I think that the foundation that most social media platforms are built on is flawed.
Put up a site, get a whole bunch of people using it, then monetize the hell out of it with advertising.
The problem is two-fold: people get tired of irrelevant ads; people are not rewarded for the right behaviour (that is being “social”).
Take Twitter for example, a recent Huffington Post article argues that the social platform is on the decline because of “abuse”, or the phenomenon of being attacked by those cliques, tribes, or groups that don’t agree with you.
Twitter could have been a town square. But now it’s more like a drunken, heaving mosh pit.
Being a heavy Twitter user myself, I’m not so sure “abuse” is the main reason is the only reason why the platform is having issues (although it’s definitely a factor).
Like most social media platforms, it simply doesn’t reward users for being “social”.
You’re not rewarded for starting or joining a conversation.
You’re not rewarded for saying “thank you” for a RT, a fave (or heart), or a follow.
You’re not rewarding for commenting on someone’s blog that you clicked on from Twitter.
You’re not rewarded for engaging or for being social.
Instead, we emulate those people with huge followings (but who may follow few people themselves) and add social media “influencers” and those with Klout/Clout to special lists and accolades.
But imagine a social media platform that rewarded engagement and socialness?
Instead of ads, companies and brands could reward users for being social…
Kraft sends you a reward for sharing recipes, the Toronto Blue Jays send you a pair of tickets for best baseball comments, or Hallmark sends you a “Thank You” for always saying “Thank You” to your followers.
These may not be the greatest examples, I know. But you can’t have a social media platform where people constantly push out links, promote themselves or their brand, and have influencers with massive followings rule the day.
Without out the social, it’s just plain ME-dia.