Is This the end of Social Media?

Empty bookshelf - Not a good plethora for social mediaLooking into the development in social media lately, I see a tendency of over use of social media.

In my opinion, social media today are heavily abused, either for personal or for commercial uses. Here’s my perspectives.

Too many irresponsible bloggers

Gartner, US-based research firm, reports that, although 200 million blogs are out on the Net in 2007, only about 100 million blogs are updated regularly. To me, this means:

  • Because most blogging services are free, people tend to build as they like and abandon as they like
  • People use their blog to promote affiliate marketing programs – They use a strategy called “build it, forget it, and wait for someone trip on the blog and buy something”
  • People use their blog to promote their business – Nothing wrong with this, but blogs ARE supposed to be updated regularly, don’t you think?

Please notice, the key word here is FREE. I bet more people wouldn’t abandon their blog if it is not free! Not trying to point fingers (hey, I’ve done this, too!), but having a blog with several posts, even I saw a lot of blogs with one post only, and then abandon it for the next 6 months, even forever, doesn’t make someone worthy to be called a ‘blogger’.

Blogs are over monetized

Making money online. I’d love to do so, too – it’s every internet marketer’s dream to make money online. However, blogs are TOO monetized that ads and affiliate links overtake the real content of the blog – even it’s common practice to build keyword rich blog for the sole purpose of making money through ads and affiliate links.

Nothing wrong with this – ethically, but this makes social media a bit stale, don’t you think? Contents are generic, words are awkwardly formed, paragraphs are lifeless – mostly for the sake of search engine optimisation (SEO). I mean, what do those good for visitors?

Expert Internet marketers make sales page a high quality, and they deserve the credit and the money they earn. However, not all bloggers are Internet marketers – Great content requires creativity, great skills and considerable experience to write; Most don’t have this – neither do I, but I keep learning :)

Blog flipping – not always a good thing

Then, there’s blog flipping – that is, buying someone’s blog and then sell it right away for a margin of profit. Nothing personal, it’s just business. However, to me, this is unfair to the readers.

Quality is definitely affected. Surely, blog content’s quality is not a major concern for a blog flipper – otherwise, he/she will build the blog well, even though he/she plans to sell it in the future. This flipping thing hurts social media.

Selling a blog, in my opinion, is not always a blog flipping. I follow some cases of blogs’ change of ownership. The last one, I follow Yaro Starak‘s highly-buzzed sales of one of his blog, Small Business Branding to Vera Raposo. This is an great example of blog change of ownership – Both parties, Yaro and Vera, are passionate about blogging, and the changes are really positively affect the blog’s readers.

Social bookmarkers are abused badly

You and I are doing these things – fave your own posts, stumble upon your own articles, fave each other blogs, digg each other blogs, vote for my blog and I will vote for you,too, etc. Again, nothing wrong with those activities – although some activities against the social bookmarkers’ term of service. Actually, there’s generally no right or wrong on the Net – it’s ‘only’ ethical or unethical.

StumbleUpon, Digg, Technorati, Furl, etc. are of the most sought after social bookmarkers. I’m using them to bookmark and press release my important posts – but, too often, I use them simply to get traffic of visitor to my blogs. I realise that it is unethical and a wrong reason to use bookmarking services.

I decided to change my mindset off how to increase blog traffic generically, and create useful content, instead.

Sadly, wikis lack funding

A wiki, refering to a site which allow users to collectively add and edit the content (which usually is in similar fashion to encyclopedias), are one of the backbones of social media. Unfortunately, while other are racing to monetize sites – and successful, wikis – particularly good ones like Wikipedia, need a lot of resources to maintain.

The end of social media?

Well, it’s obvious that the answer is no – the social media is here to stay! It’s a trend, a need, and a lifestyle. However, more and more people and entities abusing the social media for personal gain. This is the grayest area of all on the Net – it’s not a right or wrong issue, but an ethical or unethical one. The Net really needs a few good men out there!

Fortunately, more and more socially responsible – literally and figuratively – bloggers are also emerging. Blogging networks, such as 9rules, are encouraging bloggers (authors) to provide high quality, original contents.

All in all, I don’t oppose commercialisation or monetization of blogs or other social media. However, I’d like to see more sincerity and ethic in social media.

I want to be a part of a group of independent, ethical bloggers. How about you?

Ivan Widjaya
Being an ethical bloggers

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