There doesn’t seem to be much sport in sport these days. It seems to me more about statistics, records and targets than playing a game or enjoying an activity. In that respect, social media sometimes seems the same. A narrow focus on statistics, followers and other metrics can overshadow the social and relationship aspects. It becomes a game of numbers rather than a means of communicating.
It’s understandable that anyone using social media for business, and specifically for promotional purposes, wants to see a return on the time and resources they are investing, but surely the skill in using it successfully is to make communication natural, enjoyable and entertaining. Can excessive automation, endless repetition and unoriginal or borrowed content achieve this?
If we meet a business contact in a pub or restaurant, we would shun their company if they tried to sell us their products or services without even greeting us. Imagine someone coming up to you and telling you they’ve got more customers than you, forcing you to hear their special offer (which you must take up before the next round of drinks), committing you to tell 10 friends or family to be eligible for a discount and then telling you what you should be drinking and how to drink it. I think I’d seek out a new local.
I find the people I develop lasting contact with via social media are those more interested in conversation and interaction. I naturally recommend their businesses rather than the number-chasers. I don’t mind seeing their promotional tweets and posts because they are balanced by responses, questions and useful and interesting content. They don’t overwhelm me with promotion or cause me to unfollow or remove them from my stream or timeline for some peace and quiet.
With the Olympics approaching, we are facing an onslaught of performance statistics. I can just imagine the television pundits switching from the 800 metres to the Facebook page likes, from the javelin to Twitter follower counts or from the dressage to Google +1s. Could it ever happen?