The other day I blogged about what I perceived to be trends in the way Twitter is being used. It started out as a "presence" app, then morphed to an announcement app, but now is more of a passive IM where the principle behavior seems to be people interacting with each other more than broadcasting messages at large. It's commendable that the powers that be at Twitter have adapted the platform to accommodate this type of use.
One of the ways I was using Twitter was as a broadcast mechanism to generate awareness of my blog posts. That's become to feel almost like spam, and I said so in the aforementioned post on the topic. Turns out, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Benn Rosales, a blogger at AgentGenius, does too. In fact, he calls such people "social lepers."
"I define a social leaper as one who markets using a social media platform, yet has no online interaction with those that consume the media. You're simply spam, don't do it," suggests Benn. I couldn't agree more with that point.
Twitter is not the only site where that behavior is prevalent. Facebook has its share of social leperism as well. On more than one occasion, I've received a friend request to which I've obliged, only to be "pitched" by the person soon thereafter. No personal interaction. No getting to know me. The person is just using social media as another way to hawk their wares. It doesn't work. Or, at least, I hope it doesn't.
The thing that troubles me most is that I've been guilty of the same thing myself. So, here I am, the pot calling the kettle black. Just the other day I tagged a group of influentials in a Facebook note. Even though they were in my network, many of them I have had little interpersonal contact with. And I got egg on my face for doing so. It's a lesson learned I won't quickly forget, and a mistake I vow never to repeat.
Where Twitter is concerned, I can hold my head a little higher at least. While I do announce new posts there, most of my time is spent interacting with peers (or saying some unusually inane things...just to get attention, you know).
My marketing mantra these days is, "Markets are conversations, and participation is marketing." In a Web 2.0 world, don't pitch me if you haven't taken the time to get to know me. That's good advice for all of us to take, me included.
PS: Chris Brogan has a wonderful polemic on the role social media plays in marketing. Well worth reading.
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