Chris Brogan has spoken: the social crash is upon us. And “Ambient Connectivity” is the solution.

I can’t argue the first half of that, and I don’t; I’ve been telling you for quite some time that even as we look for new ways to do social networking and engage our clients and potential clients and enact the business change that this new world calls for we need to scale back on the volume of social networking we do. Quantity simply doesn’t equal quality.

If the story Chris told in his post yesterday wasn’t such a train wreck I wouldn’t be thinking about it or passing it along to you. As smart as Chris is, he hasn’t said anything new in about a year now and has fallen into a pattern where he does little more than scream “rah rah!“. I’m bored with it, and while I’ve commented on Mr. Brogan’s activities a few times I had pretty much decided that until he said something new I wasn’t going to talk about Chris Brogan any more.

Oh man.

Let’s remember that the point of social networking is to engage the people you’re “targeting”. I could use a nicer-sounding word than that, but whether it’s business, personal, or whatever the word target is about as accurate a descriptor as I can come up with.

In describing the in-progress “social crash”, Chris held his own situation up as an example. Fair enough; Chris Brogan is connected in ways the rest of us can only dream of, and I believe that his experiences are about as valid and representative as anybody’s. And the short of it is that Chris Brogan, social networking and business expert, is now suggesting that people who are in his social network shouldn’t expect to be engaged by him. Euphemistically, he referred to the need for “ambient connectivity” in a world where there are more people trying to get his attention then he has the time or inclination to interact with directly.

Here’s the problem: Chris is right. Neither he nor anyone in his position can possibly keep up with it all personally. But because Chris Brogan’s digital peeps BELIEVE they have a “real” relationship with him, he has no choice but to keep them thinking so, unless A) he just doesn’t care or B) he thinks they “got it” when he floated his ambient connectivity idea.

Oh they got it. Brogan spoke the truth, and used that truth to disconnect from the people who thought they were connected.

I hate to use so trite an example as an Eminem song, but what Chris Brogan is suggesting smacks of “of course I want you as a fan, but you shouldn’t expect anything in return”.

And that ain’t “social”. It’s demagoguery. Good luck with that in a social networking world.

The real answer is that when your social networking needs outpace your ability to keep up with them you need either to start employing someone to handle the overrun, or stop acting in a way that is so clearly faux social. Or better yet, both.

By the way: I posted a response to Chris’ story that made many of these same points. While critical it was certainly on-topic, and polite. And it got deleted. Apparently “social” in Chris Brogan’s world includes editing what the world thinks of you. I retract this. My comment has been reinstated, or I missed it earlier.

But what do I know? It’s not like taking care of impossible situations like this is what I do. Ambient Connectivity. REALLY?

Oh wait . . . it is . . .

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