Thursday, March 12, 2009

Social Networking is not Spam Networking

I love social networking - facebook, twitter, etc. - but I'm getting weary of everyone trying to turn what's supposedly "social" into a way to try to sell - promote - market - advertise something. I'm fed up. It's called SOCIAL networking. It's not designed for you to use it to ram your product down my throat. It's where you're supposed to connect with people, and be social, not advertise your latest widget. Is there nowhere we can go online to just be social without people abusing the system?

It's like when someone invites you to lunch and you think they want to visit with you, when really what they want to do is pick your brain about some project they have going. At least be honest with me. If you get me to lunch under false pretenses, and I happen to already be in a bad mood, I might give you some really bad advice. "No, really, I think the printed condoms are really the way to go... absolutely... it's innovative... no one else is doing it... it's the best idea ever."

I've been using facebook and twitter for awhile, and it has only become so commercial in the last few months. It's like there was a seminar somewhere that told everyone to start using facebook to promote anything that crossed their minds. Well, I'm telling you - stop it. You're going to run off all of the actual humans who are just here for social networking and then you're just all going to be promoting to other promoters.

I don't mind a facebook group that's designed for the purpose of promotion. I know what I'm getting into. And it may well be that I am interested in what is offered there. I wouldn't have signed on if I weren't. But don't create an ID that leads me to believe you want to be social if all you really want is to promote something.

Let me explain... "social" means you interact with people. It does not mean it's a one way street of you just dropping your promotion into my world. There are systems set up to accommodate things like blog entries... they show up in your feed... if people want to read them, they can. I welcome the occasional note about a particularly interesting blog, event, link, etc. but if that's your whole reason for being on twitter or facebook that's not social, that's spam.

Yes, I can block you, unfollow you or unfriend you. And I have. And I will again. But why do you want to make me go to that work? Why aren't you just honest up front and let me decide if I want to get your promotional announcements or not? I know why. Because if you were honest no one would accept you into their list. This is NOT the way to win friends and influence people. This is the way to tick people off.

There's a backlash coming. I'm no self-proclaimed social networking guru or anything, (many of whom are social spammers themselves) but you can mark my words. It's a comin'. Just like a thunderstorm you can't see but you can feel in the air. We're annoyed by spam in our email, and we're going to get ruthless about spam in our social networking.

Yeah, we have the control in social networking. But, you know what, we have the control in email too and it doesn't stop people from raising their blood pressure to dangerous extremes when they get yet another viagra ad. (And when did the vast majority of men become impotent anyway. I've not witnessed this problem myself, but given the number of ads for such things it must be an epidemic. But I digress.)

We could all just delete our email spam but whole industries have sprung up around ridding us of that pesky stuff. The same thing is about to happen to social spam, too. I'm not saying it will happen next week, but I'm saying it's a comin'.

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2 comments:

Wendy said...

I'm absolutely new to twitter and so far I'm enjoying it. I avoided it for a long time because I was scared of being spammed to death, but so far so good (of course, I'm only on day one so we'll see)

I think some people make the mistake of believing that because they want to sell something that everyone else obviously wants to buy it (your printed condoms-- do they come in pink with tribal designs?)

Patsy Terrell said...

As twitter becomes more and more popular I think the spamming is going to be a bigger problem. But, at the moment it's easy to block those folks. It's a fun way to be in touch with lots of folks, and people can be really witty in 140 characters. Unfortunately, I've not mastered that yet!