I've always been a bit dubious about the whole social media thing. Yes, it can be a great medium for connecting with old friends and maybe getting some breaking news, but otherwise services like Twitter seem to mostly be a time-wasting enabler for people with too little meaningful purpose in their lives. Achieving the largest number of 'Followers' is now a lifetime goal in order to assert and prove popularity and dominance in society. Catering to vanity is big business so as you might expect, there is a plethora of opportunists who offer to inflate the Followership of gullible Twits. A recent story in Inc magazine, one of many such stories in many news reports, illustrated just how easy it is given even a modest cash outlay to buy Followers - some charge as little as a penny apiece. Robert Waller, founder of StatusPeople, created a tool for estimating fake Followers for any given Twit. If you are thinking of starting a Twitter Follower business of your own, businesses will also sell you 'verified' e-mails address batches, Captcha defeaters, and HideMyAss.com will provide bulk IP addresses that can hide the fact that your claimed Followers all come from the same place. Ingenuous, it is.|
Twitter, of course, is not alone. Even more 'professional' social networking services like LinkedIn are known to inflate their analogy of Followers (Connections) to the point where numbers are basically meaningless. I have recently begun posting homepage items on LinkedIn (which automatically also posts on Twitter) in order to expose more people to the wealth of useful information that is RF Cafe. To be honest, I haven't taken the trouble to learn exactly how the LinkedIn system works or whether only people who are 'Connected' can see my posts.
The significance of receiving "endorsements' by fellow LinkedIners is also not known. Does it really make any difference how many people endorse you for a particular skill? I don't know, maybe it does to professional networkers. Maybe my unwillingness to indulge beyond a casual, sometimes-level has cost me status and advantage. I have heard from half a dozen or so people in the last year who claim that in spite of being accomplished in their engineering careers and having excellent LinkedIn credentials, finding a different job has been difficult or impossible - especially for people over 50 years old. Surely there are folks who credit social media for their success, but I don't recall reading about them.
Then again, maybe I'm just showing my age (55, as of yesterday - ugh!).
OK, so now I have read about someone who credits social media - LinkedIn specifically - for success. Judy Warner, of Transline Technology, responded to the "Fake Twitter Follower Factory" commentary that I posted on LinkedIn to say she has had an overwhelmingly good response from reaching out to and engaging the LinkedIn community of engineers. In fact, Judy's experience was so spectacular that in a few short years she went from being a connectionless marketing exec re-entering the PCB marketing realm after a decade-long hiatus, to being a sought-after expert in her field. Read her short article "Does Marketing Matter?" in the April 2013 edition of the pcb magazine (page 62). Maybe Judy's feedback to my LinkedIn post means I, too, can now claim social media success!
Posted August 19, 2013