16 November 2009

Are you tweeting for the right reasons?

Twitter and other social media sites have previously demonstrated value in terms of breaking news and raising public awareness of certain stories.

But the BristolEditor blog has raised a different argument, questioning whether people are jumping onto social media because they have something of genuine contribution to make or because they feel they should.

“When was the last time you contributed something useful, valid and valued to the stream of social media editorial?” asks the blog. “Is it all second-hand news, no real voice, nothing authentic or genuine?”

It also draws on Sarah Hartley’s experiences, detailed in her own blog, of a possible North-South divide in the uptake of social media based on Hartley’s interactions with bloggers, tweeters and other media users.

In London at the #1pound40 "unconference", Hartley writes how she found everyone was saying the same thing: “speaking the social media speak. The digerati in full flow – agreeing with one another.”

This left Hartley feeling that she had contributed and learnt nothing new to the debate on social media.

However, at the Leeds Social Media Surgery, where NGOs and charities had the chance to see how they could use Social Media sites, they engaged with the ideas, questioned why they would take part in social media and considering them as what they were intended to be – tools to be used as part of a wider aim.

The BristolEditor says how it’s seen lots of media and marketing types observing, re-tweeting, idea-stealing and copying the work of others online and across various social media platforms.

“Yes, the old ‘nothing is original’ argument is true to a point,” it says “but the copiers and plagiarisers still appear on social media spaces too.”

Social media, it reminds us, is about what you put in, not take out.

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