The Social Media Fire Hose

by Jay Deragon on 03/14/2011

Every communications tool we use is getting sprayed with content and much of it is irrelevant to individual intents.  Everyday we we open our email client, our twitter account, Facebook, Linkedin and the host of “social platforms” it feels like we are getting sprayed with a fire hose of irrelevant content.

Many brands and individuals push out constant streams of “social water” that drowns us in distractions. The distractions steal our time and water down our brains with not urgent, not important and non-productive clutter. Clutter makes it difficult to find the urgent and important things that enable us to maintain productivity.

Clutter refers to a confusing or disorderly state or collection; or the creation thereof. Excessive, unnecessary or uncontrolled clutter can be a huge distraction that robs us of time and productivity.

Clutter also applies to advertising and marketing processes.  (Clutter (marketing): The extreme amount of advertisements or products the average consumer comes into contact with. In TV and radio, commercials, upcoming show announcements and promotions, and any other broadcast material which does not belong to the actual program currently on.

Whether a personal or commercial clutter, it all becomes very distracting and non-productive. Now with all this social stuff the clutter factor just went up 100x and learning to reduce or eliminate the clutter becomes vital to being productive.

Conversational Clutter?

It is ironic that while social media is a new system of communications many do not use it to effectively communicate with an audience.  Instead we see advertisements everywhere and people pushing messages hoping to catch us to engage in a transaction.  It is well know, or should be, that 98% of the ads on Facebook never get “clicked” and yet advertisers pour millions into advertising on Facebook only to create more clutter.  Then you see individuals within social media pushing out messages which in essence is nothing but an advertisement pushing a product, service or scheme. All of it is clutter which steals away the productivity of valuable conversations.

Social technology has enhanced communications beyond any current measure. Unfortunately it has also accelerated the clutter. This presents conflicts and risk between people and institutions or other people who simply want to add clutter to our lives.   The conflict is people generally despise clutter and the risk is if your putting out clutter eventually you’ll be rejected, thrown away and considered nothing more than a mess needing to be cleaned up.

What Do You Do With Clutter?

We all create some level of clutter.  My desk gets filled up with notes, pads of paper, mail, gadgets, snacks etc. etc. Can you relate?

Once a week I clean up my desk and usually that means 90% of the clutter is meaningless and simply gets thrown in the trash.  Usually this process happens at the end of every week and I start the next week off with a “clutter free work zone”.  Starting my week this way helps me focus, feeling organized, energized and ready to be productive.  Our environment  does impact the clarity of our thoughts and the ability to assimilate new information. Don’t believe it? Try reading, writing or conversing with a loud TV on, lots of distraction or interruptions. How well can you think or converse? Not very well.

I often wonder why the people who push out advertisements or marketing messages within “social technology” believe that it is the right thing to do or think it is doing things right”.   Social media usage has turned into a fire hose spraying us with irrelevant information. Then people and organizations wonder why we don’t pay attention or respond to their messages.   Either we don’t get it or they don’t. Which is it?



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