(The names of the ignorant have been changed to protect all of us.)
Social media is a neighborhood bar. There are regular patrons, people in from out of town, and the bartender and staff. Of course there’s the bar owner as well, but often they do not push their influence much, leaving the real workers to do serve the community/customers. Here’s one bar I walked into back in December. The group is the eMarketing Association Network Group on LinkedIN. The bar is was Social Media for Business is Crap. (I understand the twins from the story below have started an actual group on LinkedIN called Social Media for Business is CRAP. But I haven’t seen it. Or, wouldn’t be a bar I would go into a second time, anyway.)
A while back I saw a discussion group on my LinkedIN group feeds. The title was clearly link-bait, but hey, who am I to ignore calling bs when I see it. Now on comment 2,044, the discussion on in the eMarketing Network Association titled Social Media for Business is CRAP, has hosted some pretty fun discussions. Some bullying. Some ignorance. But most of all it has revealed what Social Media is, a conversation.
Social Media Strategist walks into a bar and orders a drink. Bartender says, "Sure I’ll get you the drink, but you’re an idiot if you believe that s**t your peddling". You might think twice about sticking around. Next the patron to your immediate left chimes in, "Yeah, idiot. We don’t serve your kind here, you’re shilling for the man." At that point you get the picture that you’ve been baited and trolled. Just the kind of bar fight I’m into, kind of in a Charles Bronson kind of way. I’d be more Chuck Norris if I could, but I don’t have the Chuck’s jedi mind-trick powers. And I don’t have the class of Clint’s Dirty Harry. I do use his line however. "So what’s it gonna be? Are you two punks feeling lucky?"
A few days later I stroll into the bar to listen to the discussion. The two bullies have not decreased their antagonism. Everyone that has a positive thing to say about social media is summarily attacked. With 24 posts over three pages, the drunk at the bar has started not only getting more surly, but both sailor’s confidence is soaring as he meters out schooling every new customer that enters the bar. His most recent rant looks like this.
"There you go now there’s no wisdom in that… You never learn anything.. Have a nice day. Another good example for the group. Again Thank You
The lesson feedback is valuable. LISTEN TO IT !"
As K and R (the names have been truncated changed), "the twins," are preparing for the jump from the CRAP discussion to the CRAP group they have created, I am amazed that they have (collectively) learned ZERO. R has stated he is compiling a "best of" this thread and giving a PDF of his edit to joiners of the CRAP group. I don’t think they have a logo yet, but I have some ideas what the image might be. Hey, they’ve got 70 members. wOOt!
And as for a best of, I won’t pretend that my experience in social media is a "best of" or that I know better than anyone how to make this stuff go. I too am a student. I can however summarize both K’s and R’s contribution to the 2k+ comments and the chili dog celebration they are announcing as "they" wind down this group and attempt to call people to their SM is CRAP group.
K’s pattern evolved early on as challengers entered the room to tell K he was more like his motto (Exploiting Client’s Online Assets) than social media was. I think you will find this response typical from page 1 – 105.
K says, " Will, When you figure it out PLEASE let the rest of us know. Thanks in advance K….." (best of K’s CRAP, p. 10)
And the chorus of response to K’s smarter-than-thou sailor was pretty typical too, "K****, do you always respond to people that disagree with you with insults? You know nothing about my business. — SH (best of K’s CRAP, p. 11)
And K throws his expertize back at SH with this marvel of logic, "S******, Insult? Ok, I’ll be the "bad guy". Meanwhile, I was hoping could get something more concrete other then a "wild" claim of -> "Over 30% of all new accounts opened this year have been a direct result of social networking". How, when, where? i.e. if Facebook or Twitter, using what trigger, what conversion strategy?, WHO are these "accounts"?. We’re all here to learn. Not, exercise our egos. " (best of K’s CRAP, p. 11)
And as he pounded one more visitor, K revealed his master plan, "C*******, Re:"that is the whole point of SM. There is no "ROI" captured on "books" because these things are not able to be "captured". "… / Then STAYED TUNED for the "white paper’ I will be posting in next few days. You may be quite surprised. Also, your "There is no "ROI" captured " statement would be quite disturbing to the majority of social media active business owners in the survey "(best of K’s CRAP, p. 14)
K never did put out his white paper. If you see it, I’d love to see the expertise of the angry exploiter. I guess that was over a month and a half ago that he promised his leadership piece. I have not seen it. Maybe he’s got it over on his new group.
Rewind to the meeting of the twins: Back on PAGE 23, R swaggers into the bar and orders a stiff one. At this point I don’t think he’s been on the bar crawl for long. He seems civil and articulate. At least he has a point.
"K*****: Social media works for our clients. You want real results.. Here’s but one example of a cheap campaign that works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGKXsIMBJ_4Social Media is Crap ? Hog Wash !! It works and it works VERY well if propertly used in a number of ways !!We have 100’s of others. If your looking for something out of the box for little $$$ let us know. We can show you how ! R***** H******"
What happens next is very curious. What I thought I saw, a week ago, was K tearing into R with the same vigor and ignorance demonstrated above. What we have now however, are a string of "this comment has been deleted" notations. R continues to respond to "someone," but it’s as if K didn’t attack him at all.
Maybe that’s when the comment count reverted from 1,998 back to 1,690. Maybe, just maybe K was attempting to clean up his act. It’s been documented before that he has a habit of attacking like a drunken sailor and then deleting his own comments. But how did R turn in an open challenge to K and get not one argument back from K? It’s as almost as if K attacks and R’s repsonses were erased from the discussion.
We pick up the love story again on page 27 when R, has turned the corner "Right on K*****" It’s about that time that these two jokers, wrote mutually praising LinkedIN recommendations, saying how smart the other guy was. I laugh at the transparency of social media, and the mental vacuity that doesn’t allow these to guys to see they are pawning themselves in front of all of us in the bar. Check the endorsements out on their profiles. It’s pretty funny what they have to say about each other in terms of business intelligence. An illustration of the don’t-pat-yourself-on-the-back-too-hard-you-might-break-your-arm principle.
The rest of the twins participation follows the same formula: 1. visitor comes in and says something about social media; 2. The twins attack; 3. visitor leaves.
They’ve picked up the pace a bit, note R has 24 comments on the last 3 pages of this post. Heck, one even looks as if R is bragging about his social calendar. But it’s clear that he as fallen hard on the bottle at this point.
K only racks up 7 comments over that time. And then it’s over. They kill the group. Or maybe the LinkedIN police swooped down and shut it down and locked the drunks out. Whatever happened, I am a bit sorry the the twins are lost and gone forever. I’m sure they are making the best of it on their Social Media for Business is CRAP group. You kind of have to wish them well. Challenged as they are by their limitations, they are, in fact, making a living using Social Media. Heck they are even referring to themselves as experts in several online marketing fields. Doesn’t make sense to me that you would walk into a bar with a gun pointed at the head of the golden goose, but maybe people like those kind of theatrics. Not for me.
Anyway, best of luck with the CRAP group boys. One question though: "Who is going to put that badge on their profile?"
People call it going negative. Others understand that people don’t forward a boring email or promote a vanilla digg. Well, think about it, do you?
IMFHO – If you aren’t falling you aren’t learning. If you don’t loose followers on a regular basis, then they are not paying attention and you are not making yourself clear. I am not for everyone, call it an acquired taste; Like a David Letterman (the 80s – 90s version, before he got bitter and regretful) or the Onion, either you get me or you don’t. And if you don’t follow, that’s cool. If you block me, I might ask why (@omarg I understand, @LaniAR, I don’t understand) and then follow up with an "I’m sorry" if appropriate or a "Sounds fair" if I disagree with you.
But… And here’s where the kid gloves come off: If you attack me (long form or short form) be prepared to defend yourself. And not just from a flame war, from facts, figures, references, documents, historical participation on social media sites like LINKEDIN, and mainly your own content. Where do you put your attention? What is it that you are constantly going on about?
I’ll give you my top 3 from that little list over there >>> to the right.
#1 social media
#2 tech reviews and opinion
#3 about me
(verify these counts in a second before publishing…) ;-0 )
And I’ve done a bunch of posts on sentiment, or how negative am I really. Maybe I need to update the meter, but I’m pretty up and happy and on the sunny side of things. Until I’m down. Then I see dark clouds overhead, I rant a bit, and I go dark myself and don’t surface for days.
What I discovered at Dell and occasionally in social media was it doesn’t really matter if your right. And though I may not like it, sometimes it may not be appropriate to go directly to the person who is having the conflict with you. (At Dell, I’m pretty sure it was a legal thing, an ethics thing, a sensitivity thing.) Okay, so don’t go direct with the person, talk to their manager. And don’t drop the f-bomb. EVER!
As a wrap, let’s take one example of where jumping in with guns blazing (Well, my guns weren’t hot until I was attacked after the first post.) was seen as inappropriate by some, offensive and worthy of counter strikes by others, accurate and praiseworthy by a few, and privately praised by many. And some of those private supporters, those who PM’d me on LinkedIN to say, "Keep it up." finally commented on the thread themselves. This particular thread demonstrates how even a former victim can become a supporter of the abuser if it’s in the best interest of the victim.
Now I am not saying I’m right, or that my techniques and linguistic dexterity is always ON or appropriate. What I am saying, is that if you say something back it up with Passion AND Facts. If you attack, be prepared to meet the social media ninja.
[As a response to some of the comments here, and more so the comments I got as part of the LinkedIN viral discussion, I have launched a NING community site to rally around the best ways to deal with TROLLS who attack. And more importantly the Trolls who threaten. Please join us at Social Media is Not Hate (Ning) You might be member #2!]
The whole post thread. Watch for Trolls along the path, cause they are hoppin mad today!