Andy Vaughn

Smell the Roses

“Stop and Smell the Roses”

…is a famous saying to people who are constantly rushing from here to there, without any enjoyment of the process, no time to reflect on life. In recent history, this statement had validity. People were goal-driven, results-oriented, and didn’t pay attention to anything but the bottom line.

Then came the “Social Web.”

The Social Web gets us all to “Smell the Roses” much more than we used to. We may not acknowledge it, given our history and value for results. But, it’s permeated our culture. And, it may be to our detriment.

Take Facebook, for example. Last Month, Facebook exceeded Google in the number of U.S. visits, and (I’m sure) has a significant advantage in time spent on site.

What behaviors are the average Facebook user engaging in? Social interaction, gaming, browsing photographs, notes, comments, etc. From a user-experience perspective, this is largely “browsing.” There is a frequent lack of purpose, motivation, or driver behind each click. There is a limited number of conversions, and searching yields only the next page of browsing.

One of the more frequent complaints I hear about social media is one of spending too much time and getting nothing accomplished. With a user-interface and design ecosystem engineered to reward browsing, it’s apparent that social media can be both addictive and quantitatively unrewarding.

The results may speak otherwise. I have on frequent occasion received a lead or project due to social media interaction. However, the deal was closed outside the social media arena, and measuring the resources of input in getting that job was difficult.

Facebook, Twitter, and blogs all have value. But, there have been many days where I’ve been socially engaged and feel extremely connected, but accomplish nothing towards my goals. I urge you to be conscientious of your behaviors and the results of those behaviors. Awareness is the first step.

Posted by Andy Vaughn on April 21, 2010

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