What’s the basic, number one rule of Social Media?
DON’T BE A DOUCHE.
Everyone knows this. Yet why are there so many on social media?
And what does being or not being a douche really mean?
Sure, there’s the golden rule and all that. But part of social media is being yourself. So, what if you are the snarky redhead who likes to communicate with a slight bite? Is that acceptable?
There are, however, a few guidelines I wish to share with you. Because I’ve been doing this for a while (since ’08 as a blogger and ’10 as both an author and consultant), many curious types pepper me with keen questions and comments, and I adore answering every single one. I have experienced or observed all of what you read below.
1. Don’t spam links. Social media is social, dammit. We are here to interact, discuss, share info, find out about each other and sure, okay, promote. (I’m an author, my books are on Amazon (hint: look at my Twitter bio). I promote them. I run promos when my books are 99cents or free and guess what — I’m going to let you know.
But not every day, and most certainly not every freakin’ tweet. Even I get sick of myself. Authors who do that drive me crazy. It’s part of why I started my own social media consulting biz – to help authors learn NOT to spam.
Twitter (and Facebook) is about being content-rich: info, resources, memes (which for god’s sake rhymes with themes, people). It’s fine to have links but not in every tweet. Ask a question, discuss a topic, provide expertise. Use your brain.
My content (no links) to promo (links) ratio is typically 3:1, though it can vary depending on if it’s a promo day (i.e., #MondayBlogs is a blog post sharing meme where authors share their latest blog posts and RT others, so of course links must be present). I offset this by having little promo the following days.
Tweeps who constantly link not only lose followers and fatigue their stream but also violate Twitter’s TOS (terms of service) guidelines we all sign, and risk being shut down. Anyone can report them as spammers.
Besides which, you just look like a self-involved douche.
2. Flame Wars. Never a good idea. We’ve all seen these discussions become all out heated wars. Is there ever a winner…truly? Some of us are passionate people who stand up for our rights and what we believe in. Great, fine. TAKE IT TO DM or better yet, walk away.
It’s like calling out your boss in front of the group. Don’t do it.
Even if the person is the biggest jerk ever, you’re the one who will look poorly for getting into it because you know better. Come on. You do. If someone calls you out for what you said, fine. Let it go. You will not convince them of your position. Let it go.
And truly, for all the time and angst you spent getting emotionally roiled up, wouldn’t you rather be writing? Better yet, walk away, breathe, block if you have to (my favorite button ever). Don’t give power to the yahoos.
3. To AutoDM or not to autoDM. My pet peeve? The ones with the links. I’m personally okay with an autoDM if it has no link and is cleverly written. But add a link to it (‘follow me on my Facebook page’ or ‘go purchase my book at…’) is like asking me out on a date before we’ve ever met. So, no.
Some people feel very strongly that you must personally welcome each follower and that’s your call. As your stream grows and you find you’re getting 300 new followers every day, good luck with that. I manage several Twitter accounts for my clients and it’s just not possible – that would be in the thousands and I’d never be able to write my next book or ya know, eat.
If you do write autoDMs, don’t say ‘thanks for following.’ Snore. Pick something interesting and write about it. Be cool, baby.
TrueTwit – an automated service to determine if you’re an automated service? Um, no.
4. Begging for follows. Just. No.
5. Scolding. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is based on what’s called a ‘trust model’ meaning I don’t have to follow you, and you don’t have to follow me (unless our accounts are private). Also, there’s no obligation for us to both follow each other. One may follow, the other may not. I follow because I like your content and perhaps, vice versa.
If I choose to follow you and find out you’re a douche and unfollow, don’t send me a scathing message scolding me for daring to unfollow. I have that right to go clicky clicky, just as you do. Besides, it’s just Twitter.
6. Gurus & Fake-Verifieds. We laugh at you, with your sad little non-blue plain checkmark. Who calls himself or herself a guru, anyway? Maybe, if you have a sitar, a robe, and some John Lennon glasses, I might consider it.
Nobody is a guru in my opinion because we all still have something to learn. I may know more about Twitter than you do – sure. You may know more about math than I, or say…cooking (okay, that’s a given – my six-year-old cooks better than I). But you might be an expert in how to look like a douche. Take it down a notch, people. *
(*According to Dan Zarrella, social media expert and cool smart guy extraordinaire – whom I actually really admire because he looks at objective data and has cool tats – in his book Dan Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness, even though we make fun of ‘gurus,’ people do follow them. It’s a ‘myth’ that we shun them after all. Do what you will with that.)
7. Trawlers. Guys – most chicks are not on social media to look at your junk. Keep it in the trunk. ‘Nuff said.
8. Commenting before you read the content. Why, oh why. People think they’re being funny, clever, and oh so witty when they comment on the tweet or message accompanying the link without reading it first. As you know if you are not a dumbass, one may have nothing to do with the other. It’s a tease, if you will. So clicking on the link is generally a good idea. So one doesn’t look oh, uninformed (or, say it with me – like a douche).
This happened on Facebook recently with the headline “Kei$ha Admits to Using Autotune,” with a link to a Team Coco YouTube video right there (um, hello?).
Tons (as in hundreds) of people made idiotic, know-it-all comments: ‘of course she uses it, that no-talent singer’ etc., without clicking on the link to realize it was a self-parody and quite well done. And they all looked like complete idiots. I mean, douches. (Mom, Team Coco is Conan O’Brien’s company. You’re welcome. I promise I’ll call this weekend.)
Those of us who posted the link gave up trying to explain it was a satire and simply sat back as people made fools of themselves in their self-righteous douchebaggery. It was pretty funny, to be honest. The soapboxes were stacked pretty high. (Even funnier: the people who went to youtube and didn’t even watch the video and posted comments right below. *face palm*
9. Asking/Begging for reviews. Don’t spam people to review your book. You look desperate and indiscriminating. And your stream is public, remember? This is what DM (direct message), Facebook messages, and email is for. Or better yet, go to book reviewers and book bloggers who know best how to give a book review. Book a blog tour. Not sure how? Ask me. Or Google stuff. Plan better next time.
10. The Pretender. I get this one a lot. The “Thank you for the follow!” Or “Thx for the RT, Rachel!” when I don’t follow this person I’ve never heard of and I’ve clearly not RT’d since A) I don’t know who they are and B) I clearly don’t follow them. And do they think I’ve just fallen off the Nutella truck and am in such a chocolate coma that I can’t click a button to check?
Just because I have 200K+ something followers doesn’t suddenly render me stupid and unable to wade through who follows, who doesn’t or who I’ve RT’d (P.S. I use ManageFlitter weekly anyway — I know). Many times these people don’t even follow me! And when you do that, I will call you out on it.
People wonder why my favorite word is dumbass.
11. The Fake Like. I get a few ‘friend requests’ each day on Facebook. Usually these are real people and we interact and it’s great. Lately, though, there seems to be some douchebaggery afoot. A request, then a private message to go like a film, or digg or stumble a page – I mean, within seconds of me approving the request. Not cool. No doubt, they’re being paid on numbers.
I not only block you, I tell my thousands of ‘friends’ to do the same and I report you, dumbass. And educate everyone I know to do the same.
Okay, fine. There were eleven rules. (Ten sounded better for the headline.)
Don’t get me wrong. I love social media. 99% of the time it’s terrific. I’ve met great friends (many IRL), colleagues, clients, and discovered charitable causes I work with I wouldn’t have found otherwise. It’s a critical part of any author’s platform.
I simply find many of these behaviors funny and a good source of humor. They’re also opportunities for learning, as well as the most egregious abuses I see everyday on Twitter and Facebook. It’s like a party…with really random guests.
What do you see? Please share below.
- Stop Sending That LAME Automated Generic Twitter DM When You’re Followed (anisesmithmarketing.com)
- How to develop a social media strategy (marketing.yell.com)
- An Indie Author’s Journey: What I’ve Learned (rainethomas.com)
- 5 Ways to Get ROI from Social Media (venpop.com)
Find me every day on Twitter NOT being a douche @RachelintheOC or tweeting free tips @BadRedheadMedia.
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