McAdams On: Media Fatigue, July 29, 2011

CYBERTRIX:I realize I should be obsessing about the pending national default as I write this, but all I care about is getting it done so I can take a day off. I can’t imagine that members of Congress don’t feel the same way, but stubborn is as stubborn does. Even a mule knows when taking action is in its own best interest. No offense to mules.

But I digress because I am absolutely, positively, squarely and certainly burnt out on news and the derivatives thereof this week. By “news,” I mean Obama versus Boehner versus Reid versus common sense, with spectrum auctions or not in a debt-ceiling bill while LightSquared and Sprint exchange vows, one broadcaster sues another over a quintopoly, the stock market leaps and drops like a cat in a hayfield, and perhaps most tragically, Jesse James and Kat Von D break up.

OK, that last thing wasn’t necessary, but rather gratuitous simply for the absurdist purposes. But I know about it whether I want to or not because I spend far, far too much time online.

As a digital journalist, it is my sacred duty to engage and leverage social media such that I draw the maximum amount of attention to myself. In school, such behavior was frowned upon. Now, it’s stock in trade. It is no longer enough to simply publish or broadcast a piece of information. Oh, contraire. One must also share it on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Slashdot, Delicious, LinkedIn, Reddit, Blogger, Wordpress, TypePad, Delicious, Newsvine, Technorati, Mixx, Bebo, Xanga, Arto, Baidu, Blip, Blogged, BuddyMarks, Brainify, Corkboard, Buzz, Reader, Kaboodle, Plaxo, Orkut, Tumblr and, of course, Squidoo.

And conversely, one must know what’s going on in social media, and try to make sense of it. Thus, I have a Twitter feed that now reads: “Everett Withers (sorry about that spelling) was defensive coordinator,” “Song allegedly written about murdered woman,” “Dog shot with crossbow has to be euthanized,” “SC peaches pitted against Georgia’s,” “Is it time to invest in gold?” “Jefferson County has another week to decide what to do,” “Jason Young posting bond,” and so on and so forth. These are just the tweets from TV news organizations. I’m trying to ascertain how TV news organizations are using Twitter and social media in general to engage viewers can keep them informed. I have come up with at least one definitive conclusion: I haven’t the vaguest idea.

I don’t think I’m alone. I’m not convinced anyone in media has developed a social media strategy, other than not being there is bad. It’s bit like being at the social event of the year with 5,000 of your closest friends all talking to themselves at the same time. Sometimes you just want to slip outside and talk to the dog or any other form of life that doesn’t have its nose stuck to an iPhone or a Blackberry. So if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to get some air . . .