When Does Social Media Breakdown And Fail?

Ashton Kutcher greets 2nd Security Forces Squa...
Image via Wikipedia

The hype of Twitter and the excitement that has been created because of the race to a million followers on Twitter between Aston Kutcher and CNN has gotten me thinking about the nature of social media and when it breaks down.

From the Wikipedia entry about social media, the following is stated:

Primarily, social media depend on interactions between people as the discussion and integration of words to build shared-meaning, using technology as a conduit.

So based on this statement from Wikipedia, social media depends on interactions between people.  Is it really possible to interact with 1,000,000 people?  That’s a question that maybe Ashton Kutcher could answer.

I’ll share a personal example to demonstrate my point.

I was following Jimmy Fallon on Twitter for a short time.  At the time he had over 400,000 followers, he now has over 600,000 followers.  He tweeted about signing a petition about bringing the cast of Saved by the Bell back together for a reunion.  I loved that show as a teen and wanted to sign the petition, but was unable to because I’m Canadian.  I sent him a tweet mentioning that fact and never heard from him.

So is shooting for 1,000,000 followers (or any number) a positive use of Twitter or is gimmicky and will ultimately lead to the fall of Twitter?  When I see the celebrities that have hundreds of thousands of followers and are themselves following under 100, I wonder if its social media at its best or a blatant example of narcissism?

I don’t want this post to come off as anti-Twitter.  I am in fact very strong supporter of Twitter.  I just feel that focusing on reaching a goal of followers and not the message or relationships is an incorrect use of the technology and may change the use and focus of Twitter and invite even more spammers.

What are your thoughts on the recent Twitter contest between Ashton Kutcher and CNN?  Do you think it has ‘cheapened’ the platfrom?  Please share your thoughts.

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  • http://mattherzberger.com Matt Herzberger

    Mike I agree 100% it is becoming saturated with celebs, sales people, etc etc to where I enjoy it much less than I did in the past. I wish we could go to like 2 years ago when no one was on it. It was great, all thinkers rather than followers.

  • Orla

    I would just klike to be able to navigate through it all. It’s become so overpopulated with garbage that the socialability of it has almost become extinct.

  • Pingback: I Don’t Want 50,000 Twitter Followers | Mike McCready()

  • http://twitter.com/bar2cci Andrew Bartucci

    Well stated. Too many celebrities simply use this platform as a means to justify their popularity and influence. This is not ‘social’ at all; instead, it is just another form of broadcast media.

    Nice post, Mike.

  • @shouldice

    Like you said Mike, if they’re not interacting with their followers what does it matter if they have 1 or 1 million. Kutcher and CNN all ready don’t interact with me and I don’t even follow them

  • http://doteduguru.com Kyle James

    I basically don’t follow people unless I know them anymore.  There is just too much noise to try to keep up with otherwise.

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    Kyle, I’m glad you still follow me.  I know we only met one time years ago.  But I still often refer to posts on .eduGuru.  I still value the connections I made – even if they were years ago. 

  • http://doteduguru.com Kyle James

    Hey Mike, yes it’s true we meet like three years ago at a single Stamats conference.  I’m sure you understand this, but it’s one of those things where you really get to know someone and that relationship has continued.  Although we might not talk all the time you are someone I respect and trust and that means everything.  

    You know what I mean.  That is the value of social media.  At some point we’ll meet again in person and it will be totally cool with lots of catching up to do!