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What price Social Networking?

Monday, 14 April 2008 — by

What I find really disappointing is that I’ve had people follow me on Twitter only to see that their messages are of the short title + URL kind. So really, about the only reason they’re adding me is because I must fit their audience demographic, which suggests they’re marketeers. For me, a one-way dialogue is no dialogue at all…

Social Networking — the rules of engagement

I was one of the first wave of people to use Twitter. To begin with, I found it useful, but then eventually Twitter became insanely annoying, mostly because of the way people were misusing it.

So I went from talking up Twitter’s potential, to grinding Twitter into the ground.

When you sign into your Twitter’s account profile page, you see the question: “What are you doing?” right at the top of the text box — flooding my social stream with titles + URLs is not conducive to a dialogue.

Now, I don’t mind people sending the odd Tweet like this. After all, if you’ve just posted your new ‘blog article, that answers the question Twitter is asking you. But if you bombard me with digital detritus, then we part company.

Almost exactly the same happens on StumbleUpon, too — new people add you as a friend and the moment you reciprocate, they bombard you with articles to thumb up, usually their own stuff.

Because of this unethical and annoying practice, I’ve had to draw up what I can my 3 rules of Social Media.

Over on Pownce, the micro-blogging dynamic is a lot different to that of Twitter, but at times also annoying. There are those that cross post between Pownce and Twitter, which I have to ignore.

The thing about cross posting is, when you reply, you don’t always get an answer because those that do cross post don’t always keep an eye on the different threads they’re starting.

But there’s also the lost conversations. You write out your questions, or your informative comment on a thread, only to see no follow up.

Thing is, you missed it! Yet another reason to use chat clients for your Social Networks.

Putting a cost on social profiles

Quite recently, I lamented about my Digg account and how I’d love to make something of it, given its age, but I just don’t have the time.

So I made a quip about “sub letting” my Digg profile, which was met with a frosty, father-like chide from a fellow ‘blogger, which made me laugh.

But talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I found an article today about how Rocketboom founder Andrew Baron his selling is Twitter account on eBay.

It’s common knowledge that people build up players on MMORPG’s (Massively Multi-Player On-Line Roll-Playing Games) like World of Warcraft to sell them on, but would it actually be possible to sell on a Social Networking profile for Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon or Pownce?

My dad was watching international swimming on Sunday. A question was asked of an Australian competitor in the studio, along the lines of: is it harder to stay on top once you’ve reached the top? This made me think.

Unless you know how you got to the top, staying there is going to be a challenge. And if your success is built on the back of the failures of others, repeating that initial success will be nearly impossible.

To me, this has a resonance with the previous question about selling on a Social Networking profile, in that the success lies in the continuation of previous successes.

I suspect the more anonymous the identity of the profile, the better chance the new owner has of masquerading as the previous one, should that be the way they wish to commence things.

But anyway, that’s probably a huge topic in its own right, straddling Personal Branding & Brand Management as well as Social Media & Social Networking.

When it comes to Social Networking, the amount of success you enjoy most probably isn’t proportionate the amount of time & effort you invest.

Where you choose to invest your efforts is key and the amount of time is critical. But most of all, the people you include in your Social Network are often the drivers behind many of the success you’re likely to see.

So the price of your Social Network is the value you attach to those that make it what it is…

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Kyle James → Monday, 14 April 2008 @ 16:00 BDT

Wayne, nice rambling thoughts. I had never really thought about the connection of selling a WOW player to a twitter account but it’s definitely there. That account is up to $1,125 on eBay… that’s the insane part!

What those sort of things go to show is that it is the rock stars of Social Media that can profit from something like this and goes further to show the disproportion of wealth because any average Joe couldn’t build up a 1,500 followers on Twitter and then be able to sell their account. There are just famous people in any niche that followers will just pay to know more about.

Wayne Smallman → Monday, 14 April 2008 @ 17:11 BDT

Yes, this a ramble — well spotted! ;-)

What we’re beginning to see is the value of social profiles and how those leading the way in their niche accrue and then channel a great deal of value.

Further to this, this value is not only transferable, it readily translates into power and influence…

doug m → Monday, 14 April 2008 @ 18:06 BDT

i’ve been very wary of the people i add on stumble after seeing the websites they thumb up. those who just have their site, which is usually listed in their bio, are left by the way-side as fans that will remain unfriended. i’m only adding people that can add value to my network.

I think a lot of companies see social networking as an opportunity to exploit a pretty faced avatar to get people to friend them and shove marketing down their throat after the friendship is reciprocated.

we need to ignore these attempts so the company trying this technique has to actually engage the user and provide useful information to the social network.

David Bradley → Monday, 14 April 2008 @ 18:07 BDT

I think the point is not to ask what social media can do for you, but what you can do for social media…start with that paradigm and the rest will follow

db

Wayne Smallman → Monday, 14 April 2008 @ 21:55 BDT

Doug, what you mention about businesses and marketeers is a much discussed and relevant problem right now.

However, because of the way Social Media & Networking function, there’s a healthy dose of self-regulatory control in place.

By that, I mean people like you will spot the fakers, tell 5 friends, who’ll each go on a tell a further 5 friends each — you get the idea, right?

For everyone involved, there’s a learning curve. For the fakers, it’s a damn steep one!

Wayne Smallman → Monday, 14 April 2008 @ 21:56 BDT

David, sounds like a new slogan to me!

But seriously, that’s probably the best advice to give to anyone new to this game…

David Bradley → Tuesday, 15 April 2008 @ 8:19 BDT

Well, anyone can paraphrase JFK, or any other icon, for that matter. But, yes, it’s a reasonable approach to networking isn’t it?

I have to admit I use Twitterfeed to populate my Twitter account, which I know a lot of people frown on. But a lot of people use the Twitterfeed approach and a lot of followers find it useful too. I have several feeds piping in, my main blog, my Google shares, and my Stumbles, so although each entry follows the format you deride above, it’s a fair reflection of what I’m doing during the day. I don’t think anyone would be interested to know when I’m out walking the dog, drinking coffee, chatting to my wife, or whatever. If I’m doing something interesting that isn’t writing related, like fixing a broken plugin or scraping clean an infected computer, then I won’t have time to Twitter about it, but will usually blog the experience later.

It’s horses for courses…

(Anyway, I thought you were a Pownce guy!)

db

Wayne Smallman → Tuesday, 15 April 2008 @ 9:10 BDT

I’m giving Twitter another chance and so far, the results are promising.

I’ve off-loaded the majority of those that are of the title + URL school of thought and concentrating on those who are actually conversing.

Also, I too keep away from what I call the “Ouch! Stubbed my big toe!” Tweets, which is just inane and not conducive to a conversation, or any other kind of dialogue.

The main problem is, what we’re saying and doing is ending up in other people’s lifestreams. So there’s that to take into consideration, too…

David Bradley → Tuesday, 15 April 2008 @ 9:16 BDT

That’s fair enough and the point about invading other people’s lifestreams should be well taken equally by those who tell us about those toe stubs and the URL twits like me.

I’m glad you didn’t ditch me just yet though…

db

Jerad Kaliher → Wednesday, 16 April 2008 @ 6:56 BDT

You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m pretty suspicious by nature and I tend to doubt that people have good intentions when they “review” or promote just about anything – especially when it comes to themselves.

Social networking has, in my opinion, begun to show cracks in its facade. Just like you I’ve been leery of just about any connection I make online. It’s clear that others are increasingly as well. In the early days sites like MySpace didn’t even have the option for anonymity.

Another case in point is the unreliability of reviews. Amazon used to be my goto place for “real” user opinions. Now I have to screen the people giving the reviews to make sure they have been around for more than a month and have given more than 3 reviews.

People are beginning to realize that there is a price to pay. And I’ll tell you one thing, people hate it when they wake up one day and realize that they are a statistic being sold.

Wayne Smallman → Wednesday, 16 April 2008 @ 9:49 BDT

Hi Jerad! Nice to hear from you again, It’s been a while.

The value of a review has dropped off since people latched onto the near “word of mouth” strength they held.

Now, like you, a review has to be checked for validity before we can trust such things.

Over the long-term, more checks & balances will be put in place, most of which will be to measure the value of actual people as much as they are the things we buy or recommend…

Sorry Comments are close. Quite possibly for a good reason. Share your thoughts on some of my other posts or contact me directly.

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