The Social Media Chutzpah Hit List

Recently, I was lunching at Chez Panera when I got rubbed the wrong way. No, it wasn’t you, Phoebe the Cashier – you’re aces in my book. It was the guy who asked for a cup of water and then filled with Dr. Pepper at the soda dispenser. His poor choice in soft drinks aside, who does that? The guy buys a $12 lunch and he thinks it entitles him to free soda, six ounces at a time? Seriously, who are these people?

senifeld meme

After a few dozen head shakes and eye rolls, my thoughts turned – as they inevitably do – to social media. What are some of the ballsy, unethical or just plain rude techniques employed on various social media platforms? What rubs me the wrong way? What pisses me off?

This is my no means a comprehensive list; I hope you’ll add your thoughts in the comments below:

  • Auto DMs. All of them. Without exception.
  • LinkedIn invites without context
  • Instagramming every meal (sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich)
  • Private conversations held in public forums. Just because I’m Facebook friends with two girls from high school doesn’t mean I need to see the back-and-forth of their Friday night planning.
  • Calling yourself a “guru,” “ninja,” or “tsar.” (Oddly, “czar” is ok).
  • Not crediting your source material
  • Emoticons. If you can’t say what you mean with words, it’s not worth saying.
  • Synching the same message across multiple platforms
  • Broadcasting without listening or engaging
  • Repeating the same message over and over again. If I wanted to hear a broken record, I’d own a record player…and records. Yeah, I’m going to have to come up with a new metaphor.
  • Outdated technology metaphors. This list is crashing like my Treo 650…am I right, folks?
  • Debating politics on Facebook. No one has ever changed his or her vote because of a well-worded wall post.
  • Censoring criticism (or simply dissenting opinions) on the pages you manage
  • Speeling misstakes
  •  Using interns to run a corporate social media account
  • #TeamFollowBack
  • Using a Yiddish word in your title without providing a definition
  • No avatar (or profile picture)
  • An avatar that’s a logo (unless you’re managing a corporate account)
  • An avatar that’s a cartoon version of you. Hey, I like Mad Men and the Simpsons as much as anyone, but my avatar is my real-life obnoxious face for a reason.
  • An avatar that is from 15 years and/or 85 pounds ago. This isn’t online dating.
  • An avatar that has someone else in it.
  • An avatar that has someone else poorly cropped out of it. Really? You can’t find *one* decent headshot?
  • Misunderstanding your network’s privacy settings. I’m looking at you, Randi.
  • Abusing #hashtags because you #think they’re #fun. They’re #not. And you’re not #cool.
  • Asking for RTs all the time (every once in a while is cool, but don’t be the boy or girl who cried wolf). Side note: please RT this post!
  • Deleting your mistake in the hopes that no one saw it. This is the internet. Someone saw it. And screen capped it. And now that mistake has been posted somewhere else. Sorry.
  • Buying followers
  • Sharing overly personal details on your professional networks (sharing professional details on personal networks isn’t always advisable, but it’s rarely as obnoxious)
  • Connecting on LinkedIn with someone you don’t really know and/or with whom you have not worked
  • Complaining about those brands that have wronged you without ever praising those who have done right by you
  • Vaguebooking
  • Unfriending or disconnecting in the heat of the moment. Even with an ex.
  • Over-sharing your Foursquare check-ins
  • Mistaking social media buzz for a verified news source.
  • Humblebragging without ironically pointing out your own Humblebrag
  • Mocking someone’s religious or political beliefs. Disagreement is cool. Debate is usually OK. But there’s a reason we don’t call this “anti-social networking.”
  • Anti-social networking
  • Not posting a bio or “about me” page
  • Consuming without adding to the discussion. Read an interesting blog post? Add a comment (hint, hint).
  • Shameless self-promotion
Advertisements

NAUGHTY OR NICE: Credit Where it’s Due

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the fifth and (thankfully) final installment.

Pardon my French, but Twitter is one big circle jerk.

Maybe that’s overly crude, but I think you know what I mean. A particularly interesting or valuable link can be shared dozens, sometimes even hundreds or thousands of time. When you follow many people in a specific sphere of influence, it often seems like the same people are sharing the same links from the same websites over and over again. Except there’s a major difference in how some of us share links, and even though it can feel like there’s no law on the “Wild West Internet,” there’s one rule that too many people have no problem breaking.

If you didn’t write it, credit the person who did. No exceptions.

Let’s examine how a specific link was shared by two different Twitter accounts today:

5 Social Media Articles to Unwrap and Enjoy Today j.mp/uJtYwn via @pushingsocial

— Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial) December 23, 2011

Stanford Smith writes for (and runs?) Pushing Social. He wrote the article and Tweeted the link, including his own handle. Was that redundant? Perhaps…but perhaps not when you consider that Michael Corley read Stanford’s post and thought it was valuable enough to Tweet WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION.

I have nothing against Michael Corley and feel a little bad for calling him out like this. Michael, if this gets back to you, I hope you realize two things: 1) it’s not personal; and 2) it’s unlikely that anyone besides the two of us know about this blog post.

I realize that 140 characters is a significant limit, but there’s always room to credit an author. Sometimes you want to squeeze an editorial comment into your Tweet, but I promise, your audience does not appreciate your personal opinion nearly as much as the writer appreciates getting recognized for his or her efforts. In fact, I believe that leaving out the author (or at least, the website) from your Tweet is akin to plagiarism.

That’s right, I said it. Plaigiarism. It’s an ugly word, huh?

Image copywright is likely owned by Fox and/or Matt Groening. But who cares, right? It's the internet. I invented Bart Simpson!

I urge you to remember this lesson the next time you share a link on Twitter. Writing is a cumbersome, often unrewarding task. Even if you’re not technically claiming credit for someone else’s work, an unattributed link *feels* like that to the author. Believe me, linking to an article without crediting its creator is a naughty, naughty no-no.

It’s the season of giving. If you think something is valuable enough to share, don’t be a Scrooge and deprive credit from its source.

**********

Whatever and however you celebrate, I hope you and your family have a warm, safe and happy holiday season. Thanks for reading!

**********

Previously in “Naughty or Nice”:
12/19 – Listing your Klout score on your resume

12/20 – Printing your face on a business card

12/21 – Social Media Interns

12/22 – Breaking a Promise

NAUGHTY OR NICE: Breaking a Promise

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the fourth installment.

I’ve got writer’s block today, but it’s not because I’m lacking a topic. It’s not because I’m at a loss for words, either. It’s because I got some bad news yesterday that has yet to scab over and start to heal.

I’m OK. My family is OK. I don’t mean to be melodramatic and there’s definitely nothing for anyone to worry about. I promise. I just can’t blog. It’s that simple. No need to raise any alarms. I hope to share a new post (and perhaps some details) tomorrow.

So if you’re here to read my “naughty or nice” review, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Suffice to say, breaking a promise to one’s limited blog readership is extremely NAUGHTY.

**********

Previously in “Naughty or Nice”:
12/19 – Listing your Klout score on your resume

12/20 – Printing your face on a business card

12/21 – Social Media Interns

NAUGHTY OR NICE: Social Media Interns

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the third of five reviews.

Last week, I asked my Twitter followers to help me identify some naughty or nice trends for this series. One follower was especially exuberant about her topic – unpaid interns running a company’s social media presence. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you six passionate comments from Vik Gill:

  • “Nonprofits so cash-strapped they have to use unpaid interns for social media [is a] bad idea!”
  • “Why would you trust the social media presence of your business to somebody who has no social media work experience?”
  • “The fact that a student has been playing around on Twitter and Facebook does not a social media expert make.”
  • “Unless you are giving interns the most trivial tasks, the amount of damage they can do to your brand is unquantifiable.”
  • “How much do you really know about social media if you think someone with no experience is the best person to build your brand?”
  • “Using social media interns creates limitations that arise from a business model that requires free labour to sustain it.”

I’ll cut Vik some slack for the improper spelling of “labor” because she’s British and they think they invented the language.

Do you really want this "dude" to be the online voice for your brand?

Vik’s points are spot-on. When we are uncomfortable with a task, we instinctively want to stick the responsibility on someone else. Interns are young, so they know computers; interns are free, so it makes sense to assign them the duties that don’t generate any revenue.

And if you accept those conclusions, I look forward to your 2012 tales from the unemployment line.

It’s easy to assign your interns (or even younger/entry level employees) to social media. It may even seem logical to do so. But social media is increasingly becoming the way corporations, nonprofits, peer groups, causes and more engage their audiences. Our online ambassadors need to be passionate and knowledgeable if they hope to grow and indoctrinate supporters. Interns often have enthusiasm, but it’s not their job to personally invest…it’s their job to figure out what they’re good at and what they want to do with their professional lives.

At the same time, it’s hard to determine social media ROI. It can often feel like we’re shouting into the ether. It may even seem like our Tweets and posts and likes and shares are often a colossal waste of time. But they’re not. One fan’s passion can spread to thousands of his or her peers. It’s difficult to do social media well, but is it any harder than a hundred other tasks in our competitive marketplace? Skimping on social media is just a cop-out for business leaders afraid to invest in something they don’t completely understand.

As 2011 draws to a close, it’s comforting to see that most successful brands have accepted the fact that not doing social media means money left on the table. In 2012, here’s hoping that more will realize that doing it incorrectly can jeopardize their future.

Oh, and if you couldn’t figure it out, using interns to run your social media community is a big, fat naughty!

**********

Previously in “Naughty or Nice”:
12/19 – Listing your Klout score on your resume

12/20 – Printing your face on a business card

NAUGHTY OR NICE: Printing Your Face on a Business Card

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the second of five reviews.

Remember that scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman and friends swap business cards and swoon over “Bone” backgrounds and “Silian Rail” lettering? A lot has changed since Wall Street of the 1980s – and it hasn’t all been because of the OWS movement.

In today’s business world, we’re all looking for an edge…yet most of us overlook the competitive advantage we can gain from our business cards. Rather than order up another batch of 500 boring corporate cards from Office Services, why aren’t more of us using customization to better create a lasting impression?

What better way to be remembered than by printing your face on your business card?

A few months ago, I used an About.Me perk to order business cards from moo.com. Instead of being forced to use the same corporate information as all of my colleagues, I could completely customize the card’s text. I inserted a QR code to direct people straight to a web page of my choosing. And while there were hundreds of gallery options for the flip side of my card, I decided to let my face do the talking.

As you can see above, I was so enthralled with my custom card that I designed and printed another version. Now, I have a standard size card AND a “mini” card. Again, it’s all about being remembered, so if we’re already thinking outside the box, why not experiment with different images and sizes?

When I hand someone my custom business card, I *always* get a reaction…and most of the time it’s positive. Even if our conversation wasn’t especially memorable, I can count on my card triggering a bit of recognition a day, week or month later. Sure, the words that come out of my mouth may be boring, but who can forget this face?

Don’t we all want to stand out? Don’t we all want to be remembered? While unconventional, my custom business cards are both professional and quirky – actually, they’re a lot like me.

That’s why I say that printing your face on a business card is NICE.

What do you think? Am I participating in an exercise in vanity? Am I being more foolish than innovative? Should Patrick Bateman invite me over for a conversation on 80s pop music? I want to hear your thoughts.

Coming tomorrow: an analysis of who should be running your company’s social media community.

Previously in “Naughty or Nice”:
12/19 – Listing your Klout score on your resume


NAUGHTY OR NICE: Listing Your Klout Score on Your Resume

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the first of my five reviews.

These days, you don’t have to troll much on the internet to find someone ranting about Klout. Though it was widely well received upon launch, an increasing number of critics are popping about of the woodwork, declaring the online influence metric unethical and even opting out of the rating system. Still, as long as research points to a clear correlation between high Klout scores and CTR, page views, inbound links, etc, it’s safe to say the controversial service isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

Since I try to update my resume annually (even when I’m happily employed), I recently considered adding my modest Klout score to the standard name, address, contact information section. I already list my LinkedIn custom URL, which I know has been accessed by prospective employers in the past. Why not, I wondered, also let hiring managers know that I have been independently rated as having an “above average” online influence?

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one pondering that question, because last week I stumbled upon the #happo (Help a PR Pro Out) Twitter chat and the “Klout on the resume” issue was raised. To my surprise, it seemed like the majority of chatters thought listing one’s Klout score on a resume was a bad idea…and a few people went so far as to suggest it could hurt a prospect chances to secure an interview or get hired.

Why the overwhelming sentiment against Klout?

After reading his Tweets, I engaged Arik Hanson to get some answers. Arik, whose website offers some excellent PR content, was kind enough to simplify his take into this 140-character bite: “[Klout] A) is not entirely reputable/credible, B) screams “look at how cool I am”, and C) has little/nothing to do w/job performance.”

I pressed Arik further, asking him if his opinion would change if he were hiring for a job that required social media savvy (a community manager, for example). Wouldn’t a Klout score then be a good metric for evaluating applicants? Arik said that, for him, it still would not be valuable…but he deferred to Amber Naslund for her expert advice.

Amber, a social strategist and author, confirmed Arik’s take. She explained that “Community management success does not equal volume of activity, which is what [Klout] tracks.”

Since the Klout debate has only just begun, and early public opinion seems to be decidedly against, I have decided to forgo the addition of my score on my 2012 resume.

So if you’re keeping score at home, kiddos, listing your Klout score on your resume? That’s NAUGHTY.

What do you think? Has anyone had any positive or negative experiences listing a Klout score on his or her resume? So far, I’ve only heard about theoretical…but I’d love to know if anyone stumbled across this in real life.

Stop back tomorrow for an examination of a thoroughly modern take on personalizing your business cards.