Posted December 14, 2010 8:56 am by with 8 comments

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Wow. If there is one thing I can take away from these end of year lists of trends etc. is that social media is truly a mile wide and about a ¼ inch deep. In other words, what gets the most attention in places like Twitter is very shallow. All of the talk of the social media revolution and passing information along that will change the world blah, blah, blah and this is what Facebook tells us are the biggest trends in status updates in 2010.

Again I say Wow. For all the issues facing the world from global warming, financial crisis, war and just about anything else that actually impacts a person’s life in a real way the number one trending mention in status updates is the newest acronym for the virtually lazy, HMU (hit me up)?

I think I have said enough about this over the past few days but let’s get something straight. Social media looks more and more like a vast wasteland of inane chatter than ever before. As Internet marketers it appears as if the task at hand is just finding a way to either market your products and services alongside this ‘interaction’ or figure out an effective way to wade through the muck to find the people that are interested in your message. Neither is going to be easy. If this isn’t evidence for cultivating a strong community around your cause / product / whatever rather than looking to the masses, I don’t know what is.

When 20% of the top 10 ‘trends’ in status updates are about events that truly impacted people and the other 80% are about mere distractions, it’s time to call the social media world what it actually might really be: a way for people to express just how empty their lives really are. Harsh? Maybe but if it’s anything other please explain so in the comments section.

Well, here’s to airplanes (Airplanes? Really?) and to trying to predict the future in 2011 (rather than dealing with reality in 2010, I suppose).

Here’s my predictions for what will trend next year. Happy 2011!

1. Boats
2. Dirt
3. Movies
4. Bieber puberty
5. An event to create hollow online activism
6. Plastic
7. iAnything
8. Gas (of the personal kind)
9. An event that makes everyone look cool because they mentioned it
10. AUKM – Are U Kidding Me?

  • Maybe it is because people don’t talk in social media about subjects that have gravity. Like chit-chat in a bar (especially amongst the younger folk), no one talks about the election fraud in Haiti or Afghanistan for casual 7 word comments on someone’s Facebook status. I make lots of what I consider meaningful or provocative comments and rarely do they get retweeted or commented on, but I know people see them. However, friends that make some oblique reference to a new indy film score, get 12 comments like “LOL”, “I saw that last week and it sucked”, “so true”, “u goin 2 Casey’s fri nite?”

    So, with these types of numbers, what shows up in trends?

    I don’t think it is a lost cause, but I do agree about your dimensions!

  • Alright. I’m going to ask two questions:

    When someone posts a link on Facebook through a status update and FB gathers text from that link, does that text count toward these words?

    Likewise: these are status updates only. As in, “my” status. What about links? Notes (the Facebook version of blogs)? Those aren’t counted toward these words. HMU is a lot more relevant to what a user is doing, since most aren’t actually flying to Haiti to help out.

    On this final note, what kind of profound statement can be made in 140 characters? I could make a lot of jokes here, but will summarize instead. Serious topics are best handled on full-sized personal blogs, through notes or through links.

    I agree with you completely about the list making the users look shallow and self-serving. Yet, I also believe that’s the point of a status update.

    • @AndrewJ – The last piece of your comment is a classic!

      “I agree with you completely about the list making the users look shallow and self-serving. Yet, I also believe that’s the point of a status update.”

    • I do not agree with ‘what kind of profound statement can be made in 140 characters?’ you could actually write volumes with staement that fit in less than 140 characters. it’s simply that profundity wouldn’t fly on facebook. what gets their attention instead is ‘who’s going to lounge bar tonight?’ – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • This only conclude that social media networks are really for personal use. A means of thinking away from politics and world’s anxieties.

  • your article is right on target. I believe that facebook is contributing to the dumbing down of america. I left facebook a couple of days ago. people ask me ‘why are you leaving?’ the official answer is because it doesn’t fit with my strategic goals. I hear them say ‘xcuse me!’ the only reason I went to facebook was to make connections that would help my business(es). I can tell you that I wasted my time. facebook people are so absorbed in nothingness, so shallow, so jaded that you got to make a lot of ‘noise’ to get their attention, unless you’re part of the close circle of family and friends… or you’re promoting things related to clubs and parties. though you got narrow demographic targeting, I’m not sure that they’re really paying attention to the ads. if an article that I read here earlier about social media sending a whopping 4% visitors to ecommerce sites, I believe that marketers, unless they’re a company like ford, should take their advertising dollars elsewhere.

  • Great post and spot on as far as how shallow things are on FB and T. We run ads on FB and the click through rates are pathetic. But the interesting thing is that those who do click end up for the most part being real customers. You are right we have now choice but to swim in this (cess) pool and make the most of it hoping it will evolve (mature?) but it probably will not.

  • Cynthia

    I’m so perplexed by airplanes that I’m not sure I can go on with my day.