Let’s stop pretending that spammy messages and tactics are social

Don’t you love it when you join a really great Facebook group? A place where you can meet with other like minded individuals and have a great conversation? A place where you can share ideas and content and hash out issues? A place where you feel safe from some of the less than social tactics bandying about in the “social business” stratosphere? Me too.

And then it happens…BUZZKILL.

“Can someone please like my page? It’s about underwater basketweaving and I need one more like to get my custom URL.”

Commence heavy sighs, disgruntled grumbles and eye rolling. It’s okay. Take your time. You can read the rest of the post when you’re done.

Have you earned the right to ask for a favor?

First and foremost, sweetie, this is the kind of plea you should send out to your friends and family, not a group you “hopefully” joined for credible and on topic discussion and content sharing. Sadly, we know there are plenty less than savvy social media managers that blanket join groups for this exact purpose. With the expectation of building their own numbers, rather than taking part in mutual discussion that benefits the group, above and beyond themselves.

By Paul Martin Lester (Author's own work.) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsThere’s no specific group of social media “types” engaging in this kind of behavior? We can’t blame a certain demographic. It’s not just pages with fewer than 25 fans. With Facebook’s recent crackdown on fake accounts, and the launch of sites and apps that ascertain which Twitter followers are real and which are fake, we are seeing a large group of people standing up for “doing and acting right” when it comes to engaging in social business.

Doing and acting right? Yes. Good old right and wrong. The same young lady who posted her need for one more like would, probably, never consider sending out a large spam email. She probably knows that’s not cool and could even get her in trouble with her email provider. But, I’m guessing she isn’t looking at her group post in the same light.

She should.

Textbook. Spam.

What she did was spam a group. She stalked a group of individuals with whom she had no real relationship, no real common ground hoping to gain without giving anything in return. Not cool. I’m hoping she learned something about how simply WRONG this was when her post was quickly and handily deleted by the group’s manager. We can only hope.

Just like someone adding me to their daily eBlast list after I downloaded a “free” whitepaper (don’t do that either), this young woman made a poor choice and engaged in spammy behavior. The kind of behavior that is causing a lot of skepticism and doubt about social business. To engage in this kind of activity and behavior and at the same time call oneself a social media “expert” is anathema to many of us who work hard to build relationships, who give and share without expectations of an immediate “return” or get.

Were I friends with this young woman, I could probably look at her personal profile and see a long list of groups she joined, probably recently, with the same goal in mind. That both saddens and irritates me. Yes, we all look for some return, some ROI in all that we do and build with our social business pursuits. But the misuse of groups, and tweet chats and Facebook like parties with these kinds of mercenary, it’s all about me, attitudes can put a damper on the enthusiasm of even the most effervescent social business practitioner.

Relationships are two-way. Social business is about relationship building. Put the “me” first mentality behind you and get involved in some discussions. The back and forth, give and take will yield you greater results than the sneaky spammy behaviors that are currently being called out.


The original article “STOP IT! Stalking, Spamming & Stealth Activities Disguised as Social Business” by Mallie Hart was published on the Media Barista website
Photo by Paul Martin Lester (Author’s own work.) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons