Less Sensationalism in Social Media

    February 1, 2007

I submitted an article written in 2005 to Netscape (for those of your outside of the social media world, Netscape a runs “submit and vote on news site” like Digg).

The article was originally entitled “Libraries and Librarians In A Digital Future: Where Do We Fit?.” It discuses how the author believes libraries are losing touch with the fast paced digital world and how that attitude may lead to their demise. It’s a fascinating read, well written and asks many questions about what place if any a library and a librarian will play in future generations. I’ll get back to that story in a moment.

At the time I wrote this, that “old story” received 7 votes in 2 hours after being submitted and I’m hoping it will continue to receive a lot more. If you become a regular user of social media sites you’ll notice that people seem to get too caught up in trying finding the NEWEST possible article with the most shocking headline. In many ways social media has become a bit of a sensationalist race.

That’s also why it has received a lot of criticism and critique. But what if social media evolves away from mostly sensationalism and disposable content to become balanced with content that stands the test of time and remains valuable weeks, months and years after it’s creation. That would be really be something and I predict it’s coming, in fact you could already say it’s already here.

What does this mean for search engine marketing? Sensationalist content and it’s subsequent promotion by search engine marketers to garnish links and traffic will still remain a valuable tactic in the arsenal of methodologies for online success, but as social media matures I expect more value to be in less date sensitive articles.

Produce content that stands the test of time (in addition to disposable bits) and you may continue receiving traffic and links years on into the future. Wouldn’t that be something?

Have something you wrote / created end up being voted up, discussed and digested in a democratic media years after you created it? It’s already here.

I submitted the article about the future of libraries, because I feel it’s content was as relevant and newsworthy as ever. I was very happy to discover it and wanted to share it with all of you for debate. Now if you will, I’d like to diverge into a small rant on that subject. I believe print will be dead sooner then most people think and the fist to go will be the newspapers and date sensitive publications, with books following shortly. If libraries are going to survive they are going to have to find a niche in the world of “get info now.”

I live in LA and just the traffic and time to get to the library makes using online sources many times more efficient and gives me more free time to pursue other things.

I READ A LOT, but I haven’t been to a library in years. If I want a physical book I purchase it over amazon, but I’ll be giving that up as well when portable devices with digital ink become cheaper and more popular.

Post Script: I’m also a member of Digg, but I didn’t submit the libraries article there, because currently there is already an article discussing the same topic (opposing POV) in the top stories.

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About the Author

Solomon Rothman is the CIO for Social Media Systems; an online marketing company that helps its client succeed by providing web development bundled with search marketing. He authors numerous blogs including 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog and loves the ongoing challenges of the online marketing world. Besides technology, Solomon’s other passions including filmmaking & screenwriting.