Social Media: Please Keep The Noise Down


Despite the fact that Barak Obama seems to have done so well with social media, others seem to have more problems.  It is all a question of signal to noise ratio. Two contrasting discussion threads this morning typify this.

The most heated one centers around Live Blogging at PubCon Vegas 2008.  There was somewhat strong criticism of this in a blog post and since then the chatter has been incessant. Search Engine Roundtable has done some excellent live blogging of Internet Marketing events for several years.  Barry Schwartz (aka rustybrick), the owner of SER, has asked the question, I’m Insulted But Should We Give Up Live Blogging?

The other side of that equation of course is what is noise and what is signal. Ruud Hein, a moderator at Cre8asite Forums, poses the question of how one should share news, views, hopes, and fears around the social media world.  Some services such as FriendFeed provide multiple messages to many social media for each item.  How does one separate the grains of wheat from all this chaff?

The question is not new.  Yvonne Russell suggested ways of keeping the noise down earlier in the year.  Marshall Kirkpatrick on the other hand seemed to suggest that Online “Noise” is Good For YouPeter Da Vanzo has now suggested that the noise level is so high that Social Media Marketing may well be A Waste Of Time.

Perhaps an item in this morning’s paper suggests why people may come to different views.  It was entitled SFU biologist’s theory called one of greatest since Freud’s.

Bernard Crespi, an evolutionary biologist at SFU, has developed a theory — with the help of Christopher Badcock, a sociologist at the London School of Economics — that suggests a “genetic tug of war” could be behind mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

The theory, first published in Behavioural and Brain Sciences, suggests autism and schizophrenia are at opposite ends of a spectrum of mental disorders. Each is an extreme outcome of a battle between the mother’s and father’s genes, which can steer brain development in one of two directions.

The article goes on to say that it is all linked with how sociable any individual is. Too sociable and you are schizophrenic: not sociable enough and you are autistic. Most of us will fall somewhere in the middle. 

I am sure we all have our own particular position on that axis and that may well explain why what some people regard as noise others may regard as  signal.  My own picture of the social media scene is like a crowded shopping mall.  As you wander around, you bump into people and may dialogue for a little while.  Then you move on and may bump into other people.  Some people like shopping malls and others hate them.  I believe each of us has to find the appropriate balance so that we can still achieve our goals and have the amount of social interaction that works for us. That is why some may find live blogging provides a signal but others hear it mostly as noise.

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Social Media: Please Keep The Noise Down — 3 Comments

  1. I have to admit there is so much noise out there its getting harder to filter out what is good and what is not. I kinda got addicted to stumbleupon and reading as many blogs as possible as well as writing my own during 2007. I eventually burnt out and stopped completely to see if this would affect my own knowledge of SEO and do you know what it didn’t make a blind bit of difference. I’ve got back into blogs and social media recently but I keep the activity limited to a few good blogs (like this one).

    I’d rather not post a blog than just be another voice out there that no-one else really wants to listen to.