Redefining social through a lesson learned

I posted this tweet yesterday afternoon –

“DO NOT call yourself a social media consultant, expert, guru, visionary – anything – if all you do is push out links & RT other ppl’s stuff”

To my surprise, I received a fair amount of negative feedback from my followers.  I was, rather harshly in some cases, admonished for “telling people how to use Twitter”.   I have to admit that the responses both hurt and made me angry, until I stopped to really think about them.

There is one clear truth when it comes to Twitter. We all use it for different reasons.  We all have different objectives, or in some cases, no objectives at all.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Every social media platform should be used by each individual in the way they find most beneficial.  I realized that I was upset because the negative responses I received made it appear that I was trying to tell others how to use Twitter.  That was not my purpose and, unfortunately, 140 characters was not enough to explain. So, it was time to write a blog post.

What prompted my tweet was a series of new followers.  As I have explained in earlier posts, I carefully evaluate each new follower to decide if I am going to follow them back.  I want to make sure that the connections I make will be mutually beneficial.   I was aggravated by several new followers who, per their bios, were self-professed social media consultants, experts, gurus, visionaries, etc… , but when you read through their tweetstreams, they were comprised almost exclusively by links, retweets and self-promotional statements.   Go ahead and call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in the SOCIAL part of social media.  That if you are going to profess yourself an “expert” in this field, then you have to also believe its power is in its social aspect.  That means you don’t just talk to yourself.  That you understand it is not traditional push marketing.  That is a medium that allows us, possibly for the first times ever, as people and companies, to TALK to one another in larger numbers and on a wider reach.  When the supposed “experts” devalue the medium by using it to solely push information at others, I believe we all lose.  But, that is just me.  I may be alone in my thinking, I would love your comments and feedback to know if I am or not.

What I did find most valuable from these exchanges is the lesson I learned in the potential damage of a poorly worded tweet, status update, email, whatever the message form.  Failure to find a clear way to express our message or intention leaves open the possibility of misinterpretation and misunderstanding, as was the case with my tweet.   My critics apparently interpreted it much differently than it was intended.  My intent was never to tell anyone how to use Twitter, it was to express my frustration with the self-professed social media “experts” who have not embraced what I feel is the most important aspect – the social.

2 Comments

  1. Gloria,
    I think the crux here is the idea of what makes someone a so-called “expert.” Like you, I believe if you claim to be social media expert then the implication is you understand and embrace the social part of it. That is, you do the dialogue.

    Still if someone just wants to push out info I don’t know that this necessarily devalues the medium. There are many tweeters who just tweet out articles they like and want to pass on. This, of course, is not the same as only promoting oneself.

    In any event, as regards what is or is not social, online, as in life, there are different strokes for different folks.

    Like

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