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Social Media Cash Grab

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 17:57

Do they care about those that help build them?

(I wasn't going to post this, but thanks to Li Evans first step , and the support of others - the die is cast)

I took a day away from the world of social to spend some long needed time with my family. It seemed some retrospective evaluation was needed, emotionally and financially. In the end analysis there is every reason to wonder why I play in Social Media at all (and I mean media not networking)?

Cheers Mate!A few things are for certain;

  1. I don’t actually care for power user popularity (only real peeps liking me)
  2. I have never made a dime for my efforts - so no financial gain
  3. The management of these websites are less than appreciative (this is the big one)

In my musings and ranting over the last couple days, more than a few folks told me that these websites had ‘put me on the map’ or something along those lines. While some of you may think this is something to behold, it means absolutely nothing to me. I would far rather have a close circle of friends and like-minded individuals than mindless drones sending me stuff to Stumble, Mixx, Sphinn or Digg.

Furthermore, the traffic is all but negligent as well considering I have NEVER received a new client from my blog nor any type of financial benefit. The advertising on my blog is FREE and I merely promote friends offerings because they are my friends (or peeps worthy of promoting). So this is a non-profit blogging experience to be sure.

 

The Dawn of a New Age for this Gypsy

And so I must re-think how and why I am doing it and maybe you should as well.

One thing that really seems interesting is that outside of Mixx giving away some schwag a while back, none of these websites seem to feel the need to thank ANYONE for their hard efforts in building the sites into what they are. I did take the time to ask some top users on various sites (Digg, Stumble, Sphinn etc..), no one has been thanked that I could find. This is the ultimate user-generated content cash grab and I am amazed at the gall of these peeps to rake it in without even acknowledging the user base.

Kind of funny that the latest offering in the Social Search world; Scour the social search engine – will actually PAY users of the system…. Kudos to them.

Obviously I wouldn’t go as far as to think that locales such as Digg or Sphinn would actually PAY us, but reaching out to say thanks might have been an idea somewhere along the line. Take Sphinn, I have put in more content than ANYONE but the mighty Maki, filed more Spam reports than articles sphunn many times of late and had many discussions. The question remains, why? Do I matter? Do you?

Just another rantIn my musings I went to my social networks to see what others felt (see this Plurk). Of the comments, the one from Barry really made it clearer when he quipped;

“U can give it up for a while and see how u do” – Barry Schwartz

How I do? This is where it gets screwy… Once more, what has it done for me ultimately? I highlighted the financial and ego bumps that it created (trust me, my ego needs no feeding – ask the missus)…. Both of which are negligible. Does Barry think I am addicted and that there are withdrawals in my future? Will I need a support group? Also unlikely....

Barry, what is it you feel social media has done for me? I live a sheltered, meager existance (you're free to come by to verify)

 

Time for a change

Alas, I feel it may be time to move along and do some other things with my life. From now on, more personal interactions and less content regurgitation. For those that care here is what my new social/posting life will look like, please feel free to join me;

Blogging;

The Trail – obviously I will be posting here.
Collective thoughts – my new home for talking social goodiness
Site Reference – I will be posting SEO fundamentals over here more often
Guest Blogging – I have more time for this, get in touch to have me visit your blog.

I write because it's cathartic and passing on the wisdom is the greatest part of any art.

 

Networking;

Plurk – we all know my madness here
Twitter – I will certainly be more active here.
FriendFeed – will post stories I find interesting for discussions (see my FF rooms).

WebWorkshop – as some great peeps hang there
Site Reference – a forum I have been at for a few years (always loved me right)
Email/Instant Messenger – get in touch to be on my preferred peeps list

I am all about the social networking now as I know what that gives me.... I feel the love.

 

Social Media/Bookmarking

Sphinn – taking a break, given too much already
Digg – never was big user, don’t send me shouts please
Stumble – now and again, don't bother sending alerts (they hate SEO types anyway)
Mixx – since they have shown users love, I might be there.
Scour – I might even take a second look here since they value users (join me).

... and NOTHING else social media related unless I feel management is caring. Let the spammers and marketers have them - I am a user not a dealer!

 

Thanks for the memories

I want to thank all the fine folks that have supported me on sites such as Sphinn and Stumble and elsewhere as your kind words have been the fuel that drove me onwards (I know ya'll care). Unfortunately I feel an personal dilemma in supporting social media in a world where the management of such locales seem unappreciative to those that have a major role in the building process. When a website is built with user generated content, showing some love to the users generating the content, might be a good idea now and again.

With all the work I have done in qualitative market research of late, I began to wonder; you would think that these social sites would take a page from those companies trying to utilize the sites and TALK to the influencers more often to try and make a better product and address those whom have made them what they are. I know Digg does try to reach once in a while… but what of the others? Do you the end user feel important?

I also ask each of you to look long and hard in the mirror and ask what you truly get from your interactions. Is social media adding quality to your life? Or merely lining the pockets of those whom operate the sites? Does your ego need stroking? Why do you do it?

I am also interested in hearing from anyone who has had management thank them for their efforts on any social media site…. I have found little in my research to suggest it has happened.

For me, I'd rather donate my time to a charitable cause at this point, because they'd appreciate it ;0)

 

Daves Notes; those close to me know the genesis for this change and can appreciate my feelings… to you I would also say; thanks for putting up with my recent rants. Your comforting words took this post from the garbage bin to here on my blog. Not sure if it will help anyone, but on the oft chance it might... I give to your collective wisdom and have posted this.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." --  Friedrich Nietzsche

See you all on the trails…. remember I am a family man peeps - that is what it's about for me.

And I leave you with a recent rant from Mel; How not to use social media – fun read to be sure.

 

Comments  

 
+1 # DazzlinDonna 2008-07-16 18:53
Hope to bump into you on the trails, Dave. You've earned my respect in a relatively short amount of time. You don't have a thumbs up smiley or a "here's a toast to you" smiley, so just imagine them here. :-)
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0 # soapbox 2008-07-16 19:25
If it means "absolutely nothing to you" then why do you want some sort of thanks or credit for supporting the sites? What makes you think that your contribution is more valued then others that might not "plurk" as often as you, or as brilliantly. I follow you on plurk and have responded to your posts. You have never been in some of the great conversations I have been in other threads, and I have often gotten the impression that you are being too "cool" to really enjoy the gathering of people and what they had to say. Could you have gotten too big? I wondered if you had lost track of what sites like "plurk" were really all about. You don't keep it simple and fresh. You didn't hear people like me, communicating our daily existence, our thoughts and experiences, our worries and our jokes. You make it too big. Maybe that's why you never responded to what I had to say to you. You're missing out on something amazing and spontaneous. Try "plurk" or other sites again with a fresh look at others contributions and not just yours. I am not negating your postings on the sites not being important or worthwhile. I did start thinking that you were getting away from what you could really, personally contribute to "plurk" in the last month. Sincerely, Lyn Weis (soapbox on plurk)
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0 # Dave 2008-07-16 19:41
Hey Soap box.... can U read? Or simply just want to get your own space to rant?

I SAID social media... not social networking?

Social networking is about peeps chatting and thats great, and those that appreciate you often say so... and follow you because they enjoy you.... so I get plenty of reciprocation.

It is only you that can make me seem like I am cool or anything else... I just hang out and talk it up... don't like it? Don't follow. I am not interested in being cool (I also mentioned that)

One thing I AM known for is actually being social beyond the land of the 'cool kids' whom are the untouchables... I am a very good guy - we obviously don't know each other....

If I missed a comment you made, sorry but that's how it goes in Plurk at times as the timeline whizzes by.....

Next time please read the entire post before passing judgement... OK? Because you certainly missed my point.
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0 # Dave 2008-07-16 19:44
Donna... thanks for the support this week as I had a meltdown... in truth is has been a long time comming and as expected there will be those that disagree (see comment below yers)....

I stand by my words and think those feeding these sites into a void are not getting the big picture.... give them a few more years of it and we shall see....
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0 # Teeg 2008-07-16 21:03
I wish there was an applause smiley. It's one thing to help a social network get started, it's fun and the people who are starting it are usually (though not always) appreciative of the help. After a while though, it can start feeling like you're giving so much more than you're receiving and then it becomes a job and loses the fun aspect.

As far as these sites "putting you on the map" I think people probably have it reversed. Even without these sites, you'd have made a name for yourself, of that I have no doubt. The question then is, without people like you and Maki, where would sites like Sphinn be now?
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0 # James Duthie 2008-07-16 21:05
I can't agree with you Soapbox. I'm also a mere minion in the grand social media/blogging world. Yet Dave has had all the time in the world for me via Plurk and other social media outlets. And I know he does the same for other newbies.

Dave is probably the most accessible and social high profile blogger in our industry. I don't know anyone who reaches out to newbies as much as Dave aside from Kimberley Bock.

Plurk is an extremely crowded interface. Furthermore, people like Dave have hundreds of friends. If you're going to follow them you have to realise they receive a lot of noise. If you hold something against every person who fails to respond to your Plurk discussions you probably won't have many friends left. I'd probably have 5 :-)
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0 # thePuck 2008-07-16 21:21
Hmm...you have given me a lot to think on. I understand where you are coming from, but at the same time I think that the overall milieu of all the social media sites (which includes the bookmarking sites) creates a world of distributed agency...lots of people doing large things in little bits all over the place. Ask any one of them what they are doing and they would not be aware of it, but they are doing it.
Thus while you may not have directly gained from social media, the exposure plus the transparency (you are honest and sincere online) and density (your presence online is more or less continuous) have probably led to gigs you would not have had and connections who would not have sought you out.
Just my two cents.
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0 # Dave 2008-07-16 21:45
Hey Puck, love the monicker; being Canadian and all.

Unfortunately it's a negative on all accounts. The only gig I got from blogging is...well... more blogging (Collective Thoughts, Site Reference). None of which are paid positions. Beyond that pretty much nada.

That's why I enjoy social networking; the people I get to chat with. If I was in SMM there would likely be reasons for me to be more active in social media, this as well, is not the case. I am in SEO and don't like the thought of gaming SM for links... kind of why they don't like us much as it is.

People really seem to think visibility is some grand goal when ultimately the interactions and feelings of mutual respect carry more weight to me.

There is certainly more to this story, I merely voiced what I felt fair in a public setting. There is nothing worse than whiney MFs and personal attacks IMO... I merely expressed some emotions in my own cathartic way and some friends felt it worthy of posting, thus I did.

In the end, I am old and grumpy... I have to answer to my own feelings and this is how I am feeling this week.
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0 # thePuck 2008-07-16 22:43
I see where you are coming from, Dave. I have a different angle on things, because I am coming at things primarily as a writer and social media marketer. SEO/SES/SEM to me to just be extensions of being active in the internet economy.
Since you come from it as an SEO, there is less to benefit from. But my blog and social media marketing helped me land my current nicest gig writing for an MMORPG, as well as guest blogging gigs that I get paid per post or ad revenue from. And that is with crappy traffic and PR because I just launched this site recently.
Regardless, I am glad to see you will be sticking around on Plurk and such, as that is where I came to know you.
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0 # Dave 2008-07-16 23:05
Yea, I have always tried to maintain a fairly open life as a writer and try to seperate it from my professional life.

When I taught martial arts I didn't charge; all I asked was a commitment to the art and the promise to pass on what they learned.... that is how masters brought it to me... In some strange way I like to think I can do that with SEO.

I felt a need to conform possibly and maybe that wasn't who I am... not sure how I ended up caring so much... but there is simply more to life than an avatar and user stats.

I just want to hang out... forget the drama.... I could go away for a year and the same ol shit would still be happening... bah humbug I say... ha haha ha....sigh... :Pinch:
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0 # Dave 2008-07-16 22:04
@teeg I am pretty sure SM sites would be just fine without us. It was really just curious that I could find little evidence of any of them reaching out to users. What makes that strange is that we're all pumped full of new media articles about embracing your users/consumers through social channels, but does reality bear that out?

It is quite possible under the veil of this social candy that the rich continue to get richer and the rest... well.. status quo.

Even at that, do the sheep ever question the shepherds? I simply have taken a step back for my own sanity.
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0 # Garrett Pierson 2008-07-16 22:16
Dave,

We truly respect your decision and hope the best in all your on and offline endeavors! Thanks for everything that you have done at the various SM sites that you have played a big role on! It is a shame that we will not be seeing you in all the old sites but I will be for sure following you here and where ever you are found.
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0 # Dave 2008-07-16 22:31
Garrett you and I shall be hanging as usual.... how often do we chat on social media sites? We talk via social networking and email... so what's the big deal? I ain't going into hibernation man....

I am really more curious about this topic as a whole - I am far more a user than anything. From my days of being on forums (where mods/admins/owners thank you) and having many thousands of posts. Compare that from what I feel from social media, and it's far different.

Social networking is just more my bag ultimately...
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0 # waveshoppe 2008-07-16 23:12
Dave, friends are always more fun!
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0 # swags2804 2008-07-17 06:56
Hi Dave. Glad to hear you're sticking with Plurk, you're mischief over there certainly keeps me on my toes.

I decided to pull out of Sphinn a while back and have become gradually more inactive over there, now tending to only Sphinn stuff through the original source if it has a sphinn button. I just seemed to get the feeling there was an air of almost contempt (maybe a little harsh) from the admin there towards anybody that wasn't considered to be in the top echelons of the SEM industry.

So I raise my glass to you sir, and I'll see you over on Plurk (when I find the the time to pay one of my shockingly irregular visits to those halls) ;-)
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0 # Dave 2008-07-17 07:34
@Charles - friends are way less stress.... I really am going to get old school and hang out on the boards more again.... that's where we met, how bad could it be? :woohoo:

@ Nic, I have had many peeps email me on a variety of things with the mods there and once more, if they reached out, I could have told them much about people's feelings there. Slowly most of the regulars have droppped off and that will likely continue - I really wish things had been different as I REALLY did have a passion for the place (witness my round-ups, Plurk and FriendFeed groups and more).

Ce la vie, monsiuer.... we still have Paris .....

You can expect me to be Plurking away with a side of Twitter..... so hapy times still brother!!! :silly:
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0 # waveshoppe 2008-07-17 09:58
Now all we have to do is work on your clothing. Did you see our first offering of Hawaiian t shirts (www.luaushirts.com/hawaiian-t-shirts.htm)?
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0 # David Temple 2008-07-17 10:42
Yeah that's right. I thought your post was going to be about how you're going dark and instead I get to see your just cutting a million things in half. You'll still be contributing 10x the amount of most people, including myself.

I'd only wish that we could hang out in person cause I got a feeling your more entertaining than on this interweb. Maybe we'll meet up in Zhongguo some time. :silly:

Keep on plurkin'
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0 # Dave 2008-07-17 10:57
Well you and I met back in social networking 1.0 (forums) - call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I still enjoy that more. So for now it's networking, learning and teaching for me. At least there is a sense of value in it. Social media has become more about cliques, voting crews and whoring for me.... the sites don't care.... because that is the value they offer. There is little else in many cases.

I keep hearing those voices upon high murmering; "Let them eat cake"

..and I am truly looking to create more value in my interactions.. and get value back in return - the party shall continue...

As you might imagine, I'd LOVE to play down your way... feels like a second home for me as I have a strong background in al things Asian... sigh... maybe some day
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0 # Brian Chappell 2008-07-17 14:20
Little RandR never hurt anyone. Life - work - balance can be greatly impacted by the social web.

See you on the flipside bro.
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0 # Internet Marketing Joy 2008-07-17 16:45
I 'm also member of most of these sites..^^ I have to admit social media sites are vey imporantnt in the traffic and promotion of your site.
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0 # Dave 2008-07-17 18:00
Well joy, once more.... my writing and socializing is all about the participation... the meeting of new peeps, the chance to help those get some visibility that may not have otherwise....

And those peeps have shown gratitude... it's a big love in. No love, no fun. Social media is big business for some, just not me. I am all about the love baby... that's what fuels me...
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0 # Bloggeries 2008-07-17 21:29
Lot's of people about to go down the social media submission warpath need to read this.

Networking is where it's at and always have been; those other "top" sites are just being built by people who get nothing but fleeting traffic if that from them.

As someone who enjoys ranting and can appreciate a good one; nice rant!
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0 # Feydakin 2008-07-18 18:49
Welcome back form the edge of the event horizon of social madness.. I think that you and I have had similar discussions about this topic before and I've made my stand on Social Madness pretty clear..

It's so easy to jump the shark and lose track of what works and what is "FUN"!! I still say that for networking and chilling SM 2.0 is great, but for driving targeted traffic and converting sales you need to be a part of SM 1.0.. That's where the money is..
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0 # Dave 2008-07-19 00:08
Hiya Steve, thanks for piping up..no really.... like I need another, 'I told ya so' - so what are ya saying? You'll take me back? he he.....

Seems I lost sight of reality... maybe I wanted to believe.... still not sure. I am sure that it all wasn't for me. I like talking shop and I love search.

In talking with many peeps this week there certainly is a rift that many providers fail to see.... and that simply providing the platform is a means to an end.....

So here I sit... ready to move onto new days, experiences.....
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0 # Lynn Petroski 2008-07-19 09:05
Gotta get out to the garden, before it gets too hot, again, so will write back later to ya on SR -- but, in answer to your question -- Gather.com is a site (and this isn't how I make money) that does, occasionally, thank it's users in the best way - $$! They have book contests, other's enter, I comment, and I make money (in the form of gift cards. If the writer wins, he/she gets book published by famous publishers). It doesn't happen often, but been on it for about a year and a half, and have won $675, including $75 in American Express cards, and $600 for Bolder's Book gift cards! THAT kinda thanks, I like. Other kind -- nice, but I don't live for it!

And, even I don't have enough time for social media, and I don't work nor have kids, so don't blame ya for skipping it, too, just as long as you don't skip SR. I need the deep thoughts occasionally. LOL
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+1 # Feydakin 2008-07-20 20:05
Sorry man, but it's so rare that I'm even close to being right that I have to jump on it when I can :-)

Seriously, I've been watching the productivity at work decline steadily as SM gets more common.. And we are a jewelry store.. I can't imagine how much this has killed tech companies..

I do know of several forums that reward people for being there.. One gave out jewelry for 10k posts.. We try to give our mods at BaB an Amazon gift card for Christmas.. But one of my favorite hangouts has seen the owner lose all interest in anything other than Second Life.. Sort of sad sometimes..

I've put SM on the same level as EverCrack and the MMORPGs.. Lots of fun, but massive time sinks that suck the life out of you if you don't moderate your activity..
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0 # Dave 2008-07-20 20:16
Lol.... I hear ya on the gaming as well... certainly another time management area.

As for that 'other' forum, while the owner may have disappeared I happen to know the mods do make active users feel appreciated... which is better than throwing content/time into the void.

... but feel free to drop in any time and snicker... always welcome.
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0 # Kimberly Bock 2008-07-22 06:08
Dave, I'll have to admit...until I read this I had been wondering how you can be so educated, witty, and talented..yet still waste your time with some of the likes that you had donated so much of yourself to. The majority, sadly, are two-faced and wouldn't give you the time of day if you had nothing to offer them.

You're a good man Dave. Bill considers you a friend and so do I, even though we haven't spoken in a while. Partly because I was also confused by what I was seeing in the Sphinn-zone from people. Sorry for that.

Thanks for being you man.
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0 # Dave 2008-07-23 11:36
Well it has been said; A wise man seeks to understand, not judge.

So, I don't care much for the mud slinging and to those that play the game I say good for them... the drama isn't worth the stress.

I simply came to look at the larger picture and felt something was amiss. I enjoyed the people for the most part and that's still what I enjoy... people.

Nothing to worry about with me... I have no ill words for anyone. Since we love out quotes so much... I shall leave this;

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
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0 # Jaan kanellis 2008-07-24 00:14
Dave,

Glad to see you step away and get back to work, lol.

I have been doing the same thing for some time now. It just takes to much to keep up on these things like Sphinn, twitter, SEO forums and blogs. My time and effort is better spent elsewhere. These social websites are
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0 # Dave 2008-07-24 11:37
It is certainly true Jaan... and with 2 wonderful kids there are other things to be doing... seems the industry is having a meltdown at the moment anyways... soooo..... :whistle:
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