Let’s all dump on social media and Twitter

Truck-Dumping It must be the weekend because much like my post earlier today everyone seems to be lining up to take some shots at social media and even bigger shots at Twitter. It’s not that these things might not deserve it especially when we find out we have ghosts in the machine but really it does get a little old after awhile.

I’ve had three posts from earlier today lined up all ready to shotgun together a nice little rant and then Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins had to go and ruin the flow – more on that in a bit. For now though I just want to take a look at two specific posts from this morning because in of themselves they were some pretty good smack down. First up is a post from Douglas Karr over at The Marketing Technology Blog and while I’m not use to Douglas going on a rant like this, it definitely went well with the morning coffee.

His post called The Wicked Lies that Social Media Gurus Weave nicely stated much of what is wrong with the whole social media world right now. His basic point was that social media sites don’t come with instruction manuals. There is no right way or wrong way to use them regardless of what the gurus might be telling you. In the post he lists a bunch of things that people shouldn’t be telling those using the sites not to do

  • Don’t tell me I shouldn’t use auto direct messages on Twitter.
  • Don’t tell me I can’t sell on my blog.
  • Don’t tell me I must be publishing videos on YouTube.
  • Don’t tell me not to advertise… everywhere
  • Don’t tell me I need to participate in the conversation on Facebook
  • Don’t tell me I can’t send an email with one big image and no text in my email marketing campaign.
  • Don’t tell me not to cuss.

Just slicing and dicing Douglas’ list of don’t doesn’t do his whole post justice but for the most part I agree with what he had to say. As Chris Brogan said in a post some time back there is no right way or wrong way to do this social media thing – just your way.

So we follow this up with a post by Meg Pickard where she provides a list of things that in her eyes are just bad Twitter etiquette; or as Alan Patrick at Broadstuff called it “Twitterquette for Dummies”. For Meg any of the following is justifiable reasons for not following people

  • Endless retweeting
  • Posting link after link after link
  • Saying good morning, hello, good night to your followers
  • Going to an event and liveblogging it via Twitter
  • Using it to organise an event or rendezvous with other people who happen to be in your twitter list
  • Flooding the screen by updating 84 times in rapid succession
  • Referring to people as “tweeple” or “tweeps”, questions as “twestions” or “twask”, adding someone to your list as a “twadd”, use of “tweet” or any other kind of meaningless derivative which is wholly unnecessary and infantile.

Now I will say right off the bat that I am in total agreement with her last two items and the flooding one has caused me to un-follow more than one person recently. As for the rest – meh – chalk it up to be the nature of the new microblogging status updating world. Either live with or ignore what are pretty well minor irritations – it’s not that hard to do ‘cause I do it all the time.

Anyway this was  the ammunition I was going to work together into a fine end of a Friday night cranky post – that was until, like I said above, Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins had to go and rain on my cranky parade. While his post mainly centered around Meg Pickard’s post on Twitter much of what he says can equally apply to any of the social media sites we all use.

One of the things that makes Twitter, well, Twitter instead of something puzzlingly popular like MySpace or Facebook is the fact that it’s so versatile and used in an endless myriad of ways. People use it to update the world about their cats. People use it as a tool for journalistic reporting or discovery.  People use it as an opt-in chat room. People use it as a link blog. People use it as a mobile group messaging tool.

Bottom line?  It’s versatile.  And you have no business telling me the right way to use it.

The same thought could be applied to our blogs, to FriendFeed, to Facebook or any of the other growing number social media services. In the end it all boils down to what Chris Brogan said

Guess what? We’re all doing it wrong. Because we’re all doing it our own way, and it’s not always going to match the way you think it works best. And just like pretty much all of life, we’ll get there somehow. Thanks for sharing your opinion. Glad you got that off your chest.

Thank god we aren’t all the same or that we all use these services the same way. Thank goodness that we are learning new ways to do new things but in the end it is all about

having fun So everyone take a chill pill and have a great weekend.

17 Comments

  1. 27/03/09 at 21:09

    Doh! Didn't mean to spoil your hat trick! :-p

    Just trying to join in on the fun. :)

  2. 27/03/09 at 21:09

    Doh! Didn't mean to spoil your hat trick! :-p

    Just trying to join in on the fun. :)

  3. 27/03/09 at 21:23

    you probably made it better than it would have been Mark :)

  4. 27/03/09 at 21:23

    you probably made it better than it would have been Mark :)

  5. 28/03/09 at 0:54

    My rule of thumb there is like anything else – listen to the people you vibe with and then decide for yourself with your own testing. Since I didn't invent Twitter, I don't say how to use it – I say “this is how to use it if you want MY results). Of course, that's from being in website promotion since Yahoo was just a list of links… don't get me started on the people who use Facebook for two weeks and are suddenly “experts”.

  6. 28/03/09 at 0:54

    My rule of thumb there is like anything else – listen to the people you vibe with and then decide for yourself with your own testing. Since I didn't invent Twitter, I don't say how to use it – I say “this is how to use it if you want MY results). Of course, that's from being in website promotion since Yahoo was just a list of links… don't get me started on the people who use Facebook for two weeks and are suddenly “experts”.

  7. Quotes
    28/03/09 at 8:18

    Very well written post, I liked reading it, keep posts like this coming, you rock totally.

  8. 28/03/09 at 8:20

    Right, agreed – you can use anything any way you want, there are no rules. But auto dm'ing me or even emailing me things I didn't ask for to market to me is spam. There's no stopping people from email spamming me and they can and do every day. I don't have much recourse other than reporting it. I can't report spam in Twitter really, but that doesn't stop it from being spam !

    Other than that, agreed.

  9. 28/03/09 at 8:20

    Right, agreed – you can use anything any way you want, there are no rules. But auto dm'ing me or even emailing me things I didn't ask for to market to me is spam. There's no stopping people from email spamming me and they can and do every day. I don't have much recourse other than reporting it. I can't report spam in Twitter really, but that doesn't stop it from being spam !

    Other than that, agreed.

  10. 28/03/09 at 10:42

    Thanks Steven! Great post. Perhaps the reason why everyone is running to social media is the fact that its so empowering. Young people latch right on and don't give a crap about how to use it – they just do it. Older folks (like me) and businesses want direction… so all these asses are out there telling people 'how to use it' and it really gets under my skin. The single greatest feature of social media is that I can use it however the heck I want to… and so can businesses. They just need to be prepared for the consequences.

  11. 28/03/09 at 10:42

    Thanks Steven! Great post. Perhaps the reason why everyone is running to social media is the fact that its so empowering. Young people latch right on and don't give a crap about how to use it – they just do it. Older folks (like me) and businesses want direction… so all these asses are out there telling people 'how to use it' and it really gets under my skin. The single greatest feature of social media is that I can use it however the heck I want to… and so can businesses. They just need to be prepared for the consequences.

  12. 29/03/09 at 3:40

    Hi – just to clarify, my original post about things that would make me unfollow people from Twitter was rooted in *my personal preferences*, and not (as misrepresented by Mark Rizzn) a gospel which I was ordering everyone to follow. That's just silly. I've posted an update on my blog clarifying my original post, because some people seem to have been very keen to misunderstand it.

    As your very wise commenter Tinu says here, “listen to the people you vibe with and then decide for yourself with your own testing. Since I didn't invent Twitter, I don't say how to use it…”

    I didn't invent Twitter, so I'm certainly not telling anyone how to use it, but I am making clear my preferences. You can use it how you want. And so will I.

    Ain't social media grand? ;)

    (PS I absolutely wasn't dumping on Twitter – I love it, and have done since I started using it in 2006. It's an integral part of my online life now, which is all the more reason for me to want to make it a pleasurable experience, and not an irritant)

  13. 29/03/09 at 3:40

    Hi – just to clarify, my original post about things that would make me unfollow people from Twitter was rooted in *my personal preferences*, and not (as misrepresented by Mark Rizzn) a gospel which I was ordering everyone to follow. That's just silly. I've posted an update on my blog clarifying my original post, because some people seem to have been very keen to misunderstand it.

    As your very wise commenter Tinu says here, “listen to the people you vibe with and then decide for yourself with your own testing. Since I didn't invent Twitter, I don't say how to use it…”

    I didn't invent Twitter, so I'm certainly not telling anyone how to use it, but I am making clear my preferences. You can use it how you want. And so will I.

    Ain't social media grand? ;)

    (PS I absolutely wasn't dumping on Twitter – I love it, and have done since I started using it in 2006. It's an integral part of my online life now, which is all the more reason for me to want to make it a pleasurable experience, and not an irritant)

  14. 29/03/09 at 12:43

    Meg I actually went and read both your follow-up post and you quite fairly put us in our place – but (ya just had to know there would be a but) in the current Twitter environment it is easy to see; right or wrong, why a post like yours might spark the reaction it did. With everything from ghostwriters to the growing number of PITA marketers who are moving into Twitterville there are some who are just trying to figure out the best way to use the service.

    This is why I phrased my post the way I did and to a point I felt your post was a good example of the feelings out there. I had originally planned on doing a really cranky post based on what both you and Douglas wrote but when Mark wrote his I stepped back a bit and re-thought some things and as such the overall tone of my post changed.

    BTW I was going to subscribe to your blog because I enjoy the writing but unfortunately just as you have pet peeves about Twitter I have a pet peeve against partial text feeds. If you decide in the future to change to a full text feed please drop me a line because I would like to subscribe.

  15. 29/03/09 at 12:43

    Meg I actually went and read both your follow-up post and you quite fairly put us in our place – but (ya just had to know there would be a but) in the current Twitter environment it is easy to see; right or wrong, why a post like yours might spark the reaction it did. With everything from ghostwriters to the growing number of PITA marketers who are moving into Twitterville there are some who are just trying to figure out the best way to use the service.

    This is why I phrased my post the way I did and to a point I felt your post was a good example of the feelings out there. I had originally planned on doing a really cranky post based on what both you and Douglas wrote but when Mark wrote his I stepped back a bit and re-thought some things and as such the overall tone of my post changed.

    BTW I was going to subscribe to your blog because I enjoy the writing but unfortunately just as you have pet peeves about Twitter I have a pet peeve against partial text feeds. If you decide in the future to change to a full text feed please drop me a line because I would like to subscribe.

  16. 29/03/09 at 14:27

    Thanks, Steven – I wasn't trying to put anyone in their place: more like explain a bit more what I meant. I do understand why the post got some fairly heated reactions (Mark's included), and feel this is partly to do with the topic (you're right; there are a lot of people prepared to tell users of services like Twitter how they should and shouldn't be doing it, and that's a natural part of the establishment of any service – as is ignoring the advice you don't like!) but also because of the way the post was linked to by people. You mention above that Alan Patrick at Broadstuff called it “Twitterquette for Dummies”, but that was his characterisation, not mine!

    BTW, thanks for reminding me about the full-text feed – I recently reinstalled WP and forgot to enable the full-fat feed. It's there now, but I must warn you that 98% of what I write about won't be as controversial (or perhaps, as interesting)!

  17. 29/03/09 at 14:27

    Thanks, Steven – I wasn't trying to put anyone in their place: more like explain a bit more what I meant. I do understand why the post got some fairly heated reactions (Mark's included), and feel this is partly to do with the topic (you're right; there are a lot of people prepared to tell users of services like Twitter how they should and shouldn't be doing it, and that's a natural part of the establishment of any service – as is ignoring the advice you don't like!) but also because of the way the post was linked to by people. You mention above that Alan Patrick at Broadstuff called it “Twitterquette for Dummies”, but that was his characterisation, not mine!

    BTW, thanks for reminding me about the full-text feed – I recently reinstalled WP and forgot to enable the full-fat feed. It's there now, but I must warn you that 98% of what I write about won't be as controversial (or perhaps, as interesting)!

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