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Is your social media boring?


I’m sure we all like to think that the things we publish via social media is of interest to someone, even if it’s only our mums.  Some new research by Wharton suggests that our content is really not all that important though.

The research, conducted by Jonah Berger and Raghuram Ivengar, found that our content is not half as important as the companies and products we write about.  They found that this occurs because social communication is inherently asynchronous, so there are nearly always time gaps between the messages involved in the conversation.  This in turn gives each party extra time to craft their messages and ensure it hits the right spot.

“Whereas oral communication tends to be instantaneous (one person says something and then another responds almost immediately), written conversations tend to have longer gaps (consumers respond to emails, texts or Facebook messages hours or days later),” wrote Berger and Iyengar. “Rather than saying whatever comes to mind, consumers can take the time to think about what to say or edit their communication until it is polished.”

Not only does this time gap allow writers to consider their content more intently, it also gives them the opportunity to edit and refine their message before it goes live.

What’s more, it also gives readers more time to think about interesting products and companies.  For instance, interesting companies such as Apple, or interesting products such as Google Glass, drive much more online conversation than ordinary products such as toothpaste.

“Consumers have a natural tendency to talk about things that make them look good, but selecting the right thing to say requires time,” Berger and Iyengar wrote. “In oral communication, consumers talk about whatever is top of mind (the weather), but written communication gives them the opportunity to select more interesting things to say.”

It really does emphasise the importance of social media being an extension of the great things your company is already doing.  If you’re not doing great things then having whizzy social media will not do much to help you.

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