Twitter is for Losers

Photo cred: Jesse CourteManche

That’s apparently what a lot of people think…

At another lively #u30pro chat last night, we discussed where social media might fail for young professionals.  One of the topics of discussion that developed really intrigued me.  It seems that not one, not most, but almost ALL the participants shared their experience of being mocked by their friends for using twitter.

If you’re on facebook?  That’s okay… who isn’t?

If you’re on linkedin?  That’s okay too…you’re just trying to network.

From my experience, the two things that seem to draw mockery are twitter and blogging.  They’re still viewed as “lame” by many who aren’t involved. And if your friends are saying it, you can only imagine what strangers are thinking.

Does it really matter? No. I know why I do what I do, and if someone has a problem with it…fuck em! Being mocked is just part of being friends.

But it’s interesting isn’t it?  The most open forms of social interaction online draw the most mockery while those platforms which essentially allow you to do that same, but within a “closed” or private network, are acceptable.

Why?

Have you been mocked for using twitter or blogging?

Will Increased Government Regulation Ruin Blogging?

Photo cred: Tuffer
Photo cred: Tuffer

I recently read this article about the Vogue model Liskula Cohen model suing the anonymous blogger (and winning).  There have also been talks of the FTC implementing disclosure regulations to ensure that “sponsored” content is always disclosed.  Seems that blogging may be coming under the legal spotlight.

How will increased legal regulation affect the blogosphere?

Well…it could have a positive impact:

  1. More responsible blogging. With no one to answer to, bloggers have been able to write anything and everything, whether or not it hurts others.  With a legal regulation in place, bloggers will be forced to blog responsibly.
  2. More respect for bloggers. With more responsible bloggers comes more respect for the blogosphere.  Blogs are increasingly becoming a go-to resource for news and information.  Respect will only catalyze this trend.
  3. Less noise. More restrictions usually means less content.  Legal regulations would eliminate a lot useless or repetitive content.

It could also have a negative impact:

  1. Less freedom. The beauty of blogging is the freedom it allows.  All someone has to do is set up a blog, and speak their mind to the masses.  Regulation would put a boundary on this freedom.
  2. Fear of punishment. Like any other law, the vast majority of people won’t actually read it in detail, but just understand the concept.  This means that a lot of people might not understand clearly, what they can or cannot say.  If bloggers are afraid to write for fear of being sued or punished, they may just not write at all.
  3. Removing a source of income. Regardless of whether or not people like sponsored blog posts, it has proven to be an effective source of income for many bloggers.  Enforcing disclosure may hurt the sponsored blogging market.

There are also a number of issues with these kinds of regulations:

  1. Enforcement. Pretty much impossible, without the investment of a great deal of money (more than should be spent on this issue).  It would have to rely on people reporting violations, and I’m not even going to get into how messy that can get.
  2. Grey areas. If someone reposts sponsored content without disclosing, are they also liable?  What if they repost content ruled as libel, can they also be sued?  It will be really hard to justifiably determine a line within these kinds of grey areas.

To this point the blogosphere has been largely self-policed.  While this has allowed for a very free and open platform, there is no official and effective system in place to ensure that the content is abiding by moral and legal standards.

Will government intervention impact blogging negatively or positively?  Are there better alternatives?  Share your thoughts.

Don’t Ask, Just Share

Photo cred: Keith Allison
Photo cred: Keith Allison

If Kobe gets open for a shot, should he yell “Pass me the ball!”? No…he needs to make the ball handler aware of the opportunity so that he can decide what to do.  As lame as that sounded, same goes for reaching out to a blogger.

Chances are the blogger knows that you’re pitching them before they even open the email.  Bloggers are used to receiving pitches and the experienced ones know exactly what they expect in a good pitch.  Ultimately they know that you’re emailing them because you’d like them to write a post about your company or product. One thing bloggers definitely don’t like is being told what to blog about.

Depending on the situation, it might be good to come right out and just ask the blogger to write a post; but sometimes it’s best not to ask for anything at all.  If you’ve done your job correctly, you’re pitching this blogger because you already know that their readers would be interested in whatever it is you’re pitching.  If this is true, the blogger will want to write a post about it regardless of whether or not you ask them to.  Describe your product and explain how it might be valuable to their audience.  If they don’t want to write an entire post about it, they may be interested in sharing it within another post or sharing it elsewhere.  There are a number of opportunities.

If you describe your product and then end the email asking them to write a post about it, they may just decide it’s not worthy of a post and move on.  You’re only focusing on one option.  They’ll be much more receptive to an email that aims to do nothing more than share information about a valuable product, and that doesn’t push them to do anything.  Bloggers love to share and if it really is valuable, the request isn’t necessary…they WILL share. (Just like if Kobe is open, they WILL pass)

Do you agree?

Bookmark and Share To share specific article, click on the post title so that you’re only looking at individual post, then share.

Social Media is Fast, Engaging it Isn’t

Are you shooting for fast numbers or meaningful numbers?hare-tortoise

Sites like twitter are allowing us to share information faster than ever before. Yesterday, twitter users like @justinlevy and myself found out about Steve Jobs’ leave of absence an hour before any news station reported it on television. Many businesses have seen this fast flow of information and think that they can find fast success on these platforms.  They’re wrong.

It’s not the goal that matters but how you get there. So much focus is put on the numbers whether it be number of followers on Twitter, number of readers on your blog, or any other stat on which companies base ROI.  When asked, many “social media consultants” advise you to focus on relationships and condemn the notion of “numbers = success”.  Others care more about reaching as many people as possible than who they’re reaching.  Both are missing the point which is this…

Once you build strong relationships, the numbers will follow. If you build relationships with people in your community, they will be loyal to your company like they would a friend, trust your message, and be willing to share it with their connections.  Show that you care about who you’re reaching out to, not just how many, and they’ll care back.

It’s not such a bad thing to shoot for high numbers, but how you go about it will determine your success.  If you take the time to build meaningful relationships, you will enjoy the benefits of social media’s rapid viral opportunities in the longer run.

Would really like to hear what you think.  Comments? Criticism?


On a completely unrelated note, I will be at the Mashable NYC event today, tweeting away… so if you see me or want to meet, feel free to say hello or slap me for quoting “Field of Dreams” in a post about social media.  Either way I’d love to meet up!

Edit: Removed inapplicable “Field of Dreams” quote thanks to reader feedback (=