Is too much social media a bad thing?

I’ve had much discussion lately about social media applications and how to adequately utilize them in order to expand a network. A number of people have said to me that in order to know the best route to take, you really have to subscribe to as many social media portals as possible and utilize them all. While I understand that developing a familiarity with all applications is ideal, is it really feasible? I mean, in order to see if one application is more effective you really have to commit yourself to it, and with the time required to develop real engaging relationships in a social media application is there enough time in the day?

Granted, there are ways to utilize technology to conserve some time while reaching the larger masses such as hellotxt which allows you to send out messages to multiple social media apps such as facebook, myspace, twitter, linkedin, (Even an Asian social network with the lovely name of feecle lol) and many, many more, but isn’t this closer to spamming than developing engagement? I am very torn right now due to my love of playing with new online apps and my need to effectively communicate.

Can we develop real engagement and response with multiple apps? Is it necessary to understand every app on the market? Is this a contest to see who can be found in the most avenues or is this a sad exercise in self gratuitous futility?

Please let me know your thoughts on this. I can be reached by:

email: scott at
LinkedIn: Scott Baird
Facebook: Scott Baird
Myspace: Scott Baird
Twitter: mediapirate
Plurk: mediapirate
hellotxt: mediapirate
Pownce: mediapirate
Jaiku: mediapirate


12 Responses to “Is too much social media a bad thing?”

  1. Here are some comments from twitter:

    xiane_org @mediapirate I think that for me, it seems most reasonable to focus on a few media apps, rather than try to keep up with everything.

    xiane_org @mediapirate I fell into that trap for a while with my biz, but soon realized that I needed to work smarter. Now I’m selective!

  2. You might like this link …

    It talks about social media in freelancing. I didn’t get to read the whole series yet, but the general direction seems to tap into some of your concerns about it all.

  3. Scott – Not being in a technology field for my vocation, I don’t have time to look at many different social media networks. Thus far I’ve limited myself to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. While I do think you’re right in saying it would be ideal to work with them all to see which is the best, I think that is an impossible task because the one that is best today will probably not be the best in six months, or even in 2 weeks so it would be a very difficult task. Using social networks that your clients, collegues, and friends are on seems to be the obvious thing. If they’re all on 20 different things, well I guess good luck, but for me the three I use are currently effective in reaching virtually all of the people I need to.
    I think you posted a tweet not too long ago about joining too many might just become advertising instead of an actual “social” media. Maybe I have that mistaken, but I think it is true nonetheless. Stretching yourself too thin with them all may make you less social, less reachable and more prone to spam and advertise.
    Good luck in this continuing conversation.

  4. Scott – Good question. I find that spreading myself thin works against me. I have dabbled in just about ’em all, but I’ve had to make some decisions on what to focus on. For me it’s in two sections … one is SM that possible clients may be on and the other is SM that peers are on. With wanting to connect or “be social” with those 2 audiences I have chosen one route for each of them. So for now I concentrate on LinkedIn (possible clients) and Twitter (Peers). But of course the next SM outlet may change that.

  5. “I mean, in order to see if one application is more effective you really have to commit yourself to it…”

    yes and no. i signed on to plurk and knew i liked twitter better. could i cultivate my communication in plurk rather than twitter? of course. do i want to? not yet. yes, we all get Shiny Thing Syndrome, and that’s something worth indulging–so go ahead, sign up for stuff, get a feel for it, beta test (i love beta testing, but that’s because i’m a loud mouth). that doesn’t mean you’re committed to it for life.

    for example, i beta’d tripwolf, but i don’t use it–and nothing against them. i simply don’t travel enough for me to create a worthwhile network there. that doesn’t mean i won’t ever. if i begin to travel more, i may rekindle my relationship with that space, should it still be available. i find my networks aggregate where most networks do–ie, places i can find the most people to have conversations with.

    it’s the conversations i care about. if everyone suddenly moved to plurk and dropped twitter, i’d move, even though i find it clunky and visually annoying. so while i may have multiple spaces (anything from threadless to, my emphasis are placed where i have the most conversations (twitter, blogger, ning, facebook, myspace).

  6. Hey Riot,

    Thanks for your response! I think your comment regarding conversation and beta testing hits the nail on the head totally.

    I guess what I meant when I said “in order to see if one application is more effective you really have to commit yourself to it…” is not so much if you “like” it or not but whether it’s actually effective. Is your target audience there? How is the tracking? etc.

    However, you are completely correct. My statement was too open ended. If these social medias are strictly for personal use then the conversation is the most effective element. I had business application in mind and was looking to find out how people could do this in depth research in the course of a standard day and still maintain a life.

  7. […] Finger on the Pulse June 13, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized — emilysposts @ 9:26 pm MediaPirate’s writing about Social Media again (his favorite topic), and this time I especially know what he’s talking about.  I was a […]

  8. Scott-I believe you can be on too many social sites. I really think that you become less social the more social networks you join. Let’s all remember that “media”, as in social media, is just the conduit through which the social message is passed. If you look at it simply, how engaged can you be, how good of a conversation can you have, or how strong of a relationship can you build if you’re talking on five phones at once? The law of diminishing returns applies. If you try to do everything, you can’t do anything well.

  9. I think each tool can be useful depending on your audience and the client you want to utilize it for. At Sterling Cross Communications (, our goal is to find the greatest exposure for our client’s story to reach its intended demographic. That being said, every tool is not the right fit. I agree with Riot, about revisiting a tool when you have need to do so. Some of our clients are a perfect fit for Twitter & Facebook, but would not be well served to be on Plurk & Myspace, and other clients would be the opposite. It is our job as trusted advisors though, to be aware of each of these tools and their potential.


  10. […] To check out all of the previous comments, Arik’s link and my last entry: Is too much social media a bad thing (Part I) click here […]

  11. Comment from Myragan by rodjohns on Jun 20, 2008:

    Social media is evolving faster than we can keep up with new technology. But there’s an interesting trend happening. You may be aware of it. Social media is becoming truly social. What I mean is that people are congregating in smaller groups on the Internet and those groups are the “new” social media. I’m thinking specifically of PROpen Mic and Smaller Indiana — 2 niche networks I belong to that operate on the Ning platform. But what’s truly turning social media social are what is now called meet-ups. That where members of a social network leave their computers at home for a event where they — oh my gosh, actually meet their fellow members in flesh and blood. I’ve also read in the blogosphere that belonging to more than 4 social networks is over kill. But, at this point, we have to define social networks and different from social media. For example, I don’t visit Blog Catalog, but its a social media tool I use to promote my blog. On the other hand, I’m fairly active in MyRagan, a social network where real connections with people are nurtured more than in other social media apps.

  12. From Plurk:

    * radianation says
    Yes. It’s almost ridiculous anymore. The good concepts will survive.

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