Nov 28 2007
Anybody who wants to employ social networking to promote their website or blog needs to understand that members of social sites just simply do not respond to spam. There are many (often unwritten) social rules.
Everybody is sick of spam. Spam emails, spam blog comments, spam blog posts and spam on their profiles. It can seem like a an opportunity ripe for the picking, and be done with all good intentions. But my advice is follow the ekiN principle – JUST DON’T DO IT.
Here’s a classic example of how NOT to use Social Media, from my inbox on StumbleUpon.
What lessons can we learn from these few lines?
- Don’t try and be cool if you’re not. “gr8” and “frnd” might be appropriate on MySpace or IM, but it is not cool when it’s spam coming from a stranger who is 32.
- It’s nice to have a rapport before you go asking for favours.
- What makes you think I’d even be remotely interested in data center solutions?
- Don’t sound like a Nigerian scammer.
- Don’t pretend you want to be my friend.
- Don’t call me “dear” (grrrrr).
- Don’t abuse social media to serve your own purpose.
MyBlogLog Facilitates Social Spam
Back at the end of June, MyBlogLog introduced a facility whereby community owners could send out mass messages to their community members. I was rather vocal in my criticism of the facility, and I stand by my opinion that this feature is a nuisance.
MyBlogLog lost its appeal for me back then, and now I rarely visit. Usually, I just visit to clean out the spam on my profile page. The MyBlogLog team seemed of the opinion that joining many communities was a no-no, and having too many friends was a bad thing.
Now, virtually the only time I join a community is via the “automatic add” feature, and the only friends I add are the faces I know. I haven’t used it to discover new blogs since then.
At the time, I was a member of 918 communities, five months later I’ve added just nine more (well, a net addition of nine – as I left quite a few). Whereas once I would have reciprocated friendships, I now have 74 “admirers” (people who have befriended me, who I have not befriended back).
Here’s how I rationalised it back then.
MyBlogLog was really beneficial when I started blogging, because it allowed me to meet and interact with other bloggers and it literally provided me a portal to the blogosphere. I have NEVER made a nuisance of myself, with self promotional “visit my blog” type messages, and a majority of my comments were made privately to blog owners.
I embraced the sense of community, and rewarded bloggers that I felt made an effort with their blogs with a membership of their community. I subscribed to many and visited others from time to time. And I meet some wonderful bloggers who I am still communicating with to this day.
As time went by, and my blog subscriptions climbed, I had to rationalise (as one does) the amount of time devoted to keeping up with many blogs and social networking sites. Perhaps it’s a sense of netiquette that if one joins your community or befriends you, that you, in most cases, reciprocate.
There are many communities that I am a member of, and subscribe to the blog, but rarely feel the need to visit. Does that mean I’m not “qualified” to be a member of that community?
I wouldn’t be offended for a second if members of my “community” didn’t visit my blog. But I would never insult them by sending a self-promotional type message, because I respect their privacy and would never assume for a second that they had consented to receiving this type of mail.
And how does one define “reasonable”? Is a daily, weekly, monthly message reasonable? With no limitations on the amount of messages – the onus is placed on us to do the [community] “leaving”.
And we’re made to feel like WE’RE the ones who have done the wrong thing by embracing the community spirit.
Alex has made similar commentary about the latest MyBlogLog competition.
But now I’m coming to main problem. All arguments by us were countered on MBL blog with one simple question: Why would you join a community you are not interested to follow and receive emails from. Quite frankly a good question and has a good reasoning behind it.
Fast Forward to now… This new contest is beginning to generate a few entries where bloggers reward other people to join their community, so they could Win the the main prize.
But the questions that keep bugging me…
- Would all those people join it if not for the chance to get rewarded?
- How does this strategy go with the question posed by MBL stuff to us when we argued the “Community Mass Message Spam” issue?
- How does MBL manage to work like this: state one thing and then encourage a completely opposite behavior?
It does seem quite hypocritical to me. But then, this Compete graph could provide reasoning enough as to why MyBlogLog are desperately trying to increase buzz.
I think the MyBlogLog traffic drop is evidence that I am not alone in being fed up with social spam.
Have you had enough, or do you think it’s acceptable and par for the course?
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