Recently one of my board members commented on the sheer volume of posts I was making on Twitter. He recommended I review what Michael Hyatt said about how to post frequently without flooding your followers, “I use Buffer to spread these throughout the day, so I don’t overwhelm my followers.

Matt O'Dell, New Worship, image courtesy galerie Schleicher+Lange, Paris

I started using it and it’s been great, but I started to wonder if just tweeting links to my followers was actually helping anyone (including myself). I love to share things, but do people really care? And what does it mean to the messages I do want them to care about?

Chris Brogan, entrepreneur and social media expert, recently wrote a post entitled Our Responsibility as Media Channels where Brogan talks about how we are all media channels – no different than TV or radio stations – and we have a responsibility to our ‘viewers’ and ‘listeners’ to pay attention to both the content and the rate of what we are presenting.

You may not think that you are helping to curate the web, but every time you share something, you are categorizing it and sharing it with someone the same way a museum director takes a bone from the earth, identifies it, and displays it in a case.

Brogan says, “Attention is a currency, and if we spend too much of other people’s attention on frivolous posts and shares, we risk losing that attention…What if you look at this as your responsibility? What if you looked at all we just outlined with an eye towards making something bigger than just noise?”


Noise. That’s the word I’d been searching for to describe that feeling I had about sharing content that while useful, may be just, well – noisy.

Brogan encouraged me to “[not] just push the stumble, the retweet, etc, but give some value to the share by giving your points, adding your two cents, blogging a piece around it, etc.,” which is what I’m doing here.

Seth Godin, entrepreneur and marketing expert, recently wrote an article entitled, The trap of social media noise, “More noise is not better noise,” says Godin, who strategizes, “Relentlessly focus. Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that’s worth owning and an audience that cares.”

That was one of my initial questions: Do people really care what I’m sharing? Does less noise equate with more attention? Is less really more?

What Other People Are Doing About It

While Buffer is a Chrome app that allows you to spread out what you are sharing throughout the day, Handpick, which Jon Mitchell, a writer for ReadWriteWeb and former editor of NewsTrust, recently wrote about in Handpick: Selective Social Sharing Without The Noise, is an app that allows you to sum it all up in one email.

“The social Web is noisy,” writes Mitchell, who reviewed Handpick, a social Web app that collects things you want to share throughout the day and emails them to the contacts of your choosing in one email at the end of the day.

Pete Williams, entrepreneur, author, and marketer, created NOISE RE/DUCTION, which aims to, “remove all the noise [in the business and marketing space] to find the stuff that’s actually valuable.” In other words, they are curating content.

What are you going to do about it?

Comment (2)

  • Blake| January 7, 2012

    Erich, You are an excellent writer, raising valid points. Social media like other marketing materials is becoming over-whelming to many users. I’m likely one of the few that sets aside an hour each day to manage, monitor and engage with the tech tools. A question constantly raised by paid members of my business forum is whether REAL sales and client conversion truly occur via social media tools or whether social media has simply become the replacement to more historic email Spam or Faxing.

    I find myself getting annoyed when people I follow regularly read retweet the same messages word for word, every week. I also find that my twitter followers grows significantly, the more authentic I am when tweeting a few of the million thoughts that rattle around in a highly ADD and very creatively brilliant and eccentric mind of a graphic artist.

    Social media can be used for many things. The gurus say social media is about conversation. Sometimes the conversation is one sided. Other times its very brief, but in the end, value is in the eye of the reader. And users need to be very clear about what they gain from using it, even if most are using the media incorrectly.