Within the past week, we seem to have finally hit the point at which even social media mavens are beginning to question if all of this is just a bit, well, too much. Valeria wrote a great post that poses this very question. So did Jeffro. Ryan questions whether we're now putting too much emphasis on amassing digital "friends" -- another great question given that online friendships and even blog comments are now for sale. Last week Armano announced that he was giving away coveted private beta invites to a non-existent service called BouGie (just to prove that some people will sign up for anything, as long as it's new and invites are in limited supply) and even Jaffe has asked if we social media folk are a bit Fickl.
All of this chatter prompted me to tally the various social media tools that I use personally (to one extent or another) -- the list is daunting:
For safe measure, I also aggregate blogposts, links, photos and Twitter tweets at a Tumblr tumbleblog (and even I don't really know what a tumbleblog really is.)
Tired yet? Yeah, me too.
I love new technologies and am particularly passionate about the many ways that consumers can connect with one another through social media applications. I will always stand near the front of the line to try out the new "next big thing." It's kinda what I do for a living.
But do "real people" behave this way? Does the typical consumer even know what Twitter is, let alone Jaiku or Pownce? I assume (hope?) that the average web user (meaning someone who doesn't work in this crazy business) isn't nearly as networked as I am. Maybe the average person simply joins a network -- or two or three -- based on where their friends hang out and, rather than constantly scanning the horizon for the next thing to join, actually stays put as long as their friends stick around.
Are social media mavens living inside a bubble of our own making, artificially inflating the impact that most of these nascent technologies are having on the population in general, and ultimately getting our companies and our clients riled up over something that will, over time, turn out to be, well um, nothing?
Of course I don't believe this last bit, not even for a minute. At least not in the macro sense. I firmly believe that social media has fundamentally changed the game and that social computing will become more, not less, important to more and more people over time.
But I also believe that those of us who are so consumed with "playing the game" do need to remember that the people sitting in the stands don't necessarily look exactly like the guys (and gals) on the field. And maybe they don't want to.
What do you think? Weigh in.