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Why I Hate Social Media: Just Another Twitter Rant

Written by Gabriella Sannino   
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 14:50

(by Gabriella Sannino)

Before I get jumped on, let me say that I do like a few things about social media. The potential to reach out to people I wouldn’t otherwise meet is a big one. BUT!


Twitter – The Information Network

Evan Williams, Twitter’s CEO, said;

“What we have to do is deliver to people the best and freshest most relevant information possible. We think of Twitter as it's not a social network, but it's an information network. It tells people what they care about as it is happening in the world.”

Does it really, though? I can just hear a resounding, “but what about Iran?” Yes, the way the world is going is something we care about – but how often does that stuff come up? Seriously, take a look at your current Twitter feed and point out five things currently on the page that are as important as Iran, or even close – I’ll wait....

Somtimes social peeps need to STFU

If Twitter was really an information network, and only an information network, would we see things like, “Am currently shaking from the bass produced by Lil Wayne lol”? Now, I’m not knocking Twitter itself, but have you paid attention to your feed lately? Social media platforms, especially ones as popular as Twitter, are only as good as their users… and that’s the crux of the issue.



Twitter – The Social Network

Twitter has helped change the way people pass on important information, but it’s also pointed out exactly how much we’ve forgotten about true social interaction.

For instance, we’ve all made the mistake of following the Self-promoting Tweeter:

  • They send you an auto-DM. “Thanks for following! Check out my spamming link and order today!
  • The tweets they post all go back to their own website.
  • They never respond to tweets you send them


Or the Narcissistic Tweeter:

  • They send you a DM. “Thanks for following! Hope you like my tweets!” (not bad so far)
  • They tweet things like, “Drinking hot coffee @ Starbucks! Yumm!” (erm… yeah?) and “I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich today! (um…who cares?)
  • They take Twitter’s “What’s happening?” question literally.
  • They never respond to tweets you send them
  • They share their location like it’s big news

These two types of tweeters seem to be the most common, and they have two things in common. They never respond, and they never retweet. They’re stuck in their own little Twitter world, imagining everyone hanging on to everything they send out while ignoring the whole point of social networks. Socializing.


What’s the gig here?

Here’s my question to everyone, no matter what type of tweeter you are. What are you really on Twitter for? Do you really want to talk to people, or are you just there for shameless self-promotion?

We use terms like, “engage” and “connect”, but it really all comes down to communicating with your fellow human beings around the world. Consider that Twitter might do more than just up your website traffic or get one more person to buy a product they really don’t need. If you step into the idea of socializing, you really can connect – but you have to CONNECT with your followers!


Gabriella Sannino

About the Author - Gabriella Sannino is the owner/operator of Level343, a copywriting & SEO company. She specializes in depth analysis, hard data, strong copy and tested SEO techniques to bring traffic and conversions to business websites. Her passions in brand building through social media, marketing techniques and writing strong copy that converts are all part of the strategy. You can also catch her on Twitter


 

Comments  

 
+1 # Charlie 2010-04-21 11:17
Currently I am right in the middle of a study of social media (albeit in the music industry). My personal findings are that twitter is the least spammy of the networks at the moment.

Consider myspace profiles that the messages are basically, bands, self-promoting glamour sluts (probably S-x-cammers) and an occasioanl personal message gets lost.

Consider the fact that twitter is in fact the only good open network available to find new people through their interests. Connection then is easier than ever before.

Agreed sometimes the content is shabby... but it saves the conversational time between friends when you meet up so you can talk about the more meaningful things.

- For companies/bands etc though the hard thing is scaling up the connection when you have more followers.

Charlie
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+2 # Charles 2010-04-21 15:49
"What are you really on Twitter for? Do you really want to talk to people, or are you just there for shameless self-promotion?"

Since the beginning of time (well the last 10 years anyway) social media always been about shameless self-promotion, as well as networking with others that are receptive to aiding you with more shameless self-promotion.

Personally speaking, if I truly want to socialize I will go over to one of my friends houses and hang out in person.

Its not very realistic to think that because you have tweeted a flood of mumbo jumbo to xxxx of followers, that you are actually socializing with anyone.
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+1 # Gabriella 2010-04-21 20:32
That's where we differ. Not only have I met a lot of the people from Twitter, some have become business partners, while others are now clients. I don't "use" social media for self-promotion or to make friends per say but, what I am saying is if you are going to use any social media especially Twitter make an effort to really connect with people rather than flooding them the mumbo jumbo. Besides, I keep my mumbo jumbo for the dance floor. ;-)
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0 # Guest 2010-04-22 10:42
I adopted Twitter back in mid 2007 so I can honestly say I have seen just about everything on Twitter, good and bad. There are hard and soft approaches to social media (and yes, sometimes friendships come from participation), but at the core its marketing at some level.

And its ok to differ on opinions because it keeps things in balance. But I have to ask you something and please don’t take it personal.

You say you don’t “use” it for self-promotion yet you have a business profile. So that alone says there is promotional intent behind your presence. Am I not interpreting that correctly?
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0 # Charles 2010-04-22 15:49
Sorry, my name is not "Anonymous", its Charles
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+1 # Gabriella 2010-04-23 01:51
Charles I don't know you therefore I won't take anything personally ;-) But getting back to your comment... Hummm Business profile? You mean "If you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original! ~ Sir Ken Robinson. I work @Level343 - Si sono Italiana, di Napoli. " is a business profile? I think it's more eclectic than business. But to touch on the "intent" I have never & will never "push" my services on anyone.

As a matter of fact I do have another profile that's my "business" if you will. But even on that one I don't push our services. I personally like using social media because I am social. You see I am stuck in the swamps of the MS & I miss culture, conversations, and intellectual debates that I would not have unless I was using social media... sad but true. In conclusion interpretation is ones reality therefore we can agree to disagree.
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0 # Charles 2010-04-21 16:41
"Consider the fact that twitter is in fact the only good open network available to find new people through their interests. Connection then is easier than ever before"

And the caveat for those people is that they are opting in for either being subjected to marketing, or being a foundation for someone’s personal agenda.

Reality is that once you have roped in your share of followers, you will hit a conversion threshold, and after that the ROI dies and secondary stuff follows suite. After that is when substance and quality severely degrades, its happened on every social media application made.

Be honest, is twitter really the extent and depth of ones social DNA? Eventually a new application will come out and twitter will take the way of plurk, and the cycle will start over.
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+1 # Charlie 2010-04-22 01:48
That is just a product life cycle isnt it?

Myspace is now full of too much spam and facebook is getting that way.

However it isnt the platforms that are important, just that you are able to communicate effectively.

When a new platform arrives, uproot and make it known - or - start to branch out and embrace it and maintain the old networks if it is still converting.
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0 # Charles 2010-04-22 15:38
"That is just a product life cycle isnt it?"

No, its a people life cycle when your dealing with social media.
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+1 # Gabriella 2010-04-22 10:48
Charles some people have a way to communicate that is not invasive while others spam the sh*t out of you. What we call noise and nonsense. I will admit sometimes I babble on about stuff but I know someone is listening since I more often than not get a response. I was never much into Myspace I think it's a bit young for me.

Twitter is social no matter what naysayers may think. It's been fun meeting awesome people. Including my buddy in arms Bonnie :-) I know I can call her, and ask her about anything. We have even promised to visit each other one day. I thank Twitter for that... so as I have stated in my last comment, it's all about how you use Twitter not how you abuse it.
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+1 # Charles 2010-04-22 16:18
Gabriella, I can relate. I met a guy while spamming his sites and as a result we ended up being such good friends that I attended his wedding. And we have been very good friends since then.

But to avoid being hypocritical and a horse of a different color, spamming is still spamming. And social media is still marketing at some level.
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0 # Bonnie Burns 2010-04-21 23:21
Do I promote my own seo business on twitter...No! Do i use a back door to promote between the tweet line....Yes. How so... by keeping followers updated on latest industry news, processes, techniques. I also interact, retweet and so on. Have I met some great people...SURE HAVE (and that includes you my friend) =D
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0 # Karen 2010-04-22 04:49
Hi Gabriella,

A fun article article with a well thought out point. Not something you read on Twitter everyday. But I do find thought provoking articles like yours. I promote what I do on Twitter, yes. But I also learn from amazing people I never would have found if it weren't for Twitter. And I love to share cool articles like this with my followers.

Thanks!
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0 # Gabriella 2010-04-22 17:54
Karen, thanks, I wish I could take credit for the rant... I have to admit, it was a based on a discussion I had with one of my copywriting work slaves.

She took the discussion we had and ran with it, disliking anything that has to do with social media. Well, she might not hate it as much as she used to; she's actually coming around to my way of thinking (sort of). lol - As long as she doesn't have to do it, she's fine with me using Twitter to promote the hell out of our services and build business relationships, etc.

Maybe I'm being delusional, thinking people are actually interested in what I say, but I don't think so. To me, it's the person, the emotional connection people eventually make, that counts in their social networks.
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0 # Alysson 2010-04-22 04:37
My tweets are much like my conversations and that's the beauty of Twitter. I make light of the things I believe are absurd. I comment on the vast sea of idiocy we tread water in day in and day out. I could preface many of my tweets with "OH" because what I'm tweeting is often the same thing I've just said...but pared down to 140 characters or less.

And, like in life, if people don't want to have a conversation with me, they won't follow...they won't reply...they won't participate. That's fine. Don't like my tweets? No one made you follow me. Be gone. I'm sure Ashton Kutcher or Kim Kardashian are tweeting something you'll find inexplicably riveting as we speak.

Twitter gives people a chance to get to know me a bit...to peek through the window and get an idea what I'm about - what I like, what irritates me, what amuses me, what enrages me. And it gives me the opportunity to do the same with them. Most importantly, it helps us identify what we might have in common.

That's the hidden genius and real value of Twitter...a value that is lost on those who tweet stuff like, "I just took the biggest crap ever" and "I'm in class".
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0 # Gabriella 2010-04-22 18:05
Alysson - Bravissima! One's ability to communicate in 140 characters or less is a skill unto itself. However, to make connections in such short sentences does take time. If you're not willing to give, then - of course - nothing will come of it. It's like the tango; there is a balance of standing strong in a crowd while being subtle, engaging and informative.
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0 # SEO Mofo 2010-04-22 09:06
Nice post. It reminds me of my own Twitter rant (www.seomoz.org/ugc/twitter-impacts-relevance-like-i-impact-gravity), which I wrote last year. My point was similar--I said Google will never use Twitter data as a ranking signal because it's too noisy. After I wrote that post, Google introduced Real Time Search. Stupid engineers. -_-
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0 # Andrew@BloggingGuide 2010-04-22 09:41
When I'm on twitter, I usually retweet things from other bloggers or other people that I would know would be of help to my followers if ever they get a chance to take a peek at it. I have a lot of twitter followers but I see to it that I'm just not focus on the quantity of my followers but also on the quality of tweets and also of our relationship with each other as twitterers.
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0 # Snorre Glemmestad 2010-04-22 17:33
Hi, i really enjoyed your post =D

Going to qout this on twitter;
"What are you really on Twitter for? Do you really want to talk to people, or are you just there for shameless self-promotion?"

Have a nice day! =D

You made my day =)
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0 # Gabriella 2010-04-22 18:19
Hey Andrew, let me share a funny story with you about RT'ing something blind. Maybe I shouldn't Dave may not allow it.... humm, suffice it to say, unless I know that person for some time I always double check links before sending a RT out to followers...It was embarrassing, and I actually felt my face turn ten shades of red. But then I realized I could delete the RT. So voila, I no longer RT unless I know you really well. :snicker:
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0 # Jag 2010-04-24 11:43
Good post Gabriella. You poured it out =D

I see many follows and they are unrelated. They unfollow if we did not. I just don;t care about those and also I unfollow if I dont get replies for my DM and tweets, may be depends on the account popularity and previous replies :music:
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0 # Lo Wright 2010-04-28 13:07
I've just started learning SEO and found your article really helpful on the best ways of learning social media to connect with our potential customers. Cheers!
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0 # Gabriella 2010-05-01 10:17
Hey @Jag, & @Lo glad you guys liked the post. It was fun writing it and needless to say I was having a "rant" kinda morning. Cheers!
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0 # Lorri 2010-05-01 16:48
I completely agree with you. It seems my twitter feed as of late has become a feed of self-promotion. The Social Tech Rockstars that I respect all say it is about engagement, yet I was not seeing much engagement, just alot of 'Read my Blog" and "look at the amazing thing I am doing"....making me crazy.

I can see some vaidity to posting what may come across as a trivial post - if it turns into a conversation...which Starbucks blends we like or Starbucks vs. Dunkin' Donuts....that is if Starbucks and Dunkin' Dounts are paying attention...so many brands are not engaging.
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0 # Gabriella 2010-05-06 19:39
Hey Lorri let me say Social media is not about Me but about YOU. Granted a lot of people will say what about the time spent how can you justify the hours, what can you gain? so on and yadda yadda blah blah. Well you know that ROI everyone loves to throw around? When I interact with people I mean really connect is when I am fulfilling my ROI.

I may be one of the few people I know that has gained a tremendous amount of work & connections using Twitter so I am convinced it works.
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0 # Massimo Paolini 2010-06-02 01:35
My two cents.
Social Media is about communicating socially (as the name clearly states).

People relate to people who talk with (not to) them (translate talk to the media).
People buy from people (brands) they can relate to.

It's not any different then any other method of communication. If you would not behave in your community park the way you behave on Twitter, you are missing the point. Completely.
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+1 # Jenny Stradling 2010-06-02 17:23
Hi Gabriella -

Thanks for sending me this piece on twitter... I spend hours upon hours working each day on the internet, I find myself randomly popping in to check my Twitter account. I often times feel as though I`m talking to myself, it was great to hear that someone else was actually listening. I don`t really promote anything on my Twitter account (yet) but after spending the majority of my time staring at a computer and not at "real people" it was good to connect!

Thanks for making me laugh!
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0 # nancy 2010-08-22 15:36
Lately because of my situation at home I find myself getting lonely tweeting, 'cause I have a gut feeling no one can really knows what I'm going through. I know I need to get out of the house and talk to people in person. I love Twitter for entertainment purposes, read what's going on. I feel like I'm talking to myself...like blogging. In the old days a person could keep a hand written journal. I'm quitting Twitter, it doesn't help my happiness.

I'm glad people enjoy it so much and I wish you all well.
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