Joe Spake tweeted a Mashable post earlier this evening. It asked the question, “Is Social Media Actually Making Us Less Connected?” “Us” is a huge word! If you consider Mashable’s reader-base (the “Us”) to be principally those who have a professional interest in Social Media, then maybe we are less connected than before. I say this because there is increasing pressure for those attempting a presence with their professional sphere to do so via broadcast tools that increase efficiency, but decrease dialogue. In 2009, I wrote about Broadcasting an Illusion of Participation. That whole phenomena is even more widespread now, and for few good reasons:
-People are spending less time on an increasing variety of networks.
-Practitioners are seeing and increase in business and have less time to connect socially than before.
-Search Engines are looking increasingly at social network interactions in determining relevancy / rankings.
Earlier this evening, I took a look at the source of the posts showing up on my facebook wall. Only 41 of the 68 posts were from people who were actually “on facebook” (see the chart to the right). The remainder of the status updates were piped in from some external application either by someone who was actually there or via a scheduled update. I’m not bashing the practice (any longer), though I personally don’t care for it. So, as a whole, the answer is “Yes, it’s making people that use social mediums professionally less connected to each other. It is making more of their readers feeling more connected to them (the pros). However, it’s not making the broadcasting pro feel any closer to most of their readers. I say most because when there’s a dialogue of comments, a mutual connection (even if small) is achieved… but, most don’t comment.