Gadgets and apps
How I love playing with thee
I want to break away from my desktop
But my mobile desires can’t keep up
The fight for APIs
Oh developers, hurry up!
However, did you question how that content got to you in the first place? When I look at content, I ask myself, “Is this content genuine and accurate? Or is it SEO and linkbait popularity that delivered me this content? Linkbait is a term that gets thrown around in the online publishing industry about questionable practices to supercharge content so that search engines deliver the content to digital users. From a marketing perspective, SEO (search engine optimization) is great because it allows marketers and advertisers to really get content in front of readers. From a reader’s perspective, I suffer from a little healthy paranoia that makes me questions whether a controversial title has quality content behind it. Or is that title designed to let me click on the article, therefore giving it a hit and making it successful? In the latter case, I get really annoyed when the article has no quality behind it. It means the online publisher just took advantage of my time and my click to make that article a success even if it’s not all that great in quality.
The trick to all of this is training your eye and becoming an educated media user. Knowing how to evaluate content online will make you think twice about whether you want to put your personal brand behind it and share it online.
The only way we can take back our digital user experience through social media is to demand and consume quality content.
But is the way knowledge being shared through social media effective for the user, or just the marketer and publisher at the end of the day? Are we just giving vanity stats¹ to marketers and publishers? Or is this content really benefiting us 100% at the end of the day.
1. Vanity stats is a term I picked up from the book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries
After being in the social media world for several years now, I can’t but feel overwhelmed by content. Whether it’s an ad, an enticing article link, or a web page screaming with content for you to click all around upon, content is being shoved down the throat of every user.
Here’s a little tidbit I learned from being in the industry and as a digital user: many web pages are designed as ‘click funnels.’ They are designed for you to come to their site, get trapped like a fly onto their web, only to click, click, click until the site gets more and more hits.
Now it’s up to us to take back our digital user experience. What sites or online media tactics make you feel super overwhelmed with content? Realistically speaking, how many of us will read everything on our RSS feeds, or newsletters? How do you stop from getting useless content shoved into your face (or your computer screens in this case)?
When social media feels like a popularity contest, just stop!
While I absolutely love social media and its potential to connect people around the right things, I also feel there is a level of shallowness here.
You have people in the space doing things for the sake of popularity. You have mainstream sites that are turning into tabloids just because they want to dominate the SEO of certain keywords. Jazzed up headlines with crap content aren’t helping the user, is it now?
The web is a beautiful place and social media makes it interactive. But we need to stop devaluing on our own digital experiences. Understanding social media from a user’s perspective is so much more different than from a marketer’s perspective. We need to take a stand on what social media interactions are helping us? Does sharing a specific piece of content, filling your inbox with email lists of what to read, and emails with call to actions from marketers help YOU the digital user? Instead reevaluate what you want to get done with social media for YOUR NEEDS.
I was talking to a colleague who talked about how he felt horrible about not keeping up with his email newsletters. The sites just kept building lists and lists of their articles. Now you tell me-are these articles meant to inform and improve the user’s experience? Or is it meant for the publisher’s benefits? There is a disconnect here. We’re letting marketers dominate our digital experience via social media vs. us taking command of it.
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. We need to really start re-thinking how we create and process content. Social media is indeed great and I love it. It only becomes a time-suck when we’re at the mercy of content creators who dominate and dictate what we read and how we consume it online.
Think about how social media can support you vs. how you support brands through social media. The digital user’s time becomes vanity stats for platforms who pull in dollars from other brands to invest in them. But who is investing in you? Is the social brand benefiting you as much as you are benefiting them?
Sound off about your social media experiences and what’s working for you and isn’t working for you!
Technology and the web are beautiful things. It has rapidly connected the world and its people in ways we couldn’t have imagined!
But it’s time we start questioning our relationships to technology and the web. Almost each piece of technology nowadays connects us to the web. We’re online even when we don’t realize it.
So what’s the problem? Continue reading