is Guy Kawasaki. He rarely says anything that is beyond mildly more than a curiosity, and all of it is pure link bait. He sends the follower to his site, loaded with ads. What his Tweet refers to is actually something drawn from another site. Maybe a picture or an article that itself may be interesting. Any monkey could do it, but most monkeys lack Kawasaki's legitimate fame as a technology writer. Instead of changing the world, he cleans up on ad clicks. He knows this, and is obviously OK that he has joined all the high school kids with a blog posting odd news.
A recent Guy Kawasaki Tweet: When hairy meets horrifying: The neckbeard [I deleted his URL]
He isn't the only one. Steve Martin's Twitter account is filled with all sorts of useless quips, but the difference is Martin is a comedian, posting original bits.
A recent Steve Martin Tweet: My appearance on Letterman show will now be this Friday, not Thursday, FYI (I abbreviated “for your information” to save space.).
Whose Twitter account matters more? I'll let you sort that one out.
To be transparent, I have ads here too, and on all my sites and blogs. When my Google ads gets clicked, or you buy through Amazon links I have here, I make money. In the best of worlds, you will click on them and buy things from the sponsor, and I can retire to only write my opinions on things. I am a writer. This is what I do. The more people who read, and retweet, and forward my posts on Facebook and Twitter, the more readers I get, and presumably, more clicks. As this is a personal blog, it can be self-indulgent, and not everything will be as directed as this post. Some posts will be absolutely silly.
What would be missing if that's all there was to it. Then it would be a business, but not at all social media.
My useless Tweets: http://twitter.com/AnthonyTrendl