Friday, 21 September 2012

A Social Media Manifesto


What I Really Hate About Social Media
Robert Craven On Social Media
I am a great fan of social media. Honest. People have always talked and now those self-same conversations can go so much further and so much quicker. But I hate how most people use it.


So, let me draw together my list of pet hates:

I hate it when people I don’t know… send me blank friend requests
I don’t know who they are or what they do and yet they want to be my friend. They can’t even be bothered to introduce themselves. Drives me mad.



I hate it when people I don’t know… come across all matey and chatty
I am not your mate (after all I don’t recognise your name!) and I do not want to chat, so stop wasting my time.



I hate it when people… send luke-warm, insipid spam
I am fed up with messages from people I don’t know who invite me to things I am and never will be interested in. Just bog off.



I hate it when people… are over-automated
It drives me bonkers when people use a machine to pretend to be a real person that auto-responds or re-distributes material from another platform (but doesn’t do it seamlessly). Surely, as Scott Stratten says, social media isn’t about being everywhere but being great where you are.



I hate it when people... send blanket coverage articles
With no regard to the platform or group or circle, some people just bang out the same generalist/undifferentiated article to as many different people as possible. These articles are usually thinly-disguised calls to visit a website to buy a product you don’t really want. Stop it. This activity does your image no good.



I hate it when people... invite me to recommend or endorse strangers
Why would I endorse, recommend, endorse or ‘like’ you? I don’t know who you are and I am not about to invest my time figuring out who or what you are. Go away.



I hate it when people... steal

Taking someone else’s material is stealing. (See more at Content Curators Are The New Superheroes Of The Web .) It is stealing if:
  • You take content, use it and don’t add context or opinion or your own voice
  • You don’t provide attribution or a link or URL back to the original source
  • You just take a huge lump of content
  • The original author states that you cannot reproduce the material without permission and you don’t bother to get permission.

I hate it when people... waste my time

My time is my most valuable asset so please don’t waste my time and expect me to thank you for doing so.


Spam Business School
Somewhere in the Marketing Department at the Spam Business School is a doctrine of some spurious self-proclaiming internet super-guru (“look at me, I am so great, I know everything there is to know about something that is still unformed and developing and changing”).


The general ethos is:
  • Beg, steal, borrow and lie to get access to as many contact addresses as you possibly can
  • Do not care whether these people are in any way close, connected or interested in what you do
  • Grow the lists
  • Send and re-send and keep sending repeated thinly-disguised spam in the hope that you’ll get a response that justifies a return on your investment.

The alternative (and a much better one it is) is to let your reputation spread by word-of-mouth. Deliver legendary service and have the respect and belief in your clients that they will recognise your brand as having some integrity and that they will spread the word about you. There is a place for occasional ‘broadcasting’ to an opt-in list, but that is very different from endless spam.

The clue about social media and social business is in the common word, social. Social media may have been hijacked by the scurrilous double-glazing sales-types. It has also been hijacked by the big brands who see it as an effective (=cheap = good return on investment) route to market. For most of us, however, social media is about ENGAGEMENT and everything that entails. Faux engagement will be seen for what it is.

My Social Media Manifesto:
Do not:
  • send blank friend requests
  • come across all matey and chatty
  • send luke-warm, insipid spam
  • get over-automated
  • invite people to recommend or endorse strangers
  • steal
  • waste my time.
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