Larry BraunerSocial media has reinvented the Internet, just as search had 15 years ago. We reflect, and we can perceive endless uses for social media. Nevertheless, social media is limited. Sadly, much of social media doesn’t really work.

The failure of social media has little to do with the technology underpinning it. The technology is exquisite and marvelous innovations emerge each day. If social media success depended entirely on technology, that success would grow exponentially.

Social media involves people. That’s why it’s called social media. Social media success depends upon the people who use it, and that’s a problem. People are socially very limited, and our ability to take instruction, do the right thing, and keep our word is poor, as confirmed by civilization’s track record.

To get more out of social media — and life — we must invest as much in ourselves as we do in technology. If we learn to use social media more correctly, interact more effectively, communicate more honestly and act with greater integrity, our  success  with social media — and our personal relationships — will transform our lives.

Until that occurs, we need to accept that social media doesn’t work, at least not nearly as well as it could.


13 Responses to “Why Social Media Doesn’t Work”

  1. Jack Goldenberg on October 5th, 2010 10:22 pm

    I think I heard this before. (Emoticon for Just Kidding) As usual your writing is brilliant and always ahead of the gathering storm. Only you can get away with legitimately panning social media one moment, then singing its virtues, limited though they may be, the next.

    I understand and agree that people are too flawed (you and I excluded, of course) to live up to all that technology promises.

  2. Karen Lotter on October 5th, 2010 11:33 pm

    You are so right Larry. I see people signed up for everything and then they sit back and expect it all to work for them.

    I advise clients to only get involved in maybe three – FB, Twitter and LinkedIn at first and really work them. When they have those three under control, maybe add YouTube or StumbleUpon or something else.

    But like blogs, other social media need ongoing and disciplined attention.

  3. Barbara Lombardi on October 6th, 2010 12:54 am

    Anything worth while takes energy and investment. There’s no magic to any of this. We need to communicate honestly and openly. Have met some pretty neat people through the internet.

  4. STRAIGHTALK on October 6th, 2010 1:48 am

    This is for karen Lotter, their are apps like which can help You communicate with like 70 social networks, also others like that lets You tie in as many, facebook, twitter, and more within ONE main App.

    Sorry about that Larry Bauner,

    Anyways I totally agree with You, Many online people today are copy cats.. Many overwhelm themselves with work other than seek out knowledge.

    Social media WORKS! We are the problem.. like You said..

    I am learning how to tie in online events with offline events. Both being part of One source has proven to Me that few good people do much much more than tons of FREELOADERS what I call them.

    Social media networking is communicating with few people online everyday. Once this is establish numbers starts to change fast & drastically!

    My final words in this topic would be we need to QUIT selling the knowledge and START feeding the people.

    Larry! Meaning, that most of those who don’t do the right thing simply are Ignorant to how it’s done! SO can We blame them if We sell knowledge like We sell WATER.
    (over priced not many can afford so they stay dumb, like those who thirst)

    many good causes are not seen, but we have so many gurus in every NICHE out here.

    PS.. Thanks for being a friend & the share

    Norman Flecha

  5. Larry Brauner on October 6th, 2010 8:14 am

    Thank you Norman.

    We’ve been discussing this on Facebook, and I made a clarifying statement I wish to share:

    The real point of my article is that human shortcomings limit the success of social media rather than the technology itself, and that we need to focus on that part of the equation.

  6. Layla White, PoweredServices on October 10th, 2010 7:24 am

    The only reason social media will not work is if you don’t socialize with it. Remember, it’s called social media, not a link or web directory. You have to be active and put some effort in to benefit from it. Simply joining and forgetting will not produce any results.

  7. Mari-Lyn Harris on October 13th, 2010 1:02 am

    You hit the nail on the head..the problem isn’t technology it’s the people. Expecting results when they don’t use the tools that will really help them.

  8. Jeffrey Baril - Source Blogger on October 13th, 2010 10:00 am

    Larry, I respectfully disagree.

    Social media has been a medium for many people to brand, market, and network with people and businesses that they may not have otherwise. (Isn’t this the theme for many of your blogs?)

    For bloggers, social media has been a successful tool to go “off-page” and capture an audience — leading them back to our blogs. I would go as far to say that it has revolutionized the way blogs receive additional exposure…outside of search engines.

    Of course there are times when people’s expectations or lack of social ability affects their social media marketing efforts.

    But to say it doesn’t work?…

    I have faith in a system that weeds out poor performance and low quality. Don’t you?

    Good article though, Larry. At least it made us think.


    Jeffrey Baril of Source Blogger

  9. Larry Brauner on October 13th, 2010 10:20 am

    I agree with you Jeffrey and so does my article. The closing words, “at least not nearly as well as it could,” express that concept that social media does work, but that it would work even better if people learned to use it better.

  10. Jennifer Korsak on October 13th, 2010 3:15 pm

    True what you say. Social media alone doesn’t work but it can help your cause if you use them regularly and have many of them

  11. STRAIGHTALK on October 29th, 2010 12:02 am

    I have found that not truly the numbers, as in going out and following the entire World on twitter..

    I refer to the numbers games as to how many times it ‘an article/post’ bring in a prospect!

    If we create tons of copies this is what You will have in return.. and in $$$$ the is counterfeit so numbers have to be unique always.

    Norman Flecha

  12. 10 Keys to Building a Social Media and Web Presence | Online Social Networking on November 5th, 2010 12:38 pm

    [...] – Integrating social media with my blogs through using website [...]

  13. david on February 13th, 2011 10:33 pm

    Ive been telling my clients this for years. There is an inherent conflict by trying to generate BUSINESS through SOCIAL media. You wouldnt try to sell tires at a cocktail party. Why would you interfere with social communication channels to inject your brand message?

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