I really dislike where we are headed in the area of cross-posting. Cross-posting is when you submit your content to one location online and then have that service automatically disseminate it to your other social media accounts. With most sites offering cross-posting ability, duplication is becoming a big issue. However, my real gripe with cross-posting is a philosophical one. I believe that cross-posting inhibits conversation, which is at the heart of what makes Social Media so valuable.
My beef with cross-posting is not with the theory behind it. I think the idea of submitting content once and saving you the work of posting elsewhere is extremely useful in certain cases. For example, if I take pictures and post them to Facebook I might also want to post them to Flickr for my non-Facebook friends. In the above example there is a specific reason to post to another website. However, what I have been observing is cross-posting for no apparent reason other than to “just get it out there”. Services like Ping.fm and posterous are making this practice easier than ever to do.
The “just get it out there” mentality where one submits their content online across all of their 50 social networks at once is a disturbing trend. I understand the necessity for some things to be disseminated to all of your social networks but that is the exception in my opinion. I truly believe that the value in social media is in the conversation. When you mass disseminate your content using cross-posting you lose out on engaging with people around your content. Services like DISQUS are helping but the reality is that the more places you submit your content, the more spread out and less valuable the conversation around it becomes.
I personally feel that when someone is cross-posting to dozens of accounts they are saying, “Hey look at my stuff!” On the other hand, I feel that people who post content to select sites online are inviting others in those communities to engage in dialogue with them. I understand that this might be different for businesses but if you are an individual using social media I feel that it is a fair characterization. I think too many people feel that the more places they are online the better. With new sites cropping up everday it’s easy to do. However, it’s about quality not quantity. If you view it the other way I think your missing out. For me, Social Media is a tool to connect with others and engage in conversation.
I would love to hear your thoughts on cross-posting, please offer a comment below.