It’s the Value, Stupid

As social media continues to accelerate, many are discussing the “death of blogging” and the “rise of lifestreaming”. Marc Canter has a proposal for a DiSO (Distributed Social Networking) which is well explained here at Read/Write Web.

There is NO question that aggregating all we do online is a worthwhile effort, but I’ve got a position that is sort of a stunner for a guy like me who supposedly is embracing social media:

  • I don’t care about all of your digital breadcrumbs, even if they’re scooped up and put on a plate (i.e., a blog container, a dashboard, whatever)
  • I don’t want to follow your little lifestream with blow-by-blow thoughts, feelings and opinions
  • No, I really don’t want to watch hours upon hours of your real-time video streaming
  • PLEEZ don’t deliver links to awesome lectures, which you’ve happened to record holding a frickin’ Flip Mino like a drunken sailor with palsy
  • I’m not interested in all of the photos you constantly upload of doorknobs, railings and peeling paint
  • Your tweets about the weather, the chili you had for lunch, or the “Hey look at me!” self-aggrandizing links to articles about you or the cool names you’re dropping, is booorrrrring!

See the two photos above? The late William F. Buckley was a disorganized slob with an office that looked like a hurricane blew through before breakfast. Did he throw every piece of content he possibly could into his TV show Firing Line? Or his magazine the National Review?

No. He edited the enormous tsunami of content that was his life, his genius and that of his thought leading writers into encapsulated chunks of value.

Canadian journalist Josh Freed is so disorganized and has such a chaotic office, that he wrote and produced a documentary film entitled, “My Messy Life“. Though he offices in a place that would make an obsessive compulsive hoarder feel like they had hourly maid service, this guy understands that he needs to deliver value in his newspaper stories, and that his film had to have a beginning, middle and an end and probably run for a conventional time for a movie (90 minutes or so) rather than throwing every single thought in there.

As the continued explosion of social media technologies, device types that are getting cheaper and easier to throw up content (get the pun?) online, just remember that it’s the value you’re delivering that matters. Don’t make your friends, family, future employers (or any people you hope will “follow” you) dig through your stacks of crap for hours in order to possibly uncover some nuggets of value.

Put forth some effort to collate, organize, edit and publish value from your crap and we increasingly time-and-attention-poor online participants might be willing to invest our energy in what you’re delivering.

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2 Comments

  1. PXLated on January 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more Steve!
    I just don’t have time for all the clutter people spew into social media and is the big reason I rarely friend (or subscribe to) very many people directly. Someone friends me, I do go and read their streams and IF it’s all good and meaty I’ll follow directly. If there’s chaff, I’ll look for topics/keywords that I do want to follow and subscribe to the resulting RSS feed from TwitterSearch (or whatever). It’s the only way I’ve found to play editor for those that haven’t the will themselves.
    I will plead guilty to spewing some chaff myself though – especially when it’s 18 below zero 🙂



  2. David Wilcox on January 16, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Thanks Steve, you have just given me another line for “why we need social reporters” Helping surface the real stories … and encouraging others to do that too. Instead of just stuff.



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