Social media sites are addicting. These sites allow us to peer into the lives of our friends without getting too involved. (Although sometimes it is like watching a soap opera and we begin to feel like we are part of our friends lives, without actually being part of their lives.) But the nature of social sites is to create conversation. So the problem with social media voyeurism is that we are expected to share back. We create community when we share. We learn about each other and keep in touch in ways that were never feasible in the past. I love to learn new and interesting things from my friends. I love to see how they spent the weekend or what their dog is doing. Social media expands my small university into a giant one and is usually a complete joy. I share a lot online: if I want you to know what I am doing, you will know – through Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr. And maybe a little Flickr, Posterous and Loopt every now and then. Do I share too much? I don’t know, maybe sometimes I do.
Social media can also be a burden; and this week I am feeling overwhelmed by my social media connectivity. Yes, I preach about the value connectivity and social media. Yes, my phones are practically connected to me and my computer is within reach 18 hours a day, on average. While I keep up with messages, I don’t always respond immediately, or at all. The reasons for this inaction vary. Sometimes I don’t feel like talking. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say. And, yes, sometimes I am with real people and feel like it might be rude to be glued to my device in their physical presence.
Then there are those times when you just want to unplug. It is hard to have “alone time” with the influx of social media. When I need “alone time,” social media becomes a burden. If you send me a text, email or chat conversation and I don’t respond, then just let it go and give me some space. If I haven’t posted in a while, then maybe I am feeling overexposed. Don’t attempt to make me feel guilty about my silence. Being quiet says a lot.
Hmm. According to new research from Harvard Business, more women (55%) are on Twitter than men (45%). But, men have more followers, by 15%. “Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. This ‘follower split’ suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships.” And, not only are men more likely to follow men, but women are 25% more likely to follow a man.
According to the study, this man-following has nothing to do with how much he tweets: men and women tweet at the same rate. What is up with this? Possible hypotheses (based on nothing but my intuition):
- The format for Twitter (short bursts of information) is more conducive to the male style of communication, whereas women tend to want to be more verbose and explanatory?
- The subjects women tweet about may not be as diverse as those that men tweet?
- Women tend to tweet about their personal lives, men tend to tweet about business?
- Women have higher “follow” standards because their time is valuable and content is their currency?
- Is there something wrong with Harvard Business’s methodology for determining who is male and who is female on Twitter? (“To get this figure, we cross-referenced users’ ‘real names’ against a database of 40,000 strongly gendered names.”)
I would like to hear what others think about this “follower split” on Twitter. More women are online. Women have more influence on purchase decisions. Women are more likely to research before making any decision. People trust “people like me” for advice. All of these factors would indicate that women would be following other women in droves on Twitter. Thoughts?
Starting today, my favorite morning program – MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” – will be sponsored by Starbucks. According to the New York Times, this is
“…the closest integration between an advertiser and a national news program in recent memory. Harkening back to the ‘Camel News Caravan,’ an NBC news roundup sponsored by a cigarette manufacturer in the 1950s, graphics and voice-overs will tell viewers that ‘Morning Joe’ is ‘brewed by Starbucks.’”
The hosts, Joe and Mika already drink Starbucks every morning and have conversations about their coffee drinks during several shows a week. It is a smart move for Starbucks to make the endorsement official. I am not sure it is smart for “Morning Joe” to accept the sponsorship. However, I wonder if it will change the honest conversations that Joe and Mika have about the coffee. Mika regularly chides Joe regularly about his fatty drink topped with piles of whipped cream while she sets a good example with her “healty Starbucks drink.” Will they have to only make positive comments about the drinks from this point forward?
The sponsorship is encompassing and includes graphics and several mentions during the show. “The anchors and the coffee company may team up on charitable initiatives. And the program may be broadcast from Starbucks locations when it travels, as it did last year for the political conventions and this year for the inauguration.”
Of course, the show promises to cover Starbucks news fairly and will not be biased by the sponsorship. Regardless, I think of “Morning Joe” as a serious news show–not the morning candy of “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America”–so when Joe leads into the commercial break with “you are watching ‘Morning Joe,’ brewed by Starbucks” (as he did this morning), I have a harder time taking him seriously.