In one camp, you have Twitter streams driven by twitterfeed, rolling out headline after headline with no attempt to add value beyond distribution. On the other are Twitter streams full of conversations in the public stream and sharing of others content.
We need an Organic Social Media movement and we can learn from both the benefits and practices of the organic food movement. Here are just a few of the parallels between the two.
Organic Uses Natural Inputs
Crops grow naturally. Without high doses of nutrients pushing extreme levels of growth or supplemental potassium adding bulk without nutritional value, the resulting product is more valuable.
Similarly, social media allowed to grow organically produces a stronger and more valuable community. It is an engaged audience, not one with artificial bulk developed with Like campaigns or using tools like TweetAdder.
Organic Leaves the Soil In Better Condition
Social media marketers need to constantly improve the condition of the market they serve. A healthy community is your soil, you cannot grow without it.
Pushing the community to maximum production and short term profit with minimum inputs depletes the community, much like some farmers deplete the soil by using strong fertilizers and not replacing the organic matter and micronutrients that are depleted every year.
Organic Supports Diversity
Organic farms support 30% more wildlife diversity, with a broader range of wildlife from birds to butterflies.
Organic social media grows out of being social. An organic social media presence will naturally extend to more locations, commenting on blog posts or responding to polls shared by others in the community. This diversity stems naturally from being part of the community rather than attempting to be a place the community frequents.
Organic Is Good for Everyone
A recent study showed exposure to certain pesticides doubled the rate of melanoma in farmers, and this is just one of many illustrations of the damages of modern agriculture. Organic is about far more than just the nutritional content of the food that is produced, it has an impact through the entire chain.
In social media, a pure focus on immediate profits harms the community. It uses your audience to drive immediate return, with no regard for or contribution to their long-term welfare. It creates noise and saps time, money and energy from your audience.
Organic social media is slower and it requires more time and energy. Some will question if the resulting community is really more valuable. Others will acknowledge the value, but question if it justifies the increased cost.
A great example is Tom Johansmeyer’s article, Accelerate Growth: 5 Secrets to Achieving Organic Social Media Growth. He sees the value, but does not believe it is worth the time, and his “secrets” are certainly not 100% organic.
I am a proponent of organic gardening and organic social media. The end product is more expensive, but it is more valuable, and I feel far better about the positive impact organic practices have throughout both ecosystems.
Your turn, are you a proponent of organic or modern practices, and why? Share your view, on gardening or social media, here in the comments or with me on Twitter.
All pictures were taken in my garden this spring. Naturally, it is organic.