On April 19, 2013 Business First reported on 34 companies in Louisville, KY joining a national challenge called Social Madness. It’s a competition to gauge social engagement and growth as well as an educational exercise since participating companies will gain expertise and insights into social media best practices.
I don’t think there’s any special harm in this sort of competition, but I do wonder at the twist on how social media should primarily be used. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and other social media outlets are designed to build relationships. They are not meant to be advertising platforms, but actually human connection builders.
The idea of turning the act of building relationships into a competition seems to cheapen the actual relationship, even potentially turning it into a false pretense to get a ‘win’. When people compete for your attention, for any reason try to take up your time for any reason but –your- good and well being, do you really want to be a part of their movement?
Let me give another analogy. Let us say a guy came up to you and struck up a friendship. You agree to go on a date with them the next week. When you arrive you find out that your date has a dozen prospects in the room and is comparing his number of dates to all the other guys in the room. The guy with the most dates is getting paid by the bartender who is making some great money from all the drinks being bought.
Sure, the guy who won gives the money to a charity, but does it lessen the blow?
Wouldn’t you feel a bit used?
While I believe that this contest was set up with good intentions, I feel it fails to grasp the true nature and power of social media. There’s nothing wrong with blitzing your attention on building your social media audience, but it would be best if your first intentions were about your audience, not the prize money.