I still can't believe there are some people who so brazenly abuse this great opportunity we call the Social Web.
You don't really need to look around much to realise we're in social media's era of disruption. You only need to take a look at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs - do I need to mention email?
As I see that, despite our efforts, there are still many people who just don't get it, I'll make it easier for everyone: I'm going to tell you what doesn't work. So, please, stop bugging us, don't be a zit standing at the end of our nose. However much you insist, you won't convince us. We'll be squeezing you out as soon as we can.
Action Protocol against the misuse of Social Media
I've drawn up a small action protocol against any misuse of social media, divided into areas:
LinkedIn is here to connect with people; not to sell. For me, it's a bit like love: you don't usually love someone you've only just met madly. First, there's an attraction, then complicity, connection, touch, alignment, relationship, a consolidation and suddenly, "I'm in love with you". What would make you think this is different in LinkedIn (and across the Social Web)? If what you're after is selling, then go out on the street, set up a stall and start selling. Good luck with your adventures, you'll need it! Tip: remember to get some marketing going on with your stall.
Something's not quite right... Every day, someone sends you private message on LinkedIn advertising a product "that will save the world" or you get a message from an agency that will miraculously make your company sell and get out of recession. I quickly visit their profile and feel let down when their professional skills don't include "magician and illusionist". Suddenly, as if by magic, you have one less connection in your network.
What can you say about that impersonal LinkedIn message that starts with "Hello friend" and finishes with "Please visit my website, share as much as you can, tell all your friends and everyone you know in the world... oh, and will you buy such and such from me"? I only want you to buy from me, do what I ask for, benefit me and you won't see me again... until, that is, I need something else from you.
If we contact you via LinkedIn, don't answer via email. That's something more personal, that would require certain closeness and the intention of taking a step further. Don't do so until there has already been some bonding or the other person suggests continuing the conversation via email.
Why do you keep inviting people to your events on Facebook? Better still, why do you continue inviting everyone? If you're in Madrid and your event's in London, what makes you think they'll be going? What do they get in return? Have you ever asked yourself whether they've ever attended them? And if they've done so, did you ask for any feedback? What was the aim of your event? Oh, I know! Using the event as a brick you can chuck at my head to see whether people will pay more attention after the blow. I believe there's other more subtle ways of doing this!
Let's continue with Facebook events... 95% of the events created are mere self-promotional devices that seek nothing else but to get your message across. Don't you realise we're sick of your message? You can continue sending us events, that's OK. We'll just hit the "Unfriend" button.
Facebook apps: Surely, you've lost count on the number of invites received to apps such as "Texas Hold'em Poker". The exact same number as we've rejected them. Again, "unfriend".
Quit sending DMs on Twitter to promote your initiatives. One's fine, two's OK, even three. After that, the dark side's taken over you and the only thing you're thinking of is your post getting the largest possible number of visits so that it's shared by hundreds of thousands of people. Then you'll keep coming back, again and again... until we tire of you and never pay attention to you again. You had it coming!
It's OK if we don't follow you on Twitter. Many people don't follow us but we don't lose our mind about it. Our head's still screwed on, don't you think?
Sharing one of your posts once doesn't give you the right to mention me or send other people a private message or email them every time you post something new. Consider that other people are also waiting to be discovered, people who, just like you, do some great stuff. Don't try hogging everything. Besides, relevant content always get out there; always.
We all want comments on our blog, getting shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn... That's great. I'd also like that. However, I don't think that's the right approach. Perhaps you should consider, what do you do towards that? Have you started first? Practice reciprocity.
Do you think that having our email address entitles you to contacting us? Think twice before sending it unless you have a good reason. We always feel entitled; in fact, everyone has 2,000 reasons to email us every day. That's exactly the point. Email is something personal and direct. You have the same right to contact us as we have of answering back. I hope that makes sense to you.
We're so often absorbed by our own reality that we forget about other people's. We believe that only what's going on with us in important and relevant, forgetting other people's everyday battles. We're here to help but you're not alone. Just like you, there are many other people who need us, some more than others. If you want to contact us, be brief, to the point, concise and clear. That's the best way we may be able to help, so start there!
It's OK if we can't help you, please understand. Accept it, be thankful for trying and move forward. Complaining, attacking or throwing a tantrum won't change a thing. You'll be wasting your time. Look for someone who can help you and continue with your drawings.
If we don't have people who help us, we can't reach more people, people who really need it. Please forgive us for wanting to help more people - otherwise, none of the emails we've already exchanged would've been answered.
More to come
Maybe the things I wrote here have to do with you; perhaps not. People should understand that we can do our job better or worse and that at some given point, we're bound to fail. In fact, the more we do, the more we can move forward. Take whatever is useful for you and use it any time anyone tries to corrupt your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Email with excessive marketing and communication based on non-communication.
What's your point of view on this? What would you add?
Photo credit: Cait Hurley.