Has Social Media Gone Too Far and Will It Decline?

As social media perpetuates through the enterprise the question becomes “Has social media become too social?” The use of social media is now fairly common in enterprises that allow and encourage social media as either part of their online or customer service strategy.  But have people gone overboard at work to detract from tasks and actual job responsibilities?
Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Buzz, LinkedIn, Quora and others serve their purpose.  Is social media really necessary for people to let everyone know what they are doing at every moment of the day and how annoying has it become?  By updating your plans on Twitter or Facebook for the day, telling me what you had for breakfast, what you will have for lunch.  It has come to the point where thieves are using these social media sites to find their next targets as people report or check in as to what they are doing. It is of no consequence to anyone outside of your circle of friends that you are going to see a movie tonight but thanks for giving unscrupulous characters free access to let people know you are not home.  Isn’t that why you used to ask your neighbor to watch your place when you are away? Does it bring me value as another business or user to know you are at the Starbucks or Walmart or when speaking to an influential person or organization, does it value the other users of the group?  
As a business user of these social networks we are involved in a group of users with common interests, to engage with like-minded individuals, to connect, to gain knowledge and ultimately raise our company profile to increase revenues. Social media groups and crowdsourcing have their place in areas such as customer support, support groups, feedback and reviews, research etc.  From a business point of view it makes not much matter to other businesses within the group to share things that will not affect them or their business. If the outcome of who you were speaking to is interesting that can be worth sharing or something interesting or valuable that can inform a business of some type of value, food for thought or an interesting piece of information, new product information which may help in running their business are of value. How to articles are of value, guides, whitepapers, some video and podcasts with specific content, articles that enlighten, new trends and strategies that can be detrimental on how you plan your own business strategy; while interests that the group have in common are great pieces to share and add value to the conversation.  Aren’t some of the goals of social media to enhance business effectiveness, investigate new ideas and explore new life experiences?
On the plus side, twitter has also been used to break stories, give real-time updates and even save people from disaster.  Does this benefit outweigh the negatives?  I guess the decision falls to you as to appetite for consumption of weighing the good and the bad and where to draw the line.   In the case where the young lady was actually killed by a stalker due to the access he gained through a social network because of the extent of the profile and not managing your online identity was definitely a case where this went too far.  Does social media interaction also make participants more prone to identity theft ?  These are all questions that will surely be answered as this medium ages.  On that point, will social media interaction decline if there is too much risk and it loses it effectiveness if too much “noise” is generated and when will people start to tune this out ? When will it plateau and start to decrease, how many profiles are you currently managing, is there an easy way to do so are all questions that social media technology have created, are some sites more popular than others, how much information can you consume are all questions that each user should individually answer to determine their social technology appetite.
Is this social behavior part of the evolution of social networking ?  As more sites evolve and come into existence new applications will surely develop and surely evolve new types of interaction which may cause social media to reinvent itself yet again.  What makes a social network “current” as shown by the decline of MySpace or was that the flavor of the month for social networks too ?
As can be seen, this space has seen a rapid rise to popularity and is evolving everyday.  When considering the marketing plans for your business be sure to think about the image you or your company would like to portray and build your brand accordingly.  As all businesses may not fit the traditional types of social media.  ERP and software vendors both in-house and cloud have taken notice with the release of Chatterbox, Streamworks and the like.   The pressure of social media has also caused ERP vendors to incorporate some aspect of social technology into their software.  Also, there have been few examples where social media was used successfully as a B2B medium that increased sales.   If you have used social media with success for B2B we would like to hear from you as most social media stories are B2C related. 
About Eval-Source
Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides all enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain, and technology strategy consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software. Eval‐Source is an industry leader in the analysis of software technology and our thought leadership has placed us in the elite of consulting/analyst firms. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems. Eval‐Source provides the professional services that put your needs first and allows you to achieve success in your IT initiatives. We are the source for “getting it right” in IT procurement.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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