First, a slap on the wrist and 100 lashes with a wet noodle for us here at Area 224. We are guilty of the Fan thing on a couple of levels. We paid for fans for our Real SMM site. We are even doing a random, no cash value, Slurpee Coin thing for Area 224. It’s not sanctioned by 7-Eleven. Maybe it could be and we’d get some buzz, but maybe that would cause more problems than it’s worth.
But if you feel the quest for Social Media Meaning and Enlightenment, like we often do, it’s about to get much much more confusing. And potentially out of control. Why?
- The Federal Trade Commission. The picture of the girl above (ain’t she cute?) wearing the hat (from Steak N Shake, a Midwestern USA restaurant chain) should be disclosed, right? Since it’s on a blog, and was given to the girl by the restaurant, and the girl’s parent decided to use it on a blog — after December 1, that’s technically an endorsement.
- Those symbols up in the headline. Seen them a few places? Like in the Grand Slam of Social Media — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube? Posts and cross-posting and mass confusion aplenty. Even here — where we track this stuff. The LinkedIn stream for yours truly now seems to be a wacky combination of letters and numbers. (We’re reminded of the classic Jerry Seinfeld line “Amal and the symbol for Boron.“) Why are we mixing all of these sites — especially the ones that shouldn’t be mixing? Facebook is oil, LinkedIn is water. Twitter is gasoline. YouTube is probably air.
- Failure to answer the question: “Why are you here in the first place?” That should be your first question before diving into Social, Social Networking, Social Media, Social Media Marketing. And it’s something a lot of businesses and a lot of people seem to forget. LinkedIn is not a tool for Realtors to sell houses on — yet so many actually post every single listing of theirs on LinkedIn. Huh? [Disclosure: we can help those clueless real estate marketers.]
People, one man’s Facebook time suck is another person’s entree into Farmville or MafiaWars. One person’s Twitter addiction is another person’s question about why all those “@” signs and “#” signs that aren’t even called “pound signs.”
Is there a cure to all this? No, but here are just a few guidelines worth thinking about:
- Take all fandom with a grain of salt. Facebook fans can be bought, same way that brands can use Google Adwords to make their way up the search chain. I’m fanning things right and left — sometimes it’s research, sometimes it’s a competitor, sometimes it’s a quid pro quo.
- Try to use LinkedIn to make meaningful business connections with people. Nothing more. You’ll need to turn on your filter and get past all of the pound signs.
- Get out there and actually shake a few hands this week. Really, all of this social stuff is turning us into a world of introverts.
If you liked this blog post, please consider becoming a fan of a book, your kids, a nice hot cup of tea. Whatever. Thanks.