People use social media for many reasons. For me the most prominent reason is to gather information within my area of interest (marketing), and to a humble degree, expertise. And to be able to air and discuss my opinions.
By having a clear mission when using Social Medias it should be easier to find people and groups that shares that interest. And it is – to some extent. But it is too easy to be misled.
A parallel: Many doctors (my European experience) are complaining about patients coming to see them and when they get a diagnosis they come back with a lot of information they found on the internet. The doctors I know (one of them being my wife) place these patients into two groups:
- Those who have the intellectual capacity to filter out the most relevant information of the overwhelming amount of data you find online
- And basically those who can’t. Those who get blinded by the tabloid stories about their conditions.
Doctors also fall into two groups: Those who welcome these, more or less, informed patients because their knowledge bank is filled with many years of practical experience and theoretical knowledge so they easily can guide the patient through all the information. The other group – either very young or too old – is the group that doesn’t possess such a knowledge bank. And they might use different power techniques to brush aside the information the patient collects.
I find a similar situation online when looking for relevant Marketing information (and most other information). Take LinkedIn groups: There are self proclaimed individuals that use power techniques to dominate discussions and whole groups. Their whole strategy is more based on self-promotion than actually helping others. There is others that have the skills and humility necessary and are more into a good balanced discussion where they are interesting in helping others and broadening their own view.
The problem, in contrast to the medical example; the skilled ones are more difficult to spot. It’s a well known power techniques to just yell as loud as possible to get attention.
A reflection from my world, working at a business school; of our close to 400 faculty members, just a few is active in Social Medias. And a lot of those not active is highly ranked whit in their subject area. So at least when it comes to theoretical and academic information, a lot of prominent voices are not heard. This leaves to much room for the loud power players…
So: Too much of anything might NOT kill you – but it might very well mislead you.