Is Social Media Giving You Everything You Need

My wife and I always seem to have the same discussion about me and one of my particular eating habits. She says that I don’t always have a filter for portion control. When I’m hungry or thirsty, my mind doesn’t quite see that maybe “this much” is all I need to get rid of either of those things. At least not all the time.

um, chocolate milk!

Thus, sometimes my mind will say “I can eat that entire pizza” when logically I know I can’t. It’ll say “you need to heat up 20 chicken nuggets” when I know I can only eat 13. And yet, every once in awhile I hear her words jumping into my mind saying “that’s going to be too much, restrain yourself, which explains this picture of chocolate milk that I made in a 32oz cup, bypassing the 48oz cup I initially grabbed; yeah, that would have come close to taking the entire carton of milk. lol

I know what you’re wondering; what’s that got to do with the topic above. The thing about social media is that most of us can define it based on what we think it is and what we think it should do for us. Most of us believe it’s supposed to be everything we want it to be, no matter what the limitations or realities might be.

I’ll own up to it; I’m one of those people. I have my own idea of what social media is supposed to be, and I want it to be that thing, and yet it’s not that thing. Let me explain.

I enjoy much of social media, but I find it lacking. I love Twitter, which you’ve heard me mention before. I’ve enjoyed Facebook, and I keep trying to make Google+ work for me the way I want it to work. LinkedIn, well, I can’t say I’ve ever gotten any business from my participation there, even though that’s what it’s supposed to help us with, connecting with those people who may be able to use our services.

What is it I want from social media? Truthfully, when all is said and done I want more engagement, and I want it more immediately. As an experiment, last night I decided to try an experiment. I announced around 8:30 that I was going to hold a Google Hangout at 9PM and that anyone who wanted to come was welcome, as I could take the first 8 people who asked to participate. I posted it on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

I wasn’t expecting much, and for the first 10 minutes that’s exactly what I got. No one came; not even a hint. So I decided to invite some people, and invited 8 of them. Two people popped in surprisingly, and two others acknowledged it on G+ but neither could come. The two who showed up were Michael Belk and Beverly Mahone. Shocking to me was that both of them showed up via their smartphones, both then tried to get on through their laptops and failed, and Michael came back to the phone, while I never could get Bev back on. I thank both of them, and Michael and I had a good conversation for awhile after he got back on.

I know some people would say that I should have put that message out way in advance but I had to try an experiment first. Here’s my take on it all. If there are a billion people on Facebook, 500 million on Google Plus, and 300 million or so on Twitter, and all of these sites have people on them 24/7, and 9PM Eastern time is only 6PM out west, I should be able to post something 30 minutes before its time and have some people show up. Of course, I don’t have that many people following me so let’s look at it this way. If I have almost 700 people following me on both Google Plus and Facebook and another 3,000+ on Twitter, that’s almost 4,500 people, and if that’s the case I should still be able to get at least 3 or 4 to show up, wouldn’t you think?

Yum… lol

That’s what I thought. As Michael and I were talking, he said that the problem with social media is that it’s not really social. On Google Plus most people seem to be interested more in promoting themselves than in talking to anyone. For the most part the same is true of Twitter. On Facebook, people love playing games and sharing images, and you might be able to get a conversation going that takes place over a number of hours, but for anything immediate you have to use that chat function, and most of us don’t like that.

Isn’t that thought provoking? Social media not really being social? Goodness, for most people it’s not even a great way to market, no matter what we try, and when I think about it, most of the people on Twitter are marketing more than communicating, and I have to share in that one, although I only post my links twice a day at most. I try engaging people when I share some of their links & quotes and occasionally talk to people, but not all that often, and that’s my favorite platform.

Is social media giving me everything I need? Not even close. But what about you? Are you getting everything you could possibly want out of it? I’m not talking marketing wise now, so don’t answer that question. And I’m not talking blogging either, since I consider that part of social media, though more indirectly. How do you view what you get out of social media now? Is it enough, or is there something else you wish you were getting?

Oh yeah; that other picture is of… well, you know what it’s a picture of. I ate all of that as well, in one day but not in one sitting. My wife is right; sometimes I just want too much. 🙂

42 thoughts on “Is Social Media Giving You Everything You Need”

  1. Mitch, I find the most connections and interactions via Twitter. Too many people I know on Facebook are “watchers” – they watch and never like or comment. Why be there, right? And those that interact with me there are bloggers and a few family members. That’s it.
    Google Plus I don’t spend enough time there, I’m too many places but when I do I get some engagement at times. I learn a lot there from techies.
    But Twitter is my favorite place to have conversations and Twitter chats. I have a morning crew I always chat with in the a.m. If I’m not on (sick) I get inquires.
    I wish more people I knew on Facebook would get over to twitter but they don’t want to. They don’t know what they are missing.
    So short answer – I’m not getting everything out of it. It’s time consuming too.
    Reese Pieces, hard to resist Mitch!

    1. Lisa, those weren’t pieces; they’re actual peanut butter cups but small ones that aren’t wrapped, so all you have to do is stick your hand in, grab a bunch, and eat. Yum! Too rich to eat too many at once though.

      Twitter is a lot of fun, that’s for sure. But it seems I’m not alone in not getting everything out of social media as well. We have to get you more involved on G+ so we can do a hangout. Matter of fact, I’d love to start doing interviews with people on that platform so they’ll automatically upload, but I have to get enough people interested to getting it done.

  2. Mitch, those Reese’s Pieces were funny. As I mentioned social media is not what meeting the intent, which is to be social.

    Many people are missing out on a golden opportunity. Just like the example I gave last night. Do not try to sell me a radio before you even know if I like music.

    Get to know people a little because it will be more beneficial in the long run. Think about it, would you support someone you have seen/got to know or would you mail order a product from a stranger.

    Great post Mitch. The hangout was so much fun and it showed me what I need to do to get ready for the next one.

    1. Michael, it was fun and I’m glad you were there to help out with the experiment. You’re right, social media isn’t as social as one would have hoped it might be. I remember the old days of chat rooms where you might be talking to 30 people at once. That was social but it burned out really fast because that type of thing was also very exhausting.

      I think that if we can get people to recognize how social media can benefit them by interacting with others on a more personal level that they’ll see how it can benefit them in business as well. As you said, who wants to buy anything from someone they don’t know at all?

  3. I have a fairly small response from the things I do on social media. I think with Twitter most people are probably like me–I tweet frequently and occasionally retweet, but I’m rarely actually on Twitter on checking out what people are saying. Really now, who has that much time on their hands. Same with FaceBook.

    I do get visitors to my sites every once in a while from those efforts and the retweets by others, but not all that many. My best results come from LinkedIn, but I think I’m probably dealing with that in a whole different way than you are and with a different group of people who are more interactive in my realm of writing interests.

    For me I’m still experimenting, but I don’t know that any of it is coming together like I would want it to.

    1. Good stuff Arlee. I get visitors from some of what I do on social media but often that’s not enough. Visitors don’t always equate to people who comment, and it doesn’t equate with making true connections with people who might talk to you later in other venues either. I respond to everyone who contacts me on Twitter or Facebook unless you’re a troll or are trying to sell me something and we haven’t talked yet. Goodness, I’m more sociable online than I come close to being offline. At least I’m trying. 🙂

  4. I agree that social media is not social enough. Oh, it used to be – ironically, when we all paid for it and the marketers stayed away. Then the marketers moved in, we all want everything for free, but it’s not as much fun and we try to find engaging places where we’re not bombarded by ads constantly. Unless we’re marketers, in which case it’s like a big game of hide and seek…

    But seriously, my experience is just about the OPPOSITE of Lisa’s – most of my family and friends are on Facebook (I don’t think I could get off or take a break if my life depended on it, at this point – for me, it’s the most genuinely social place on the Internet). Most of my friends don’t even have Twitter accounts, have no intention of starting one, don’t “get” Twitter, and wonder if it isn’t ALL a huge waste of time. ME? I like both, and I’m always up for trying new things. Over time, what I notice is that a lot of initially “cool” new things are imminently forgettable, by just about everyone. Facebook and Twitter have sticking power, largely because they work, they got into the game early enough to have real traction and momentum, and so long as there are no major speedbumps (OMG, please not another “Timeline” style overhaul on FB!! We’re all such creatures of habit!) there’s really not much incentive for anyone to venture outside their comfort zone to discover and build new spaces. It’s like the comfy neighborhood dive; you may hate the cockroaches, but all your friends are already there, the staff knows your name, and it’s right across the street from home.

    1. Holly, most of the family members on one side of my family are on Facebook, but I’ve yet to find even one from the other side of the family there. None of them are on Twitter and only one of them is on G+. Yet, even with all of them on FB we don’t really talk to each other all that much, just share pictures and memories and that’s about it.

      If I wanted to talk to someone specific I could see that I need to plan ahead to set a time to do it. However, shouldn’t we all have a place like in the old days with chat rooms where we can go and talk to whomever happens to be around, and in this day and age seeing each other? I see the chat feature on FB as more intrusive because you’re going along doing something else when that sucker just pops up; that freaked me out the first time it happened, thus I turned it off immediately. lol

  5. So happy to have found you. I came over after searching for answers about insult spam. My blog gets a ton of it. That and spam with author quotes and odd vocabulary. I’ve been curious about how it is generated and would lever to hear your take. I sometimes keep some because it fascinates me. One blogger I saw got wizard spam. As a geek, I was totally jealous.
    As for social media, I’ve been musing its usefulness as well. Besides the obvious marketing, I want interaction and cross pollination of ideas. Most people read their biases, a few only because they are never exposed to the other side of whatever. I’ve only had limited success.
    FB was great for interaction, especially when we lived overseas. I couldn’t have kept up with friends and family so well without it. But we are home now and keeping up with overseas friends is best done with visits and longer interactions like Skype and email. Also, FB is slowing down. Twitter on the other hand, well like you, I just like it. I don’t get near as much interaction as I’d like, and the 140 characters makes it hard to say much of substance but I’ve made some friends though, gals in places like Minnesota or Australia (I’m in Texas) who have similar interests. If we want to say more then we switch to email. Then, for big events like Super Bowls or Presidential Debates twitter is a blast. Twitter depends on how much you interact, however. RT is great, but reply is essential, and frankly more fun.
    Very pleased to read you, sir.

    1. Hi Leslie; welcome to the blog!

      I’ve never heard of insult spam, unless you mean that stuff that shows up disagreeing with you and agreeing with you at the same time. All that stuff is automatically going to my spam filter or being totally blocked because of a plugin called Growmap Anti-Spambot. If you have a WordPress blog check it out.

      I thank you for sharing your stories about how social media is and isn’t working for you. You’re right, when something live is going on Twitter is the best. I didn’t watch the debates; I watched Twitter and enjoyed it much better. I didn’t really include Skype as social media because I see it more as a separate tool, but I’ve found that even there, if I decide to show myself as available for chat, rarely does anyone say anything, though to be fair I don’t say anything most of the time because I don’t want to intrude on people either. Hey, that might be another blog post! lol

      1. Thanks for the spambot suggestion. I need it.
        You wrote a post on insult spam a couple of years ago. That’s how I ended up here. Since you have tight filters, maybe you haven’t seen the innovations. Some ask for help with RSS feed or following comment threads.

  6. I am horrible at social media. I guess it’s me though. I am not truly enjoying it myself, so it’s hard for me to fake it.

    I was surprised by Pinterest though. For a long time I didn’t want to join, because I don’t want to waste time on something that doesn’t work. I finally did with my women-focused site and I was surprised to receive some traffic from there with absolutely no efforts and no followers. My site is more content-based, but I do include pretty images with every post. They seem to be interested enough to click though and have a look at my site.

    I am planning sweepstakes (for the first time!) and I hope Facebook will play a big role in it. I just need to GET it, because I am tired of being dependent on Google.

    1. Good luck to you on your sweepstakes Elena. I thought about Pinterest this summer & decided not to go that route. I’m really glad because I’ve enjoyed Instagram so much more. And trust me, you’re not bad at social media; it’s just not giving you what you need.

  7. Hello Mitch!

    How do I feel about Social Media right now? Sometimes I wish that Social Media just meant the newspapers at the local coffee shop 🙂 I go to Coffee shops now and everyone is entranced on their iPhones or iPads. Drives me crazy.

    I think that the Google Hangout feature is pretty innovative. Google plus is going to improve over time, and I am convinced that it is going to be much more important moving forward than Facebook and possibly even Twitter.

    1. Hey Sam, I know what you mean about seeing everyone engaged on their technology, and yet some of those folks are actually reading the news; I know I sometimes am. I think it’s a great innovation for when we’re by ourselves, but I also think some folks have forgotten how to interact with the person they’re with and that’s a shame.

      I think G+ will increase in importance as well but it’ll never match Twitter for immediacy. The differences is the 140 characters and the ability to instantly reach thousands, whereas people go to G+ whenever they wish and have to wade through lots of content sometimes just to see what’s new. Maybe Facebook at some point, but it’ll be a long way down the road if it does happen.

      1. “I also think some folks have forgotten how to interact with the person they’re with and that’s a shame. ” Exactly. A few weeks ago I pulled back from FB because I realized that those were the people I needed to meet for dinner or coffee or needed to keep in touch by longer personal email. Social media is great for a little networking, but once you make the connection, then the old fashioned skills–even if it is just a letter email for someone too remote for a meet–are needed.
        I feel like the old lady who responds to the young whiooersnapper’s enthusiasm that this new thing will “change everything “with a curt comment about how the old rules will always find a way to stick around.

      2. LOL! Leslie, I have my moments when I’m not in the mood to be on Facebook and I just don’t go. I do that for all of them actually, including Twitter. However, I do recognize that each social media platform I’m on will give me different people to talk to and that holds true. Still, I wish there were those places where one could talk to others with more immediacy when needed.

  8. I drew this conclusion long back Mitch, social media was not being social. The entire concept of social networking has changed today, for most people it is just a means to promote themselves like you said, while the handful who even today use it for networking don’t have many people to talk to.

    1. Interesting thought James. I often think that about social media as well, even with blogs, where lots of people will write comments just passing by to add links to things that are for promotion purposes without really caring much about the content. I do consider blogs a major part of social media, as blog posts are what’s shared on Twitter more than anything else. Still, without the ability to do some kind of marketing, many people wouldn’t even participate; now that would make things really interesting.

  9. Is social media giving me everything I need?
    Well, it doesn’t deliver always what i expect from it. For example i can connect much better on Facebook, as i can read a bit the people i’m talking with (judging by the photos they shared) so i know what kind of approach to take with them. So i’m using Facebook whenever i want to expand my circles.
    As far as Twitter concern, i had better results on the short term but i couldn’t make it to last more than few hours.

    1. Radu, Twitter’s always been an interesting animal. What I’ve found is that it also depends on how one accesses Twitter as to whether they enjoy it or not. I’m now dealing with having to move to the new TweetDeck instead of the version I’ve used for a couple of years and I’m finding it slightly disconcerting. I still like it but I’m not used to it yet. And I hear there are some more changes coming to Facebook, but no idea what they are just yet.

  10. Social media may or may not give everything we expect it to give us because yes the results are always fluctuating according to me. For example, when we make a profit using social media, that does not always meet up our expectations. We expect more, we get less, we expect less, we get more than enough.

    1. Interesting thought Andru. Your results are centered around money and profit I assume, which can be dicey via social media these days. Are you interactive with your community?

  11. Mitch,
    I have to say social media has been very good for me and I believe it’s because I am constantly engaging with others. I post a daily question on my FB page and always get 30 to 60 responses. On Twitter, I acknowledge folks to let them know I see them in my stream and am delighted they’re there. People like you on Twitter make it really easy to be engaging because you have a real conversation.

    Part of the problem as I see it is we are connected to all of these “virtual” friends—many or MOST we have never met but we’re connected because they may be connected to someone we know and then we expect that they will become our new BFF’s or at least communicate with us semi-regularly. Every couple of months, I go through and disconnect from folks if we haven’t had any type of dialogue.

    1. Bev, I kind of do the same thing. I’m notorious for eliminating people on Google Plus who haven’t posted anything in at least 3 months and I do the same type of thing on Twitter. Facebook… way too much time to check all those folks out.

      See now, you just pointed something out that’s surreptitiously highlights one of my issues. You mentioned how you ask a question a day on Facebook. You and I are connected there, yet I might see your question once every 2 to 3 weeks. Facebook limits what people see from their friends, and you have to go through extraordinary efforts to make sure you see everything you’ve signed up for. So, you’re getting 30 to 60 responses, but how many more could you be getting if Facebook allowed people to subscribe to your content and actually get it all?

  12. There are another couple of angles to this, Mitch. One is time zones and the other is the date, in other words what is happening in most people’s lives that they’re getting on with instead of engaging with you.

    I’m at a complete disadvantage with most social media I use because the people with whom I connect best are Americans and of course as a Brit in the UK, my time zone is completely different. And Brits just aren’t as friendly or forthcoming so even if I were to target them, it wouldn’t work (and doesn’t work, as I’ve tried it). So unless I stay up really late, which is a habit I’m trying to stop, and then catch the majority of people when they’re coming home from work or taking a break in the middle of the day, or whatever, then there is pretty much nothing there.

    And at the end of the week and through the weekend people are doing stuff with their families, so that’s pretty much a no-go anyway.

    As for what I want to get out of social media… well, here’s an example. Last night on my Facebook page I put out a request for people to post links to their favourite art and music, and yeah I had a few responses, but really nothing much. Then I mentioned it on Twitter, and again it didn’t get me much (despite hashtags). I just want to engage people – get them interested, get them talking, whatever. But it doesn’t happen. And yes, maybe my expectations are also too high.

    1. Val, Facebook cheats us out of seeing a lot of things people we’re connected to puts up although, to be truthful, sometimes there’s so much going on that it’s hard to keep up with it all. As for time zones, stats have said that the Eastern time zone is responsible for around 65% of all traffic in the U.S., and that’s my zone, so the odds should be greater for me. Still, it was a Friday night and just because I’m an old fogie who doesn’t get out on Friday nights anymore doesn’t mean everyone else is sitting home as well. lol

  13. Nothing is perfect, and social media can’t give you everything you need and want. Great article, worth sharing. I think we should just have an open mind to what social media and online marketing can offer us, and make those little weaknesses our strengths by working them out to be the best.

    1. It’s an interesting thought Arianne. Truthfully, we don’t pay for any of it so we don’t have the right to expect it. Yet, if I did have the right for a wish that would be mine.

  14. It’s never the reaction that I give after feedback that is a problem for me. I can receive feedback well, and I always appreciate things that can help me improve on the whole. What I need to get better at, however, is my feelings to it long after the feedback occurred, such as feeling down in the dumps for the next day or two. I think I really need to work on this. Thanks Mitch, for sharing this post!

    1. Alex, that’s the problem with being criticized. If we’re not prepared for it there’s almost nothing positive we can take from it, at least not at that moment. I belong to a writer’s critique group, and every person comes in knowing that they’re going to get critiqued because it’s our purpose. Some folks don’t write well, some don’t spell or type well, and some don’t quite understand the definition of the words they might use. But we all go to get better and to see how other people react to what we write (fiction of course; I’m horrible at fiction lol). But I’m not looking for that all the time; how depressing my life would be having to worry that someone might not like what I’m doing or have to say every minute of my day. Let me ask for it before it’s offered; wouldn’t that be nice?

      By the way Alex, you put this response on the wrong post, as this one was about social media instead of the one on criticism. lol

  15. You really pinned up a thought that has been wandering in my head for the longest time. You’re really an awesome writer Mitch. And might I say, your analogy on Reese’s Pieces is just very becoming. Excellent share.

    1. Vianney, everyone keeps saying Reese’s Pieces and that’s not what those are. lol And it would be interesting to know what you think you’re missing from social media.

  16. I like your post as you have written it so nicely and transparently.
    Social media websites, as I think, are doing well to help people meeting and living in contact worldwide. My classmates were left in Rajasthan, a state of India when I shifted to another state Punjab, after my post graduation around 23 years ago. A couple of days ago I opened my facebook account as usual and made a search of them one by one by their names. It showed other ones, however I read carefully and found one there and contacted him and now we could chat over the net and i have found my friend as well as classmate forever. I think social network sites are also helping us to share our happiness, sorrow, views, information, up and downs etc positively to be happy and healthy. I think these are helping people to reduce their tension also, however I do not like to addict to social networking sites. I visit them generally two times during a week. Many people around the globe are using them for their business, trade, services etc via marking or advertising or users feedback.

    1. Devinder, social media sites can definitely be friendly and help us do things we couldn’t do before. I never put them down for that; I enjoy social media overall. I just find it lacking in many ways for how I wish it could work. Is there anything about it you don’t like?

  17. Mitch,

    As you know, I’ve all but abandoned Twitter. Social, as a term, has always meant something different to me – once I “got it.” At first, I took it to mean social as in pool party. After reading what Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, had to say about social, I realized that it explained the inevitable influx of marketers.

    So, what did Mr. Williams say?

    “People are obsessed with social but it’s not really “social”. It’s making better decisions because of decisions of other people. It’s algorithms based on other people to help direct your attention another way.”

    If you check out this comment I left on your blog back in September, I repeated this quote. that’s how strongly I feel about it.

    Right now, I’ve put all social media on the back burner, including my own blog. Yet, I’m getting more mileage out of my blog than ever before. I know you didn’t want to hear about marketing, but you asked is social media giving me everything I want. The answer to that is yes. Simply because all I want is a way for my prospect to reach my portfolio, so I can close more deals on and other freelance sites.



    1. Now that’s an interesting take on things Mitch, the anti-social media guy getting the biggest bang from it. lol At the same time, it still proves that social media isn’t really social when you can basically remove yourself from it and still have it working for you. I doubt many people could say that 🙂

  18. Hi Mitch,
    Sincerely I can’t remember ever coming to this blog but I’m happy I here today.

    This is fully a thought provoking topic. We thought we could get that much from social media but it turns to be the other way. I think one of the reasons we don’t get the expected result is that people are suffering from information overload online. Everything seems to happen so fast and crowded leaving us with no time to decide.

    At any given moment, how many of our followers are online actually beholding their timelines? Maybe out of the 1000s, often, no one is there. Or out of the 1000s, 90% are bots. That’s incredible.

    I think the idea of targeted followers completely defeats the social character of social networks. It makes is more of ‘business’ than ‘social’. Well, maybe ‘social’ is ‘business’ If that’s the case, then no one will care if the invitation to hangout does not suggest any business benefits.

    Very interesting topic!

    1. Hi Enstine,

      Welcome to the blog. I like how you think and you put forth something I’ve often thought. Just how many “real” people are out there in social media anyway? There’s lots of comments I delete with fake names and fake email addresses. I get followed on Twitter often by “people” without names and images I know don’t belong to them. Even on Facebook, once they added the “other” category to messaging, I’ve suddenly started getting messages from “people” with stupid names and accounts with almost no history and other people actually following them. It’s just amazing.

      And there is a lot of information as well. I accumulate tons of information but every once in awhile I have to remove myself from it for some hours and think about going to do something else, and I know I’m not alone. Just recently one of my online friends deleted her Facebook account because she said it was just getting overwhelming and time consuming; I actually understand that also.

      Still, I know what I’d really like out of social media; too bad I know I’m never getting it. Great comment!

  19. Well i guess social media is not making us socially active and connected but yes it is making our generation more disconnected in practical social environment.

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