Social Media Manners: Don’t Ask … For More

#BecauseMannersMatter  #TwitterLove  #DoThatThing

Social Media Manners_ Don't Ask ... For

Would you like to build a larger, more-loyal, more-engageable Twitter tribe? Yes? Start with civility: Play nice. Act respectfully. And don’t indiscriminately, insincerely, and incessantly ask your followers for more.

Apparently, in an alternate universe somewhere, all one has to do to manifest the stuff of his or her dreams is ask. Just ask. That’s it. Cars. Trips. Stuff … is just given freely in direct response to such petitions with no concern for any burden on, or meaningful relationship with, the giver. It’s just ask, don’t worry about it, and receive. And the really cool part, asking is not only okay, it is encouraged; maybe even expected.

And, apparently, word has gotten out in the Twitterverse that the same arrangement exists on Twitter. So much so, that it is now a technology-driven trend on Twitter. Just ask for more. And ask anyone. In fact, ask everyone. You can even automate your asking so that every time someone new follows you, you can respond by asking that new “Follower” to do something for you.

Well, in the real universe, this universe, the one that we and Twitter actually exist in, it doesn’t work that way. And it shouldn’t work that way. Social media, technology, and no accountability on the internet are not licenses to ignore civility and common courtesy. Interaction that wouldn’t be socially acceptable in-person shouldn’t be acceptable on social media.

In the past couple of months I have received over 3,500 direct messages (“DM” or “DMs”) on Twitter. With a few, rare exceptions, nearly every DM has been an automated response to my “Following” a new Twitter account. And, again, with very few exceptions, nearly every DM has asked me to take an action on behalf of the sender of the DM.

Basically, in return for my proactively reaching out and “Following” a particular individual or organization, I am rewarded by such party asking me in an automated DM to follow, like, share, connect with, find, subscribe, answer, read, evaluate, review, give, and/or buy something being offered by the Twitter account I just followed. And the vast majority of such “requests” don’t provide me any value at all. In fact, such requests are invariably time sucks. More importantly, owing to the brevity of our electronic relationship, none of those accounts know who I am. Or what I am looking for. Or even if I am a viable candidate to connect with or evaluate their latest offering.

Such conduct is more than off-putting. By disrespecting a new, unknown “Follower,” it instantaneously – possibly fatally – damages the potential relationship. And it immediately tarnishes the credibility of the party behind the asking Twitter account – whether it be that of an individual, cause, or an organization.

The fix? Don’t immediately and automatically ask for more. Be respectful. Date. Create a relationship. Provide value. Court. And then, as and when appropriate, sincerely ask for what will best-serve you and those whose assistance, connection, money, or time that you seek. Until then, turn the auto-generated, what-you-can-do-for-me-next DMs off. They don’t work – except to alienate.

The good news is, and there is always good news, the Twitterverse is full of opportunities to act sincerely, responsibly, and purposefully to create meaningful an

d mutually-rewarding relationships and promote any number of causes, brands, products, individuals, organizations, and ideas. And to have fun doing so.

Finally, remember, unlike so many other things that are seemingly rendered obsolete in the digital age, civility still counts. Manners matter. The individuals and lives behind the digital “Likes, Followers, Circles,” and photos are real and their respective thoughts and feelings matter. So does their time. Both the universe and the Twitterverse respond to respect, authenticity, and value. Just ask them. Nicely!

Inspire and BE Inspired,

Jay

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