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 http://bit.ly/mLYVmJ 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,


Aaron@Biebert

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3 Behaviors that are “Social Selfish”

Yesterday I wrote that “Caring is Sharing” on the social web.

But what about someone who doesn’t share, like, or add to the discussions we all depend on?  What do you call it when someone takes in everything on the web, but doesn’t give back?

I call it being “Social Selfish” and I believe that it hurts everyone.

For the record, I think that we are all self centered sometimes when it comes to social media.  With too much to do and too little time to do it, something must get pushed to the side.  

Sometimes that means less give, and more take.

This post is not about those situations, but rather for those who have never commented or appropriately shared anything that someone else created.

Even though I believe that being “Social Selfish” is bad for everyone, I’m not convinced that people know that they’re doing it.  After all, Web 2.0 and Social Media are still gaining mainstream usage, and people may not truly understand what they’re doing.

To help explain these behaviors and how they hurt us all, here are three “Social Selfish” actions to think about:

1)      They see something amazing and don’t comment.

By not commenting or adding anything, they’re also not helping the material develop.

If a person doesn’t have anything great to add, a simple encouragement or acknowledgement is nearly as helpful.  It takes a lot of time to prepare material, and it’s nice to have encouragement.

For those of us who don’t advertise or promote products on our blogs, these thoughts we write or record are not-for-profit.  We’re spending our time sharing thoughts and ideas for different reasons.

For me, I love hearing new ideas, growing, sharing, and learning.  This community was built for that.  Your comments are payment for the hours I spend each week doing this.

2)      They see something amazing and don’t “Like” or share it (assuming it’s easy to share).

By not sharing, liking, retweeting, or similar action (validating what they think is great), they’re not helping it spread.

Not helping a great idea spread hurts everyone.  In many ways, Web 2.0 is like an information democracy where the best ideas are identified by how many times people share, like, or comment on the idea.  Not liking or sharing is similar to not voting for a leader you believe in.

If you like it, “Like” it!

3)      They take someone’s material and use it without giving others a chance to find the originator.

I frequently see people quoting other people in tweets or emails without crediting the originator’s name.  This hurts the advancement of good ideas and great thinkers, and makes it hard for people to collaborate with the originator.

One of the ways great ideas (and thinkers) advance is through discussions and interaction amongst those “in the room”.  Sharing a great idea allows that idea to gain momentum.  However, sharing the idea without giving credit makes it hard for real collaboration to take place.

We are all pioneers in the Web 2.0 world, and I humbly submit these thoughts for your consideration.  Since I personally have a lot to learn, I welcome any suggested additions or subtractions for the list (let’s discuss below).

Have a selfless night,

Aaron@Biebert

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