Ski resorts sometimes use cannon fire to prevent large scale avalanches. They do this by triggering very small avalanches at regular intervals, firing howitzers or air cannons into the higher snow banks to shake loose the chunks that are shake-loosable. The more I think about it, I think regular use of Twitter has done a similar thing to my blogging and podcasting output. Because I have access to a fairly constant ability to broadcast small chunks of whatever is on my mind, I have less urgency to gather my thoughts and write up longer bits.
I’ve discussed elsewhere how I feel like posting to Twitter is sharecropping. You don’t own it, it disappears down a Twitter driven memory hole, and whatever value you build is accruing to the account of Twitter.com, not you. I don’t make a killing on this blog, but whatever trickle of cash I earn from the Google ads and the Amazon affiliate links on here is more than I get from Twitter. When I blog, I make some pin money and I own all my stuff. When I Tweet, nothing much happens for me other than reducing my incentive and motivation to create anything else. That seems like an obviously pretty bad deal in every way you slice it.
This evening I did the data entry for every survey form turned in at CREATE South 2010. A lot of what was discussed this year involved social media. It was an article of faith that the energy put into social media is a necessity and has a positive payoff. I’m not so sure I buy that. I think the graph of involvement to value created has a steep climb from nothing to a small bit, and then caps out quickly. I know that puts me opposite of folks like my friend Tee Morris and Chris Brogan, who believe this is a necessity for anyone that wants to be involved in any form of internet culture. I’ve avoided drinking that Flavor Aid and it seems ever less tasty.
I supported my compatriots at CREATE South that wanted to teach and learn more about social media but less and less do I have any desire to be a part of it. What value it provides to the user comes at a high price, one that practically never gets factored in to the equation. I’m trying hard to account for those terms in my personal calculus.
Update: I forgot to link to Garrick Van Buren’s examination of the same topic as he examines what changed in his life when he dropped Twitter.