Stop wasting your time! And mine.

Fair warning – this post is going to be a rant.  It will not be the sweetness and light that everyone has come to expect from me.  What it will be is a brutally honest assessment of an issue that has been getting under my skin for some time.

I am an active Twitter user.  Some will say too active and I am sure there are some that would like to tell me to shut up (or more likely STFU).  To all of you, feel free to unfollow me.   Don’t stick around expecting me or my Twitter usage patterns to change, it’s not likely that they are going to.  You will not hurt my feelings if you decide not to follow me any longer.   To each his own and if I’m too much for you, then PLEASE then move on.

Sorry to get off on that tangent, but I guess it was also something I needed to get off my chest.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  I am active on Twitter and as a result am privileged to gain new followers on a fairly regular basis.   I want to qualify everything else that I am about to say with the following –

I am HONORED by every single person that follows me on Twitter.  It is an amazing and humbling privilege to know that I am able to reach the number of people that I do.  Everyone who is following me on Twitter has their reason and I respect that.  I just want to make it clear that I do acknowledge the joy and responsibility that comes from touching the lives of so many people.  However, I may not follow every single person that follows me for a multitude of personal and professional reasons.

When I receive a new follower notice, I take a close look at the following

  • Are you a spammer?  Most of the spammers are pretty easy to spot.
  • Bio – if you don’t have one, very unlikely that I am going to follow you back.
  • Website – my general rule – no link, no return follow.  I do make occasional exceptions, but being able to link to your site tells me more about you, your business, what you like to do, etc… Some of the building blocks necessary to develop a conversation and a relationship.
  • The first couple of pages of tweets – I am looking to see what kind of interactions you are having.  Are you conversing and engaging people on a regular basis or are you only broadcasting or just trying to sell me something.   I want to know that you are making an attempt to build relationships with other people.

So, if I am following you, I’ve put in some effort to get to know a little about you.   No, I don’t follow back every single person or business that follows me.  It’s a choice that I have made for several reasons, much too long to get into in this post.  The point I am trying to make in telling you how I determine who I follow is this.  I do not use an automated service telling me that I should follow someone, I have used a process and made the decision to follow someone.

What has me ranting today are the people who, after using my criteria and trying to make a thoughtful decision, I have chosen to follow that then immediately respond to me with an auto DM offering to

  1. Teach me how to use Twitter and gain thousands of followers — Hey jerk, take a look at how long I have been here and how I use Twitter.    The first thing you will see if you have read any of my material is I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE NUMBERS!  For me it is about conversations, relationships and the sharing of information.   And really please, don’t offer to teach me to use Twitter when you have been on half as long (or less!) than I have.  After almost 2 years, I have it pretty well figured out, as least well enough for my purposes.
  2. Offer to teach me how to use social media –  See # 1 – I’m here, I’m using it, I’ve been living it!  I actually help other people understand and envelope it into their lives.   Social Media is not something you teach, it is not something you do – IT IS SOMETHING YOU LIVE.  It is a living, breathing organism that feeds on our interactions, relationships and conversations.
  3. Offer to teach me how to make money online — AGAIN, get to know me, pay attention to anything that I say  and you will quickly realize that, for me, being on Twitter has virtually nothing to do with making money.  Yes, I have an account for my business and yes, I do promote my business, as well as many others, on Twitter.  But it is not about making money and if you read anything of mine, you will very quickly figure that out.  It is about sharing information, developing relationships and connecting with people.  If out of those interactions, I am able to advance my business or anyone else’s – Fantastic! – but that is not even remotely close to what it is about.
  4. That immediately try to sell me something – Oh please, do I even have to tell you how I feel about this?  Seriously, you obviously don’t get it if the first thing you are sending me is a sales pitch.

So bottom line – all of you who do these things, maybe they work on other people. They don’t for me.  You have wasted your time and you have wasted mine.  I have put thought and effort into getting to know a little bit about you before I follow you.  The same common courtesy would have been greatly appreciated.  I’ve been resisting doing this because negativity is not generally a part of my nature, but don’t be surprised when the day comes that I, or someone else, start publicly calling you out on Twitter for your actions.

They raised their rates, and???

I’ve been following all of the Twitter talk about the recent moves by Philly Car Share.  As a very loyal and frequent user of the service, am I upset by the manner in which they handled their recent fee increase notification?  Hell yes, I am!   But the vitrolic criticism being levied against a service that not long ago was everyone’s darling is, in my opinion, a clear indicator of the fickleness of our society today.

Yes, they eliminated their basic free plan in favor of a $15 per month charge and they did it with only a week’s notice to their members.  Yes, they screwed up royally in the PR, common sense and “let’s all play nice” departments.  Yes, there are limitless questions about the way the company has been managed which led them to a point where they are quite obviously in a precarious financial position.  However, what too many people appear to be failing to remember is that for all of their “let’s all be one big happy family” early intentions, what they are providing is a service which is inherently dependent on other businesses.   They have insurance, fleet rental, gas, vehicle maintenance, vehicle repair, inspection and overall operating costs to balance with their altruistic intents.

Given their original demeanor and the behavior they led us to expect, would it have been better for them to be more transparent.  Yes, of course it would have been.  Are they going to lose members because of how they handled the situation.  Absolutely, probably several.  But to quote my friend @tangofoxtrot “But $15 a month – how many beers is that? To have access to a car with almost no notice, pretty close to most places….I think people are confusing business relationships with personal ones.”   I agree completely.

If everyone would stop and think for just a moment what a car costs monthly – car payments, insurance, maintenance, repairs, gas and inspections.  What would that cost be monthly for you?  I know for me, it was hundreds of dollars.  Far in excess of what I will spend with Philly Car Share, even the $15 per month charge and even if I use a car several times a month.   Ok, before everyone gets in an uproar about “I can’t afford the $15 per month”.  That is true for some people and in that case, maybe there are better options for those people, but in general, is that $15 a month for the convenience going to really hurt most of us?  Other than hurt feelings because we think that PCS “didn’t play fair”, probably not.
Does Philly Car Share need to know how we feel about it’s actions?  Yes, they do.  Are there more constructive ways to do it. Yes probably.  The rash of membership cancellations are probably going to be a pretty clear message.   As for me, I’m sticking with them.  So I have a couple less drinks each month to now fit the $15 charge in my budget, so be it.   PCS has never let me down with availability or customer service so I am willing to hang in there and hope they work out their issues.  And Philly Car Share, if you are listening and interested in a little friendly advice or help, let me know.  I believe in you and want to see you succeed.

100 Life Experiences

I came across this list on my friend @mikeneumann‘s blog, “Just As I Am”.  He discovered it by way of @marinamartin and her blog “Marina’s Musings”.  While I am not usually one to play with memes, this one intrigued me enough to keep reading.   The items in italics are the ones that I have had the joy to experience.  What about you?

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on a train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted / drawn.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.

65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten cavaier
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (many, many times!)