Cup of Joe: Is Social Media Making Us Stupid?



Stupid GuySo, about a month ago I started creating some content for a side project of mine. The plan was to do a very in-depth study on the major players in a niche industry and see how they are doing on the internet. The goal was to study each corporation’s branding, their SEO efforts, and traffic to their web properties. I took about four weeks to do case studies on each corporation.

After I collected my data I wrote up an analysis on each in each area. I then made corresponding charts that showed my findings in a clear and easy to understand format. After it was all finished I put it all together and sat back to marvel at my work! I thought, this piece of content is sure to go viral.

So, with out further ado, I went ahead and started seeding the content to my favorite social media gateways. I shared it with my friends and pushed it hard through niche networks and groups. And then I started to monitor my traffic. At first I got a pretty good spike from the initial push, but quickly saw my numbers come to a standstill. I went back and checked my server stats to make sure I wasn’t having technical problems and everything looked ok. So I went back to the networks and niche groups that I originally used to push the content and found the problem.

No body was sharing it.

Ok a few folks shared it. But by and large this amazing piece of content was sitting in cyberspace like a dead duck. I couldn’t figure it out. Why didn’t anyone digg, stumble, or retweet my post? I used the same seeding strategy that has helped me push numerous pieces of content much further. And then it finally dawned on me. My post wasn’t going anywhere because it actually made people think, it wasn’t sexy, and it didn’t “entertain” anyone.

Have you noticed the recent surge in popularity of infographics? I mean whats with those? Are we to busy to read, or just to lazy? Whats with the constant retweeting of “Top 10 List”? Have we forgotten how to read text when not in bullet form? Why is it that longer blog posts tend to get less comments than the shorter ones? Has Twitter damaged our attention span that badly?

So this is just one man’s opinion, but it seems that if you want to get people to spread content in social media, you better dumb it down first. So my real question to all of you is:

Is social media making us stupid? Or are stupid people attracted to social media? I am awaiting your answers in the comments, that is if you actually read this whole post! :P

[photo credit]