Most In Social Media Act Like Two Year Olds Ross | December 15th, 2008

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million.” (Walt Streightif)

Most people involved in social media are like two year old kids.

Two year old kids enjoy playing alongside other kids, but keep to themselves. After they  turn three, kids begin to have real friendships with others kids.

The blogosphere, Twitter, and other social media platforms are crammed with two year old kids. Thousands of people are writing articles about the same narrow subjects. A day doesn’t go by without dozens of people soliciting advertising for their blogs and dozens of others touting about being advertising-free. Most are trying to figure out ways to leverage social media and to be “followed”, rather than focusing on what they are saying.

How many “friend me on Facebook”, “connect with me on LinkedIn”, “follow me on Twitter” conversations have you seen lately? A ton. How many people have written articles about the “definitive way to leverage Twitter.” A ton.

There’s nothing wrong with a narrow focus or the desire to get paid for what you do – lots of people depend on social media to put food on their family’s table.

But just like two year old kids – few people in social media engage in real play with each other, much less their broader audience. Blog after blog is filled with posts but no comments. Forget real conversations – there often is not even real interaction.

Let’s be real – two 140 character tweets on Twitter do not amount to a real conversation. One comment left on another blog does not amount to a real conversation.

It’s a shame.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that technological tools need time to mature. We’re all waiting for everyone to get a grasp of social media before we begin to use those tools in earnest. We want others to experiment and make mistakes and don’t hesitate to point fingers when someone does something different. And we don’t want to share -we object that others are allowed to play in our sandbox.

But not everyone acts like a two year old in social media. Some get it. Some understand that that unlike two year old kids who need another year to mature to the point where they’ll appreciate playing with others, we have this capacity right now. Sometimes, it means moving to another sandbox to play. Sometimes, it means engaging strangers in real conversations.

We certainly can wait for social media to grow up. But we must grow up with it. And unlike two year old kids – we don’t need to wait another year.

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