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Social Media Litter vs. Valid Content

Recently, Allyson Kapin of FrogLoop posted a blog post on social media contests: Online Fundraising Contests: Effective or Digital Litter. I thought this was pretty intriguing because it brought up the question of what is valid content in social media, anyway?

Trashy Cats
Trashy Cat photo courtesy of funadium

“Litter”, as I imagine it in the social media sense, is a category of content types (tweets, blog posts, updates, etc.) that one ignores as something that is annoying or of no value to whoever is reading it. Disposable. However, some social media sites like Twitter find value in disposability. “Tweets” are limited to 140 characters and rather than the actual post being that which you care about, they usually announce something that you then research further or they redirect you themselves with a shortened URL.

If you agree with my thought that tweets are disposable, then where does the valid/litter distinction come in? Could all tweets be considered “litter” in the social media sense? Is it more “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” situation where “litter” is in the eye of the beholder? Or is there more of a black and white situation that nonprofits or organizations can live by to ensure their social media efforts are not litter similar to the belief that everyone thinks that telephone marketers are from the devil?

What do you think? What about other social media sites? How is their “litter” different?

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