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Image found at Caryrandolph.tumblr.com

The Scene that celebrates itself is a term used to describe the shoegaze music scene in the 90’s. Band members of this music movement where regularly seen at each other’s gigs. Hence the scene that celebrates itself. In other words, this networked group of people where the one’s that created the “buzz”. Not people outside it. That’s self inflated buzz and why it’s an easy target for mockery. 

Social media is a lot like that. It’s individuals married to the idea that they are “brands” and that online social networks are full of potential “customers.” They use online social networks to hype and give each other support. They search for keywords on Twitter to follow those that are interested in their topic.

There’s nothing evil about this. We are all aware that we’re putting ourselves out there to find people with like minded interests and for them to find us. The problem I see though, is that people that are “social media enthusiasts” are not social at all. Either you’re social or you’re media. Do you guys see where I’m going with this? Videos, music, or publications are not your friends or contacts. People are not media.

Sure, you can follow NyTimes’ Twitter feed or become a fan of Coca Cola on Facebook, but the agenda there is clear. It’s a product customer relationship and nothing more. With people, the relationship is a little more complicated than that obviously. Coca Cola can target me, but I’m not going to hurt its feelings if we don’t have the same views on abortion or gay rights. This post for example is bound to make me loose some followers on Twitter, because people, unlike brands, have a tolerance threshold.

In sum, the biggest problem that I see with social media enthusiasts is that they’re making unclear relationships with people online. You can network out of strategy and have an agenda, but that has to be clear and upfront. Once people smell manipulation, you’re done.