It is an interesting question and something I have previously thought about as well. Why is it, so many people feel uncomfortable discussing social media?
Discomfort discussing Social Media stems from two basic issues.
First, most folks still do not have even a rudimentary grasp as to what ‘social media’ is. Gaining an understanding is made more difficult by those ‘in the know’ professing ‘everyone is using’ a particular item. For instance, I’ve been to a number of social media presentations, or presentations having a related segment, where the presenter boldly states, ‘Everyone’s using Twitter…’ or the like. Fast Company’s November ‘09 issue discussed Twitter, saying,’…69% of U.S. adults still have no idea what it is.’
This sort of false perception development only serves to further isolate those who get it, from those who do not. If ‘everyone’ is doing something, do you want to admit being among an ignorant minority? Most people don’t. For the moment at least, we will continue to have a majority of people who just ‘do not’ get it. This leads to my second item…
The second issue is that there are a number of ‘social media experts’ proliferating all over the place now. Social Media, in the form we think of it today, has only been around for perhaps 3 years. Yes, blogs have been around for 10-12 years, but only really popular in the last 4-5. Social networking’s been around a little while as well. However only with the maturing of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, has that medium gained strength and become credible. In my view, its not until the last 24 months even, that we -really- have what we might ‘today’ consider ‘social media,’ a culmination of everything more or less working together.
So, why the unease? I believe it comes from a lack of knowledge. This lack of knowledge fuels unease with a given topic…where no one wants to show their ignorance. And, this leads to a distrust of supposed ‘experts’ since many have no way of evaluating for themselves what is real, and what is snake oil.