Suffering From New Media, Social Media Overload?

That’s what appears to be happening, if two stories that arrived almost simultaneously in our RSS reader are any indication.

A third of respondents to a SmartBrief poll about social media said that they would unfollow anyone who posts 3-7 updates on a social network per day. Three updates a day? That’s less than we suspect most people post, yet a whopping one in three people found that to be too much.

Eight percent think that “a few times per week” is too much Tweeting.

Blogger Mirna Bard interprets:
“This poll has made it very apparent that there is no single correct answer. There are too many factors involved. It depends on the social network, the audience, the type of business, the objective, context and value of the posts, etc.”

At the same time, though, we can appreciate the burned-out feeling. An editorial in TVNewsCheck proposes (partially satirically, we think) a “three-year moratorium on new media.

“Starting Jan. 1, no individual or company may conceive, research, develop, improve, work on, tinker with or otherwise conjure up any program, device or service aimed at disseminating information of any kind to the general public.

“With all we’ve got now, from AM to Zillow, we can go for three years without any more and we’ll all be happier,” writes TVNewsCheck editor Harry Jessell.

We wrote “partially satirically” because the suggestions further down in the piece seem deadly earnest, if a bit misguided:

We want to keep up with the latest, but it’s simply not possible. The new media world moves too fast. We don’t have time to distinguish the winners from the losers. So, we end up doing nothing. Or, we end up doing the wrong thing, squandering precious time and resources.

Every time we figure out one Facebook or Twitter, another Groupon or Netflix pops up to be understood, exploited, copied or ignored.

Well, when I was a wee lad, there used to be just two “platforms” in electronic media: the TV set and the radio. You created programs for one or the other, sold some time and then went home.
[Shelly Palmer, a new media expert,] begged the execs to personally get involved with the new media.

Well, Shelly, they might if they could. But if they actually tried to grasp the new media, they wouldn’t have much time for the old media. They have stations to run and that’s not as easy as it used to be, what with the new media shattering audiences into a million pieces.

Whether or not this is a good idea (or enforceable) it does seem indicative of a larger trend: people are getting sick of scrambling to catch up, whether they’re running a media organization or just trying to keep their Facebook pages updated. Is this the beginning of a backlash?

Illustration by