Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

When you become an expert adventurer (oh snap… am I claiming to have expertise on a subject? Sure am!), having everything served up to you on a silver platter by way of online recommendations gets a little stale. I miss the surprise injections of ideas and stimuli from parties outside my social circles. Surfing through Facebook, flipping through photos on Instagram, aimlessly watching Twitter feeds waiting for something interesting to pop out and catch my eye… in moments, most of my connections seem to be talking about the same topic, taking photos of the same subject matter and so on. My only saving grace is the odd witty caption, joke or sarcastic remark from a few people who are known for such. I’m understanding why many of you only chose to follow a dozen or so highly entertaining people.

My world is about digging up what others know little about. And while online tools still help me do this, it’s now become more like rummaging through the piles that most people would pass by in order to find those little golden nuggets. What I once loved about the interwebs was that most of it was unknown. We were still pioneering it. And it was a haven from the relatively ridiculous and mundane  behaviours that had taken over things like email (Forward this to 15 people on your list or you’ll have bad sex for a year!). Now it’s getting to a point where it’s becoming a civilized place to live. We’re appointing sheriffs and local law enforcement to keep the peace so we can all co-exist. But in that, if it means tolerating the overwhelmingly useless dribble or spending hours putting the right filters into place to weed it out… quite frankly, I think I’d rather just go elsewhere.

It turns out, elsewhere is “offline.” What? Seriously… hitting the streets, walking through doors I’ve never opened without having looked it up online, picking up books to read based solely on the cover (or off the recommendation of the staff in the bookstore who can’t ever shut up about the last insane book they read)… yes, finding the real nerds. Social networks are making the world too big. And when it gets too big, it loses its value for me. It’s harder to connect, harder to have genuinely interesting conversations. So, see you later interwebs. I’ll be back to use you for writing and publishing and the sort, but as far as supporting my adventuring pastimes, you just aren’t bringing me what I need. Expect an exodus of the nerds in the coming months. Surely, I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Don’t be a douche bag.

In case you need a few guidelines, here’s my list of the top 4 ways to guarantee your social media douche baggery:

  1. Use a service like customtwitter.biz to inflate your follower count. Douche bags need to buy friends.
  2. Promote, promote, promote. And only yourself. Douche bags don’t care what other people are doing, only that you pay attention to what they’re doing.
  3. Spread the love for douche baggery… like telling other people it’s actually a good idea to buy Twitter followers.
  4. Try to slip us a fast one. Like an affiliate link without disclosing the fact that it’ll make you money. It’s cool if it’s relevant and you’re providing value (hey, we all need to make a living). It’s douchey if you’re just here to make a fast buck.

Got more tips on how to be a social media douche bag? Write ‘em below!

I’ve been around the interwebs a long time. And I’ve seen my fair share of behaviour. I’ve been caught up in the rantings of internet trolls, excited by extreme uses of social sites, overwhelmed by trying to keep up with as much as I can… and I’ve come out the other end with sanity restored. If you’re still trying to get there, here are some tips that might help:

1. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. This is the most important for maintaining sanity. Internet trolls just seem to like to provoke people. How do you recognize them? Easy. They complain. You try and make them happy. They complain more. The cycle continues and you end up nowhere. Break the cycle. Respond once in the same forum they have. Move on.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make a social media editorial schedule (a tip I picked up from Matt Clark, @itstrue). Follow it as consistently as you can. If it takes you more than an hour to fill it out, you’re taking too much time. Schedule less tweets until you become more proficient. Speaking of scheduling, auto-schedule your tweets and updates (I use Hootsuite)! Just fill the in-between with real conversation.

3. Use the social media rule of thirds. Post one-third content from other people, one-third that’s on topic for you and one-third that’s personal.

4. Lists are your friends. Make topical lists on Twitter wherever you can. Check in on the important ones once a week and comment to people you’d like to connect more with. Don’t worry about everyone else.

5. Be selective about your interactions. Don’t worry about being everyone’s best friend. They don’t want or need you to be. Keep your focus on what you think is relevant and chances are you’ll attract similar minded people.. thus making you relevant either way. Nay-sayers? See point number 1.

6. Quality over quantity, my friend. Always. Don’t have time to spend a quality 10 minutes getting the most out of your time online? Don’t. I’m an advocate about doing as much as you can yourself, but if you must, hire somebody else to get you started. Social media and online marketing are supportive mediums. They’re also amplifiers. Positive word of mouth gets around online. So does the negative. Make sure you’ve got a solid foundation and processes to work from. Then dive in to telling everyone about it.

7. Take a day off, or a week. The interwebs will still be there when you get back. I promise. And it really won’t take you as long as you think to get back in the swing of things. Double promise.

8. Stay realistic about your expectations, whether of online results or of people. Be clear. Be direct. Be confident enough to ask for what you want. If we don’t see your one update about something, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we’re busy people too.

9. Set loose goals. Yep, loose. And change them often to suit your needs. The goal is progress, not perfection. Can’t keep up with 10 updates a day? Bring it down to 5. Not sure what your goals should be? Don’t let that stop you, if you’ve got the time, experiment. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but if people stop talking about social media catastrophes like BP (not to make light of the actual environmental catastrophe preceding it), surely they won’t remember yours.

10. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Right, I said that one already, but it’s the most important point! For real, that’ll save you hours.

You’re welcome!

Bonus: When writing blog posts, never publish your first draft without rereading several hours later, or even better, the next day. (Caveat: Unless you’re at least halfway through a bottle of wine).

There are all these studies and criteria going on about how to use social media, how many times a day to post, what kind of content to post, measuring the ROI… blah blah blah. Yeah, blah.

There are people to whom those numbers mean something. I am not one of them. Why? Well, because part of me believes that it takes away some of the sparkle of what made whatever we’re building special to begin with. And the other part of me remembers a time when Twitter was little, and Robert Scoble talked about how he had left it for ages and ages and somehow, his follower count miraculously kept growing. WTF? Where’s the study for that one?

Call it the exception to the rule if you want. I think it’s the rule we’re not looking  at. The one that says if you’re being yourself and building something awesome, the consistency and frequency of your posts has no relevance in the end. Don’t tell that to the data people though, they might freak out and argue against it.

But think about it, if all of our energy and focus was on being ourselves instead of trying to figure out what in the world our followers, fans, community, etc. wanted, we’d be, well, exactly where we are today. But if each of us focused more on our own interests, on what we think creates value in the everyday? Frack, there’d probably be a helluva lot more Robert Scobles in the world.

I’ve developed a disdain for anyone using the term “guru” or “expert” to identify anyone they deem knowledgeable on a subject. Why? Because somehow, in the last five years, it’s become a faux-pas to be confident in your knowledge base. The early social media goers who were throwing around the word like a smear of J on their PB abused it. Wrecked it. Made the rest of us all suspicious (serious generalization, I’d like to think I’m not alone here, but then again, it could just be me) of anyone who might possibly think they know what they’re talking about.

WTF social media goers? Why’d you have to go and be that way? Now I question everyone and everything. And eff, it’s exhausting sometimes. Here you are, making me skeptical of everyone and checking out their credibility for myself before I believe a word they’re saying. Seriously, what gives?

It’s not even as though this stops in the online realm. The minute anyone uses the “e” word, I get that look on my face. Haven’t seen it yet? Just refer to yourself as the “e” word in my presence and keep your eyes locked on my facial expression. You’ll see it.

You’ve created a monster. An inquisitive, questioning, not-as-trusting-as-I-once-was monster. It’s like, I won’t trust anyone’s knowledge any more until I’ve done the background check and appropriate research to figure out if I think said person actually knows what they’re talking about. And in a world where everyone can be a publisher, it’s more time-consuming than ever. Double checking your facts because I’m not sure you’re telling the truth to begin with… how dare you challenge my once naive trust like that.

Thank goodness there’s this thing called the internet that I can at least use for my due diligence. If you’re talking social media talk and calling yourself a guru, I can creep your Twitter profile, your Facebook page and other realms of yours in order to make up my own mind. I can find out when you’re speaking next (or if you’re speaking at all) and suss out your skeezy used car salesman vibe vs. your genuine will to help people. And if you’re claiming expertise in an area I know nothing about, and you also happen to not have any kind of internet presence for me to verify what you’re talking about? Well, it’s more likely I’ll go look for your colleague who has spent the time to ensure I can at least find a bit of information about them.

See? Ruined!