5 more things I’m sick of in Social Media

Augie Ray from Forrester Research has put up a brilliant blog post in which he talks about 8 things he is sick of in Social Media. Do read the post because it touches upon the different nuisances in Social Media, many of which are the outputs of the Social Media “Experts” that can now be found  dime a dozen. I’m of course not one to shy away from such a discussion so I present to you my own list of things that I’m terribly sick of in Social Media, and with the end of 2010 almost upon us, am hoping that we see the end of these things too.

1. Sheer abuse of Hashtags

This is actually a personal pet peeve of mine but I strongly believe #You #are #an #idiot #if #you #tweet #like #this. In fact you don’t even need to #tweet like this. Hashtags were used for adding context to a tweet which it may otherwise lack. If I tweet “the traffic today is horrible”, adding a Dubai or UAE hashtag adds geographical context to my tweet, without which it might not have made sense. But if I tweet “#Foursquare and #Facebook go head to head in geo location”, I just wasted 1.43% of the character limit.  A perfect example of using Hashtags is for tweets from an event. Use them sparingly to increase their value instead of #cheapening them. Ha!

2. Calling it the next big thing

Sigh. Alright, listen up, if Social Media was the next big thing in 2008/09, it can’t be the next big thing in 2010. So stop talking about Social Media as our saviour. For businesses it may a dramatic shift in the way how they can now  communicate directly to their audience, but these very users have been using ‘social media’ as tools to communicate amongst themselves for a long time now. Remember forums? That was ‘social’ media too. In some aspects it may be a revolution (and I use this word very loosely) but for the most part it is an evolution. And more importantly these tools are now here, use them instead of merely talking about them.

3. Assuming it’s cheap or free

Social Media is not cheap and it’s definitely not free. While some of the tools and platforms might be, the medium is not. The medium requires considerable investment of your time, staff (who you pay a salary too) and of course cash for a lot of tools. But Social Media surely is a ‘cheaper’ medium where the costs are lower than other media, more importantly it is a more cost effective and trackable medium. Free, however, it is not.

4. The cross posting noise

Ow my poor social ears. Every foursquare checkin on Facebook, every Facebook update on Twitter, every tweet on LinkedIn and every LinkedIn update on ? Relevance people, think relevance. Every platform was designed for a different set of social connections and a different kind of conversation, use it accordingly. If I want to know where you are, I’ll send you a Foursquare request, if I want to see all your links, I’ll follow you on Twitter, if I care about your babies, dogs, cats, anythingelseyoureallycareabout, I will add you on Facebook; chances are we’re connected on more of these networks than ones we’re not. So for the love of god, please add signal to the stream, not more noise.

5. The Automation

OK, lets recap on what social media is supposed to be; open, transparent, personal, engaging and insertBuzzWord. If you setup a bot to tweet all your RSS feeds, you’re not personal. If you spam users with pre scheduled tweets, you’re not personal. If you’re repeating tweets, over and over again, you’re not personal. I don’t care if Guy Kawasaki says you must use HootSuite, SocialOomph, ObjectiveMarketer or whatever other tool, if you keep spewing links in my timeline every 30 minutes, I know you’re not there, so stop trying to pretend like you are.

There, I’m done venting. I must admit I am guilty of having done some of the above at some point but never taken it to the extremes. I would like to know your thoughts though. Do you agree with me? Or am I overreacting Or maybe I’m just speaking into empty space. Hello?

Image Credit: Rob Cottingham

Read More

What part of ‘No Automated DMs’ don’t you understand?

I know this is neither a ‘current’ topic of discussion nor an exciting one but it got me thinking again after I received a couple of auto-DMs from both individuals and businesses after I followed them. I was immediately put off by it, but then I thought maybe I’m being too much of a purist, and maybe with a more practical approach they did have some utility. So I decided to put the question out there to collect the wisdom of the crowds.

The answer was a resounding ‘No’. You can see some of the responses as embedded tweets below

probably as annoying as SMS advertising RT @bhavishya: Tweeps, what do you think of Automated DMs?less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

@bhavishya I don’t like them. I unfollowed a few people who were sending me for marketing.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

@bhavishya I totally want to scream my head off at people who auto DM. It’s a terrible way to market yourself/product.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

@bhavishya They will result in a guaranteed reporting of spam and a block.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

The rest of the responses were in the same vein. But it seems many Social Media ‘Experts’ and Agencies continue to do this. So I’m forced to ask,
What part of ‘No Automated DMs’ don’t you understand? Is it the No? Or is it the Automated DMs?

Read More

I discuss Online Privacy and what it means for Businesses & Users

“What is left of privacy has become the user’s responsibility to control what they put up online, since anything you put up online can become public – one way or another; the phrase ‘Online Privacy’ is now nothing more than an oxymoron.

Suddenly marketers are sitting on unprecedented levels of data, opening up a new world of opportunities limited only by their definition of it.”

Read the entire article on Emirates Business 24/7

Read More

Online privacy is dead and it is a good thing

Privacy and protection of online users  (and the content posted by them) has been the subject of great debate recently. The latest iteration of the Facebook Platform – a framework to create applications – has given developers and websites access to user data which they use to personalize content  for arriving users. The social network has received a tremendous amount of flak for this endeavor ranging from mild criticisms to elaborate campaigns to quit Facebook (Quit Facebook Day campaign on May 31st). Facebook for its part has had a fairly solid privacy framework underpinning the network granting users granular control over what content can be seen by which of their friends. After the backlash, Facebook (recently) introduced considerably simpler controls to the previously complicated system. Is that enough though?

Read More

A World with Location enabled Facebook

Geo Social Networking and Location based services and applications are all the buzz these days. Not only do we have applications like FourSquare and Gowalla and the many others battling it out for the top spot in this category, Twitter and Firefox also enabled the ability to determine the location of a user. The future of Social Networking has started to look increasingly ‘local’. But what is the biggest social player doing about it?

Facebook, right now, doesn’t have any location features but there has been an increase in chatter about it unveiling something at it’s developer conference – F8 – that takes place at the end of April.

So what can a world with a location enabled Facebook look like?

Read More