Is this Fish Bowl Half Empty?

Photo cred: Joe Plocki
Photo cred: Joe Plocki

I know I know.  The fishbowl is the dark buzzword of the social media space.  The mere mention of the word can send one to the dark side, questioning social media values and speaking against the leaders of the movement!

My definition of the “Social Media Fishbowl” concept: The social media space is a tight community of professionals who tend to communicate with, agree with and repeat each other causing them to lose sight of the big picture outside of the “social media fishbowl”.

Even I have written about problems with “back patting” in the social media space…

…but what about the bright side of the fishbowl?

Gone are the days of cut-throat business tactics…not in our bowl. Our focus on networking, and willingness to help each other out may have caused us to be less critical of each other, but it has also created a circle of people you can trust to help you when times are rough, and support you in all of your endeavors.

Name another professional field where you can announce a huge career change, one that might actually compete with others’ business, and still enjoy the support of hundreds in the same space? (Notice how highly I recommend Arik in the comments, if you’re looking for a social media agency)

Try taking a shot at someone in our fishbowl and see the response you get.  It won’t get you much more than some temporary buzz.  We know who’s genuine and will support those that we trust, all the way.

Perhaps you’re down in luck and you need a a little help. (I’ll never get tired of reading this story)

The social web is full of random acts of kindness.

Few other professional fields can say they enjoy such an amazing support system.  It’s something to be proud of.

Perhaps the fishbowl isn’t so bad after all.  It’s important to shake it up once in a while to stay keen and critical.  We just have to remember that the walls are clear, and to explore the world outside of them.  If we can recognize that, and remember to stay respectful of one another while remaining critical, perhaps we can truly make changes for the better in the world of business.

…and yes, I know, the fishbowl in the picture is neither half full nor half empty. You clever little…

20 thoughts on “Is this Fish Bowl Half Empty?

  1. I think the people that tout to be social media ‘experts’ or ‘gurus’ are the ones that make the fishbowl topic so taboo and sensitive. Some take everything they say like it’s the golden word, and aren’t willing to experiment outside it. It’s conformity at it’s worst. 🙂

    1. It’s usually those people that create the “echo-chamber” within the fishbowl. Fact is, there are forward thinkers and big picture strategists in this space. They’re just being overlooked when we speak out the fishbowl analogy.

      1. I don’t think they are being overlooked – the true thought leaders are being talked about by others. That’s the difference. There is no fishbowl with them – they are seeking out the people they feel are thought leaders, not someone shoving the fishbowl down their throat.

  2. I kinda like the fishbow, turbulance and all.
    As I traverse the ‘net daily, I find that I have two preferred places.
    One, inside the bowl looking out (“among” sm pros). It is here that I learn about using this medium daily, or get criticisms and ideas to play ith.
    Second, is outside the bowl, where, like a fish out of water, I apply what I “think” might work for my business. (I sell antiques, B&M and online).

    One day i’m busy following items of interest within the bowl, and the next day I’m thinking I need to dig up more contacts among my “local people” — my potential customers.

    The funny thing is, the “larger picture”, for millions of business people IS the potential customer, NOT the future of SM.

    It’s so cool to think that all that is happening inside the “fish bowl” is actually teaching this fish to swim well in the water outside it. What the fish outside the bowl does with those skills should be carefully watched by those inside.

    Isn’t that the whole point of the SM fishbowl?

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Vince. Rally like your point that “the “larger picture”, for millions of business people IS the potential customer, NOT the future of SM.” I agree completely. There are people in the social media fishbowl that are there because of social media, and there are people in the fishbowl that are spending a lot of time there because it’s part of the bigger business picture: The Customer.

  3. It’s easy to forget while in the fish bowl that many of the big fish spend a significant amount of their days talking to those outside of it!

    I mean, tweeting quickly doesn’t take that much time, so it can seems like some people are in the fishbowl all day, but the reality is the people who make the most out of this space walk away for a good chunk of time to do what counts in the real world.

    They come back when it’s time to reign the day in, drum up inspiration to write a blog post, or even just goof around with supportive colleagues who understand what they face on the job.

    It’s only a fish bowl when you don’t get out.

    1. Agreed. It’s those that don’t get out of the fishbowl that gives the space it’s “echo chamber” type issues. There might be a social media fishbowl…but it certainly doesn’t encompass the entire social media space.

  4. Im not sure if this has to do with what your talking about (read: I’m quite sure it doesn’t) but when I was in school I had two goldfish named Maverick and Iceman. I didn’t have a fishbowl for them so I kept them in an oversized wine glass. After a couple of days it was decidedly half full of dead fish. True story.

  5. Anyone who comes up with ideas these days probably has already been preempted by something else. The age of the internet allows for more people to find out a particular person’s brilliance though.

    Wonders when more people who are outside of social…but are brilliant will start coming in and cleaning house with some of the pretenders.

    1. I think there are already brilliant people in the space…but clearing out the pretenders is no easy task.

      …and yes, very few ideas are 100% original. In fact, the percentage is probably minuscule.

  6. A subtle but important point. I did not speak “against” anybody in my blog post. In fact, I admire many of them for their hard work and the risks they have taken to get to where they are now.

    I did speak up about certain behavioral observations — namely that there is a clubby protectionsism at the top — and many people agreed with me.

    Just wanted to clarify, David. Thanks for the reference and your examination of another point of view on the subject.

    1. My first paragraph was meant in jest. I forgot to include the tags. My fault.

      I am one of those that agreed with you…seriously. I just wanted to shine a light on the brighter side of the “fishbowl”. Like many things, it has its advantages, and its disadvantages.

      Thanks for the comment Mark. Look forward to connecting more.

  7. I agree that the fishbowl can be a positive thing and provide a support system, but I also think that the fishbowl can be quite “cliquey”- probably the clubby protectionism Mark is referring to.

  8. In our living room there are other fishbowls we also spend time with. Each fishbowl has it’s own little cast of very co-operative multi-coloured denizens I like to spend time with. So I’m wondering, is this the only fishbowl you have?

    Personally I care little about what happens in each fishbowl, so long as they don’t cause a spash and damage my fine oak flooring.

    The view from my living room is awsome 🙂

    1. It’s true. I’d even dare to say that the entirety of business is a network of fishbowls! Maybe the key is to venture out into other fishbowls once in a while…see what the fish elsewhere are thinking.

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