social media dilution revisited

A while back i blogged about how i planned to separate my various social media identities by content. At the time, the biggest unknown was the distinction between facebook and google plus, then three months old. at that point, i had maybe 100 or so people in my circles, less than that who had me circled, versus about 700-ish friends on facebook.

now, a year and a half later, my dynamic has shifted. I have about 1100 friends on facebook, but i have about 1450 people that i have circled and about 1350 people that have me circled on g+ – and between the two social network giants, less than 40 of those are duplicates – most of my facebook friends opted not to use g+ with any regularity, and of all of the new people that i’ve met on g+, only a small handful have turned into facebook relationships.

As a reader of social media, this is pretty great. my fb feed has always been a constant stream of posts, and my g+ stream is even busier even with how i attempt to control the “volume” of my stream through custom circles. i get a wide variety of content on both streams, ranging from broad topics that i specifically hone my g+ circles to focus on to more personal thoughts or life-happenings and sometimes intimate and close discussions on both facebook and g+.

But as a blogger and a social media contributor, this potential large audience that has little crossover on fb and g+ is incredibly problematic because of how it dilutes my online presence. Since my two blogs (this one and my livejournal) are separated loosely by “professional” vs “personal” content, there’s no duplication between them and each has a clear intent. By contrast, facebook and g+ right now serve as incredibly similar outlets of my microblogging expression to two vastly different audiences – and when i want to share good news or that cool article, i want to share it with everyone that i know – which means that i crosspost and duplicate posts across facebook and google plus more often than not. That may seem like it’s not a big deal since the audiences are vastly different, but to me it’s still a big deal because it means that people who circle me on g+ don’t have as much incentive to friend me on facebook and vice versa, and it also means that any potential dialogue on stuff that i post to both feeds is split and unfocused.

A part of me wishes that I could abandon facebook as a contributor and merely use it as a touchpoint to follow those who choose to use it as their main internet presence, but as someone who wants to share my personal life selflessly and promote my professional life selfishly, that’s simply not the right thing to do. I’m not so full of myself that i think that everyone should always listen to what i have to say, but i’m also self-actualized enough to know that i am a positive force in the lives of many people both casually and intimately, and because this also leads to people actually caring about me as a person and actually wanting to hear what i have to say, I have a strong sense of obligation to share my life and thoughts with those that are willing to listen in an effort to enhance our relationship and/or enhance their life, and subsequently enhance my own.

That said, I also know that in the grand scheme of things I”m a nobody. That’s not meant as a self deprecating statement any more than the previous paragraph is supposed to be egotistical and vain. Getting into that would be highly tangential to the point of this post; i bring it up because in reality (and seemingly in contraction to that last paragraph, but not really) the only reason that i matter is because people know that i matter, and if i wasn’t there, something or someone else would fill that void and i’d be forgotten, and that makes the idea of retreating from my facebook presence more viable – and if facebook or g+ ever reached a point where that strong sense of obligation were to ever become such a pressure on myself to cause me more emotional strife than emotional gain, i’d strongly consider it. But that’s not true, therefore not an option, and therefore the problem remains.

But as i go through the thought process that brought about the last couple of paragraphs, maybe the conclusion is that while I do see it as a problem, it’s not a huge problem, and the desire to address it is purely academic and self-masturbatory. I think it’s a problem because it feels inefficient for me who likes to have a very strong handle on how i present myself as a person and a brand, but the outcome of fixing that is a minimal gain for the amount of energy it would take for me to deal with it. That means that i should probably just keep doing what i’m doing, make slight adjustments as i see fit, stop worrying about it so much, and focus on what really matters.

Which is pretty funny, because it makes this whole post feel useless and self-masturbatory, and makes me feel like i’m living in a self-delusional dreamland. Which is probably true, so i can at least pretend to feel good about the fact that i’m self-actualized about it.

Mendel Lee

I'm a composer, musician, and music educator residing in New Orleans, LA.

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