Social Media is More Than Links, Klout, or Followers

In the social media frenzy of getting more friends, followers, Klout, etc. I think some have forgotten about people. I know I do sometimes.

However, aren’t people the whole point of the social web?

In March, I wrote about the 3 Behaviors that are Social Selfish and today I want to add #4:  Wasting time unhelping people who ask for help.

Today, someone with 260,000 followers retweeted my post about the Menards Website Hacking fiasco I discovered.  Very kind of Dave.  One of my other friends Jeremy Holmes thought it was too bad that he didn’t offer the mention with the retweet, so I messaged Dave to ask about it. After all, he had already found it interesting enough to retweet once and it couldn’t hurt to ask if he’d help out.

Here’s what I sent:

“Just a humble request. Can you retweet the Menards blog post with my tweet meme link and @Biebert mention? Thanks!”

This is what I got:

“Apologies, can’t do it. Have to be consistent. We get a TON of special requests, can’t show favoritism. Sorry.”

I didn’t get how someone could call giving credit on a retweet a “special request.” I thought that was just the courteous thing to do.

The warrior side of me came out and I got irritated. Some good friends jumped in to defend the concept of giving credit and what proceeded was an hour long public debate as he lectured me on the standards of giving credit and everyone ganged up on the poor guy. Now we’re both writing blogs about our experience and what we learned.

Here’s my general take on the topic. For me, a simple “No” would have been fine.  I understand how valuable time is, especially to someone who has that many followers. I can only imagine how much contact he has to deal with.  However, what I didn’t understand was saying no to someone in order to save time and then wasting the extra time lecturing them. It’s so much easier just to help people, at least in my smaller world.

It only makes sense.

Here’s why:

  • People still matter. Even though he has a Klout score of 84 and 260,000 followers, people still matter.  Great things happen when you help people.
  • Time matters. If you don’t have time to help someone, don’t lecture them.  It is disengenuous.  In the time it takes to argue, you could seriously make someone’s day.
  • Content matters. If you like the content enough to share it, make sure you help people find the author in a helpful way.  A simple @mention takes 3 seconds.

At the end of the day, social media is still about people.  Sometimes we forget that. I know I do.

Some of the best relationships I have through social media are with regular people that have fewer than 5,000 connections.  I have laughed with them, learned from them, and even cried with them.  Yet I’ve never met them.

People are the magic of social media!

Never forget that.

Have a generous night,


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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

12 comments on “Social Media is More Than Links, Klout, or Followers”

  1. “As you point out, I did say “no,” and privately. And then you went a bit ballistic. Dozens of angry tweets with derogatory language.

    You have tweeted that you thought I was retweeting, when I explained that I wasn’t. You tweeted me for clarification. I provided it. But you don’t mention that on your blog post—that there was a misunderstanding that got cleared up.

    I apologize for not listening better so that the misunderstanding could be cleared up sooner. It’s a shame you’ve focussed solely and completely on characterizing my behavior as being anti-social when you could have focussed on the source of the problem. Your tweets, unlike your blog post make it pretty clear you had a major meltdown over this. I apologize for my part in leading up to something that was obviously incredibly frustrating for you

    1. Dave, by telling me that you didn’t need to give credit when retweeting something, you basically admitted to retweeting it. If that wasn’t the case, it would have been a simple discussion. Something like this:

      Me: Can you help me out by adjusting your retweet to include @Biebert and my tweet meme link?

      You: Hi Aaron, great post. I found it on Google and shared it with my 260,000 followers. Don’t normally use @mentions when doing that. Don’t have time. Sorry.

      Me: Thank you for being generous. I really appreciate your help. Thought I would ask just in case.

      You: No problem. Have a great day.

      That’s how it could have gone. However, you were eager to lecture me in your infinite twitter wisdom, and frankly I think you may have lost the point of social media. Some days I know I do.

      I’m not worried about people making mistakes. I worry about them not learning from them. Your apology seems more like an excuse and it’s hard to get past the subtle jabs even though I’d like to end this and move on.

      My blog post above is about a lesson we can all learn from, that people matter. If you would have just taken 5 seconds and helped me, I would be writing about how great you were. Instead we had this.

      In reading your comments on your blog (we’re cross posting), I think it’s time for me to settle down. I got a little irritated that you were treating my like a baby. You obviously have gone out of your way to correct/explain/etc. and that means something. Time is valuable, and I appreciate your time.

  2. You just suggested a mutual apology in a comment on my blog, and suggested I come here. Great idea! First, I’ll just acknowledge your comment above.

    It’s actually amazing how many misunderstandings happened so quickly. You seem to “get” this, which I have to say I think is a great credit to you. A great, great credit! In my experience people rarely make much effort to communicate well.

    I misunderstood what you were doing though, thought you were asking a special favor, so responded directly to that. You didn’t know why I made my statement, and then I linked to the best info I had about the use of what I thought you were asking about, bringing the word “retweet” into things. That all made it hard for the “ideal how it could have gone” to happen as you wrote it. But I agree, that’s how it SHOULD have gone…and didn’t, thanks to me.

    Tell ya what, no more three hour of sleep nights and then tweeting! Now I really, REALLY, miss the nap I didn’t get today :)

    Good point also about the apology plus a lecture thing not being the way to go. Mea Culpa on that. And my own screw ups of course have nothing to do with you, it’s my problem, my error, my opportunity to learn, no lecture from me to you.

    While I blogged some of what I did, by way of a detailed apology, let me say I screwed up almost from the first moment, with me completely misunderstanding what you were asking for.

    Good point in your comment above about how (1) avoidable it is for me to come off completely the wrong way if I would set aside my ego first.

    When you called me rude in your second communication, I at that point had (2) completely misunderstood where you were coming from. You were trying to help me make a clarification! I didn’t realize that at all. No wonder I seemed rude to you.

    Of course, you didn’t know all the details because (3) I sucked at clarifying things. Hence, I had already screwed up badly before sending you that link to info about credit in tweets. It just went downhill from there.

    I know enough to clarify things before sending links like a know-it-all but I (4) totally failed to make the effort to find out what you were really asking and presumed that sending info (5), e.g. lecturing, was a good idea.

    While it sucked, big time, when that campaign of tweets you energized and prompted others into hit several a minute (with a hashtag no less), no one could say I hadn’t brought it on myself at that point.

    Then I made it worse by (6) taking a know-it-all attitude to each and every tweet that hit, and basically recycling my errors over and over.

    If I could have (7) stopped thinking about myself and what I thought was happening long enough, you would have had the chance to write that “how it could have gone” right away and this whole thing could have been cleared up.

    Anyway, there’s enough errors from me for every day of the week, and I apologize for all of them!

    As to your advice, it IS hard on the ego, but it is of course excellent. May all good things in life come to you in the time of your choosing!

  3. Dave, I need to stop being a baby. :-)

    I should have realized how hard it is to manage the communication you have coming at you. I didn’t offer much context and then reacted to your response as if you didn’t already have 260,000 people communicating with you.

    I hope someday to be in your shoes, and I offer my sincere apology for not being more understanding of your situation. I’ve got a lot to learn.

    They say that emotional conflicts like this can lead to a better understanding of another human. You have met a passionate & sensitive guy and I have met a busy & overwhelmed guy who spent a lot of time today clearing this up.

    Hopefully we can build off that.

    Let’s look forward now. I’m glad I got to know you a lot better. Cheri Allbritton (@ArveyColumbus) had many good things to say about you and she’s urged us to come together.

    I’m looking forward to it.

  4. Sure, take the advice of the most awesome person in the room! How can I not do as the wonderful Cheri bids? :)

    Seriously, thanks much for your awesome effort in turning this into a positive. Clearly you are a great Twitter mentor that I needed to meet, learn from, and guide others to. In my defense, Luke didn’t completely warm to Yoda right away either!!

  5. It’s good to see a positive and meaningful resolution come out of what evolved through misunderstanding and escalated to pissing contests.

    Kudos to Dave Larson, Aaron Biebert, and Cheri. It’s a lesson for us all. It’s a lesson that most of us have to repeat again and again.

    Real human beings were injured, harmed, and traumatized in the making of this live event. But they were also healed, uplifted, and rewarded. We hope.

  6. Great thoughts on here, Aaron!

    What I’ve seen is that people are taking social media and adulterating it with the things that have caused the consumer to tune out interrupt advertising and overall invasive marketing methods. Most folks got it all wrong: they want massive reach and huge followings, but they won’t cultivate community and engage people one-on-one or in small groups. Instead, we’re seeing the usual demographic-focuse mass-market methods that have caused huge companies to tumble (businesses that were once considered “too big to fail”, at that).

    The personal touch is imperative. You can only automate so much before your authenticity and humanity go down the drain. It astounds me that people won’t spend the extra time to give credit. Some foolishly believe they lose “link juice” that way and others are just too self-absorbed and/or lazy to put in the extra effort. Their loss, I say.

    1. Hi Yomar, thanks for the compliment. I’m glad that it could turn into a positive conflict and teachable point of view for everyone.

      I think you make a brilliant point about the adulteration (word?) of social media. Mass media approaches won’t help, but will end up ruining a good thing. At the end of the day it’s about real human people and their relationships with each other. If you’re a big company, you need to find a way to scale up your one on one contact with your community. Maybe this is where the next big job growth will come from? We can’t fake one on one interaction.

      It’s back to the days of the 19th century where everyone that came into your store expected acknowledgement and service. It’s back to the future. Social media makes it possible to have genuine relationships again, but only if we utilize authentic communication methods and help people as often as possible.

      If you have tons of followers as a company/celeb/consultant, I highly recommend personal interaction and generosity to build your community even stronger. Give until it hurts! I still remember the nice things that @Fondalo and @RichQuigley have done for me using their base. I think the more you give, the more you get and that should be incentive enough for companies/celebs/consultants to get behind me on this point.

      Thanks again for the comment. I love the discussions that are happening now on my relatively new blog.

  7. You brought it home once again, Aaron!

    Adulteration in any form of communication is to be expected. That only differentiates us honest folks further!

    The proverbial writing is on the wall. I’ve had offers to take on role as a full-time Social Media Manager and things of the sort. Some companies are getting there but still missing the point. Having oversight and formal strategists, maybe even campaign managers, works but everyone at the forefront of a business entity is charged with the responsibility to feed into the image they want to project.

    Your blog is living proof that taking the extra time to engage in valuable interaction works. The value may not be directly monetary but it helps us grow, building confidence and credibility throughout all that we do. If that creates a more lasting impression than any marketing materials, credentials, or otherwise empty promises can.

    BTW, I LOVE your “back to the future” take. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing, just not worded quite as eloquently as you put it here. 8)

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