I think the number one threat to social media is the echo chamber.
Online social media is an amazing thing. One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it’s a scale free network. This is the phenomena that create viral videos. People, companies or their agencies don’t create viral videos, scale free networks create viral videos. Scale free networks are why once you get to the top it’s infinitely easier to stay on top. This is why when Robert Scoble posts something on FriendFeed it gets dozens of likes and comments (seriously EVERY single thing).
The downside of this attribute is what we call the echo chamber. I don’t have to follow Seth Godin‘s blog because so many people will share his most recent post on Twitter or in their Google Reader. I used to not (but I do now) follow TechCrunch because of the same reason. If you’re on FriendFeed you don’t have to follow Robert because someone else in your network will like it and it will show up in your feed.
The problem is that it leads to group think. We’re all reading the same blog posts, following the same people ipn Twitter, linking to the same things and drinking the same Kool-Aid. It’s dangerous. It’s this kind of group think that leads really smart people to miss really obvious things (mortgage crisis anyone?).
That is why I try not to share links from the obvious sources, unless I REALLY feel they are worth while. This is why I spend so much time looking for the really good long tail blogs. I try and share posts on Twitter and this blog that most people aren’t talking about. This is why I break up my twitter posts with things like what I’m listening to on Pandora. And while it may not seem like it this is also why I’ve started sharing less stuff on Twitter and trying to write more posts here on my blog. Beyond 140 I can add context. I can expand why I agree or disagree