I've been in this category myself a few times. Just lately, I took on a contract for a small nonprofit and it's kept me so busy I've barely had time to eat, let alone write blog posts. Plus I had a major birthday milestone and those will always get you thinking.
What I Thought About
One pattern I've been noticing while trying to keep up is the one about Pinterest. People are blogging, podcasting, and creating videos about it. If it were a Republican candidate for President, it would get the nomination in a landslide.
But Pinterest isn't the pattern - it's the stuff around it that's the pattern I'm seeing. The same old "It's the Next Big Thing!" posts and "Five Things You Should Know About..." and "How to Leverage Pinterest for Your Business." I hate that stuff - reminds me of some parts of big cities where they have peep shows and guys are always standing outside the doors, trying to get warm bodies (with wallets) inside.
Now I know not everyone talking about Pinterest is a social media huckster; the insights and information some of them provide is needed and worthwhile. It's the noise I dislike. I hate feeling like I'm being pandered to generically, that I'm just part of the intended demographic. I'm too egotistical for that.
What Matters to Me
What I find important is not how others are using social media to attain their ends, but whether or not something they've done can be helpful to you once it's been tweaked to suit your needs. It's not one-size-fits-all. It isn't they did it and were successful, so we should do it, too. It's what do I want to accomplish and what will help me accomplish that?
You can't say you're a success if you don't know how you define success in the first place.
Guru, Master, Expert - None of the Above
Marketers on Twitter used to complain about people who self-styled themselves as one of the above. Some would even go so far as to refuse to follow anyone who included one of these terms in their bio. I never even thought about calling myself an expert. Like Todd Defren, I assert that you'd be better off going to Mashable instead of me if you want an in-depth view of what's NOW in social media. And you'd be better off going to Beth Kanter for data on how what you're doing with social media counts. I hate numbers and my feeling on ROI is that if you're satisfied with how you're interacting with your constituents and they're satisfied with you, then it's fine.
What I try to do is look at things a little differently. It's not that I want you to learn to see things the way I do, it's that I hope by seeing through my eyes, you'll find a piece of something that becomes a jumping off point for your own thoughts.
The way I learn is by pushing all the buttons and trying all the options. Only then do I feel I know a social media platform, an application, or process, and its possibilities. That is, the possibilities for me and maybe for someone else I'm keeping uppermost in my mind at the time.The possibilities I see are always targeted specifically towards a particular person or agency.
Cut Through the Noise
Take time every once in a while to turn off the noise and spend some time with your Self. When you know yourself and what you want to accomplish, it makes it easier to ignore the hucksters and see through to the information you need. Take time to have fun with social media - it shouldn't always be about work, you know. Kids learn a lot about themselves and others through play. Just because you've grown up doesn't mean you can't learn that way, too.