Looking Behind the Curtains on the Social Media Stage: Humans Don’t Scale

I’ve been watching this space for a few years now, and I’ve started to notice that the people (often those that we think of that are at the upper echelons) are not able to scale, as a result here’s what they’re doing to compensate:

Many social media bloggers don’t even manage their own accounts, they often hire virtual assistants to do their Facebook and Twitter follows and replies.

Quite of few of those top social media bloggers don’t even answer their own emails, they have a virtual assistant that reviews them, sorts them, and sometimes responds on their behalf.

Many of the top social media news blogs are on a race to see who can publish the fastest, why? whoever gets the earliest time stamp often gets the credit and links from other blogs, and will risest fastest on the techmeme tower or google news gauge. As a result, many of these blogs will publish the headline, then adjust, edit, format, punctuate, and add links to the post in real time.

A few authors that have published one of the thousands of social media books outsource their content to ghost writers who create the majority of the content. Although it’s the headlining author’s name that drives book sales, in many cases they don’t actually write the content.

Many of the top celebrities or top social media names don’t even write their own blog posts and tweets, they may outsource it to others.

So what does this mean? It means the social media space is starting to look like just about every other industry that starts to get mainstream. Social media is often the premise built on 1:1 relationships, and even with technology, that clearly doesn’t scale, and I can relate.

What about me? I’m asked every few days “How do you do it all” my answer is “I don’t, the wheels are falling off” Well you’ve probably noticed I’ve not been blogging much, nor tweeting lately, I’ve been under heavy travel and projects (that I’m behind on). Every blog post and tweet that you see is me, including all the errors and typos that come along with them. I will admit that sometimes, I even updated blog posts after they publish, to polish it up. I skim all my emails, read many, but if I answer, I promise you that’s always me. I may not be good at scaling my social efforts, but I assure you, I’m authentic, warts and all.

I can relate to those who don’t scale well. If you’ve ever met me at an event this last year, you may have noticed dark circles under my eyes, and somewhat of a flustered appearance. I recently had a long talk with a good friend yesterday, when I’m tired from traveling nearly every week, you may notice that I actually draw my strength from within or being online, not always from others. So if I’ve ever came across as a bit messy and sapped, I certainly don’t intend to, I’m just stretched to the limit at times. 

So what happened to transparency and authenticity?  Maybe it’s the econony, with less resources, and more pressure, we’re all being stretched to the limits.  Or maybe, this is the evoluation of every industry, music, art, and film started out simple and pure, then became institutionalized. Or maybe, I just never bothered to look  close enough.

Update: Chris Saad, who inspired me to write this, has responsed from his own blog. Paid content highlights the challenges. This post has generated a lot of discussion from my friends as I meet them in person, interesting.