The Sysomos blog has a post claiming that 2011 is the year that Social Media gets boring. At the heart of the argument is the fact that eventually the flashy, shiny new image of the thing will wear off and people will want a new toy.
By that, I mean the novelty will start to wear off as social media becomes a more engrained part of how we communicate, market and sell. Rather than being shiny, new and fascinating, social media will just be.
Social Media is still growing but I agree that its novelty has peaked. It didnt kill all the blogs or destroy old media. To those who find the tool useful it will survive to those who don’t it will eventually be abandoned along with so many other projects intended to change the world.
Despite this peaking of social media many government offices and municipalities are rushing in to the great communications hope. In social media they see a way of invigorating citizen communication but there is a problem – what does my municipality have to tweet that I want to read?
Recently I got an email informing me that the municipality of Uppsala is following me on twitter. It isn’t my first municipality or government but I can’t help but feeling a bit paranoid – the whole municipality is following me? Talk about pressure – what can I say that the municipality would like to hear? On the lighter side of social media and governments I am waiting to receive an email that the secret police are now following me on twitter. It’s not paranoia – it’s technology.
There are many interesting projects dealing with the uses of social media in local government and the tools can play an important role but they require work. Opening up a channel of communication requires an organization around the tool – to read and reply to messages, to handle questions that come up and at the same time ensure that the established norms of integrity and professionalism are maintained even in this new toy. Unfortunately many organizations see social media as a free toy that will require little effort but provide great publicity. These hopeful people need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
The coming boredom of social media is a good thing. It will enable us to see beyond the hype and get on with the work of organization.