I’m an ardent proponent of being genuine and authentic and, along with many others, consider it to be one of the key ingredients to social media success for both individuals and brands. That being said, there are legitimate reasons why people aren’t always completely forthcoming in their online interactions. For example, being on the job hunt, I think twice before being critical despite my natural inclination towards being candid and open about my opinions.
However, I there are a few things I’ve been seeing fairly often on Twitter lately that could easily be improved upon, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.
- One common piece of advice in regards to one’s approach to social media is to behave in the same fashion as you would at a dinner party. Nobody enjoys having a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves and the same can be said about following someone online. It never ceases to amaze me how many people (including some that espouse this belief themselves) fail to heed this piece of advice. The level of hubris and false bravado displayed by some folks in their tweets is astounding. One offensive practice that’s become increasingly prevalent is the RT’ing of complimentary tweets about oneself, summarized astutely in this tweet by Mike Champion (@graysky)
It's a shame it is a norm of tweet culture to RT people saying good things about you. Where else would that not be considered crass?
— Mike Champion (@graysky) July 28, 2011
- One constructive way to make use of such tweets is favorite them, allowing your favorites to serve as testimonials or references that you can direct people to when appropriate. This is an excellent piece of advice for both individuals and brands that I received at seminar from A.J. Gerritson, Founding Partner of 451 Marketing.
- I have never been a fan of the Follow Friday approach in which people simply tweet #FF, followed by a long list of Twitter accounts. It’s both arbitrary and gratuitous.
- I can, however, see the value in suggesting one or two people as worthwhile follows if you give me a specific reason. For example, “#FF @SoAndSO Always delivers timefly/funny/insightful tweets about X topic.”
- Even more bothersome than the mass #FF tweets is the fairly common practice of RT’ing one’s own #FF mentions, as a I noted in a recent tweet (see below). On top of coming across as egotistical, it’s not at all practical since you’re sending the message to people who already follow you.
PSA: If you're RT'ing all of your #FF mentions, please stop. It's obnoxious & serves absolutely no purpose. Many thanks.
— Dave Cutler (@CutlerDave) July 29, 2011
- Lastly, it has become increasingly apparent than an alarming number of people don’t realize that a tweet beginning with @Username will only show up in the streams of those people that follow BOTH the sender AND recipient. This poses a problem when people compose a tweet that starts with @username, but intended for it to be seen by all of their followers. Conversely, there are people who avoid sending @ replies because they’re afraid they’ll clog their followers’ streams, which is not not the case. This issue was addressed by Gary Vaynerchuk in a recent video he posted online:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the issues discussed. What habits are bothering you in social media lately? Please share in the comments.