A recent post by Kami Huyse and my own stream of followers prompted me to write this post. In Kami's recent post, "Painting by Number: Bringing Blog Content to Life by Coloring the Canvas," she lists the below rule:
Learn the rules and then break them intelligently: Every community has a culture, until you know and respect the culture, you can't start breaking the rules.
I am not talking about blogging, but microblogging...sites like Twitter and Plurk. (We can debate the term microblogging another time.) I have learned from being on Twitter that the rules of culture and etiquette, among other things, for the most part, expect a reciprocate follow to a follower.
Well, I am breaking that rule...intelligently.
Here's the thing, as more people and companies become aware of Twitter and Plurk, they don't take the time to see what the culture is like. By not taking the time to do so, they don't see that most folks on Twitter are real people with real names. And from now on I am not following them back.
The other day, after checking out a follower's profile (to make sure they weren't a spammer, etc.), I followed them. Then response I received: "Thanks. You can check out my website here [link] to learn all about me and what I blog about." What the...?!
Another favorite: "Thanks for the follow. Be sure to follow my company too. And check out our site." Ah, sorry, no. How about we chat first?
And my #1 favorite: "Thanks. If you don't subscribe to my blog, be sure to do so today via RSS." What am I, just a number to you?
Today as I was going through my followers, I was greeted by all kinds of avatars (some creepy), crazy names, and one-line descriptions (if any). It was very enlightening.
Here are are some tips to people and companies who want to join the conversation on Twitter, Plurk, identi.ca, etc.
- Use a name, a real name, somewhere. If you don't want to use a name, I suspect you aren't ready to engage in social media or a conversation. I can't have a conversation with "BugGurlz" (okay, I made that up, but you know what I mean.)
- Don't use Susie234 as a name, spammers do that.
- Use a photo of yourself, not an avatar. Okay, well, I can deal with an avatar if I have other proof you are human and not a spammer (as in a real name somewhere and a description).
- Fill out the description. And not just a one-liner ("I am a blogger.") Tell us who you are and what you are about; otherwise, why should anyone follow you?
- If you are a company, designate a real person to your Twitter/Plurk/identi.ca account and let them have a voice.
I feel at a disadvantage. You know my name, what I do, what I am interested in and all about me (or at least what I share on Twitter & Plurk). I am asking you to reciprocate. You might be a real person with whom I could have a great conversation with or perhaps a business relationship...but we will never know.
Trust me, being real will benefit you more than meâ€"really.
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