Gary Vaynerchuk and I had a long discussion last night about responding to people on social media. Click here to see the conversations. Gary makes some great points, but it got a bit heated at times.
It’s all Jeff Bullas’ fault. (Jeff, I’m just kidding)
If you prefer my leadership posts, this one might not be for you. It’s a bunch of social media theory related to a brilliant guy who has a following of around one million people on Twitter. It will apply to anyone using social media who is crunched for time.
Let’s get started.
Why should Gary Vaynerchuk NOT stop tweeting at his groupies?
The better question is, “who cares?” It’s none of my business.
Gary likes it and they like it.
It’s a win-win.
Gary sells more books, gains more followers. The groupies love the little tweets back.
Everybody seems happy.
Who the heck am I to question that?
My only reservation is that this is just one example of how social media is killing real communication. I think it’s a relevant topic for any leaders that are strapped for time, even if they don’t have that many people following them.
He thinks he’s caring by responding the best he can (I would agree), but I can see how he would feel trapped into a world of meaningless activity. My main thought for Gary was that maybe he should publicly announce a step back from responding to 70% of tweets and focus on building more quality relationships.
Three reasons why:
1) Quality over quantity
I’m having a hard time seeing how hundreds of ultra quick twitter responses is worth much to the non-groupies out there. Gary can tweet at least 10 times per minute. Are connections being made? Would we even know who we’re tweeting at? Honestly, I sometimes find myself doing the quick responses, thank you’s, etc and I only have 8,500 connections. I don’t feel good about that when it happens.
Rather, I’d say pick a couple people each day, get to know them a bit, and have deeper conversations that lead somewhere. You can’t please everyone.
Otherwise, it’s like walking through a busy town of people who all know you and all you do is nod, smile, shake hands, wink, and say hi. More like a politician than a normal person.
If you build a reputation on responding to people and valuing them, then you have to do that. However, when I first reached out to Gary a long time ago, I didn’t get responses and it was irritating because he wrote in his book “Crush It” (highly recommended) that he would respond to anyone who tweeted or emailed him.
Because of his brand promise, I felt like he was being fake for not responding to me. I like building relationships, not chasing stars around like a groupie. Successful people don’t enjoy feeling like groupies. Therefore, it will limit the type of following that he will have. I don’t follow celebs back because I know they can’t engage. I don’t see Gary as being any different.
When building relationships, it’s key to under-promise and over-produce. This seems like another good example.
It may not seem like much, but a couple words to 1000+ people a day takes up a TON of time. I can see why he’s not able to respond to everyone. It probably doesn’t help that Gary and I spent 4 hours chatting on Twitter last night.
Since we’re both business leaders, we have to consider the opportunity cost of random chatter on Twitter with people we won’t remember. Our conversation was enlightening, fun, and a bit entertaining (especially the haters below), but I wonder if the same benefits apply when tweeting back the quick smiley face, three word phrase, or “thanks” to a couple hundred people per day. Probably not.
I’m all for responding to everyone who talks to me. I think it’s rude otherwise. (Yes, sometimes I’m rude and don’t respond)
However, Gary has almost 1,000,000 followers just on Twitter. Gary is a fellow 8pm Warrior, but regardless of how hard he works, how little he sleeps, or how fast he types, he still has 1440 minutes in each day…just like you and I.
At some point you run out of time.
You also run out of brainpower.
I believe Gary is a brilliant guy. However, no amount of passion and effort will lead to quality relationships with 1000′s of people.
We’re not wired that way.
Most scientists say that we have the ability to maintain relationships with about 300 people, max. Everyone else is in one ear and out the other.
Sound like a worthwhile relationship? I can’t see how.
That’s why I don’t follow celebs, weblebrities, pro athletes, etc. That’s why I wasn’t following Gary until today. They are literally incapable of carrying on meaningful relationships online with most new folks like me.
They’re overwhelmed, sold out of attention, and don’t have time to respond. Classic example of Attention Era challenges. I was shocked when Gary responded, and he’s known for trying his best. People like Jeff Bullas and others who have 100,000+ followers usually don’t respond at all and I don’t blame them either.
Each person only has so many minutes in a day. I’d rather have them enjoy fulfilling relationships rather than spending every minute of free time sending winks, haha’s, lol’s, etc.
That’s just my humble opinion. What’s yours?
Have a great night,
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