The Web never sleeps, which makes being an active and engaged social media player practically a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job. It's not enough to maintain your own blog, but you are also expected to be a blog commenter and a Twitter player, participating in conversations and discussions. And while I love blogging, reading others' blogs and tweeting at all hours of the night, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.
As Commencement looms nearer and the end-of-semester crunch is upon me, I've been succumbing to a greater degree of stress lately. This past weekend, I decided to take some social media time off, making a quick little getaway to Maine, sans technology. It was just what I needed, but even when I returned, I felt a sort of unspoken pressure to play catch-up in the blogosphere.
This leads me to discuss my biggest social media pet peeve: its element of superficiality. It seems like everywhere you turn, we bloggers are screaming,
"Look at me! Look at me! Look what I've done."
We're out and about, trying to promote our latest content: blog posts, applications, podcasts. Don't get me wrong - I'm definitely a perpetrator. You can find me and my accomplishments all over the Web - LinkedIn, Del.icio.us, Facebook, Twitter, my blogs, etc. - all aggregated on my Social Media Resume. Heck, wasn't that last sentence exactly representative of the type of shameless self-promotion I'm talking about?
It makes sense. If you spend a great deal of time creating content, wouldn't you want people to read/listen/watch it? Still, while I have no doubt about my self-promotion's help in establishing my personal brand and helping me secure my post-graduation job, I can't help but feel like a bit of a braggart sometimes. This bothers me, because the last way I want people to view me is pretentious.
I completely agree that being an active member of the blogosphere encourages the fundamentals of social media. It's when people take it to the extreme that I get bothered. Twitter should not be a popularity contest - who cares if you have 6,387 followers? And personally, I don't think it makes sense to surf the blogosphere with the goal of commenting on ten people's blogs in a given day. It's one thing if something they say is thought-provoking. It's another if your comments are forced for the sole purpose of getting your name out there. This "popularity contest" I speak of reminds me of middle school-age behavior, which weren't exactly the most mature years for a lot of people.
In a nutshell, I think much of the superficiality I've witnessed in the blogosphere lately completely contradicts the transparent ideals social media champions. I hope it starts to anger bloggers in the same way flogs have, and I hope authenticity prevails.
Stay humble, bloggers!