The Practical Guide To Managing Social Media Overload
The Practical Guide To Managing Social Media Overload
by

So John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame posted a pithy little list of tools you can use to automate your social media activity the other day. He was trying to offer some options for the time-swamped small business owner who can’t sit on Twitter all day or spend hours online because, well, they have better things to do. Jantsch is a smart guy. He knows the social media space. I haven’t read his book, but it seems to have sold a lot of copies and he’s a well-received speaker at conferences around the world.

But damn, if I wasn’t irritated by his post.

I tweeted the link and asked my friends on Twitter to read the post, then promise never to use any of his tips. Of course, I use two of them — one, TweetDeck, has nothing to do with blasting spammy, pseudo-personal greetings; the other, Twitter application in Facebook, does post your non-reply Tweets as your Facebook statuses. Like John, however, I monitor responses in Facebook and converse with those people, too. That dissolves the impersonality of the act in my mind. (Feel free to tell me I’m wrong.)

That said, the other suggestions John made were essentially contradictory to the essence of why social media exists in the first place. His point was to say something like, “Sometimes you should automate the messages you send because the amount of time you have to spend on social media doesn’t scale with your audience.” But social media evolved because people were tired of being blasted marketing messages and not treated with individual care and attention. What Jantsch is recommending is a reversal of the personal and a reversion to the noise.

The next morning, he responded to my Tweet, and some playful poking from Shannon Whitley, with the following:

PRACTICAL TIP NO. 1

As-you-can is better than being Mr. Spamalot.

His first response (keep in mind they appear in reverse chronological order) offers two extremes — automate or do nothing. While I agree with John that as your network or audience scales, you have to manage your time wisely, I whole-heartedly disagree that automation — in essence, spamming — is the answer.

What John fails to see is that there’s no requirement for a business or an individual to respond to every single query from their audience, customers, followers or fans. We all know huge brands have millions of people to communicate with. We all know small business owners only have so many hours in a day. But because conversations on blogs, Twitter, Facebook groups, message boards and more are archived, indexable and public, just participating when you can shows your audience you’re there. And often times that is enough.

When an issue is in need of attention, you address it. When you have time to banter about with less urgent topics, you do. The fact you’re consistent is much more important than whether or not you’re ubiquitous.

I have two children. Often times, my social media activities go dark on the weekends. If someone asks me a specific question, I’ll see it Monday and respond. If not, I move on.

Social media conversations aren’t email. They aren’t support tickets. They’re personal communications. And they should stay that way.

PRACTICAL TIP NO. 2

If you can’t take the time to personalize the greeting, then don’t send the greeting at all.

Jantsch asks why a “warm greeting like when someone gets an email newsletter,” is consider spam. Show of hands. How many of you have ever thought of a canned, “thanks for playing” auto-responder or an email newsletter was, “warm?” I subscribe to social media email newsletters from Chris Brogan, a friend, and Paul Gillin, someone I’ve met, but not someone I know well. I don’t consider either of their email newsletters warm. I don’t consider them spam because I asked for them. I know they’re blasted to hundreds of people but the content is interesting to me.

However, sending an auto-response DM on Twitter to me is spam. I didn’t ask you to say, “Hey person who just followed me! Thanks for thinking I’m super cool. Looking forward to your Tweets! XOXOXOX.”

While Jantsch makes a point of saying you need to be careful not to self-promote in an auto-responder, I wonder how hard it is for him to not include, “Buy my book!”

For more on this topic, check out Amber Naslund’s, “Thanks for following. Now click my junk!

Jantsch’s last response to me is one for the ages:

“The trick is to do it all — personal and automated.”

I’m hoping he means do personal and then do automated and not, “make the automated personal.” If it’s the latter, that might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s like saying, “The trick is to have kids but maintain your virginity.”

Maybe I’m being irrational (please tell me if I am) but by definition anything that is automated is NOT personal. Automation means you don’t have the time or inclination to do it personally. Thus, impersonal.

PRACTICAL TIP NO. 3

Participate in the communities you communicate with.

An audience member at Tuesday’s Social Media Club Louisville meeting asked me what I thought about PingFM, a tool that enables you to update your status on multiple social networks at once. I tried it soon after it hit Beta and set it up to post my updates to both Twitter and Plurk. But just a couple of days into the experience, I realized I wasn’t participating in the conversations on Plurk and was missing out on several on Twitter because the service (I used it via IM) disconnects you from those separate communities. What I was doing was blasting one-way communications, not monitoring or participating in responses on either Twitter or Plurk, essentially making me a spammer on both networks.

While I will again say that using the Twitter application on Facebook does mimic this spam-like function, if you monitor Facebook frequently and respond to those conversations based on your status, you’re fulfilling the obligation to participate in that community.

PRACTICAL TIP NO. 4

Never, never, never blast anything to people who haven’t opted in.

And yes, this applies to Twitter direct messages. Your canned, semi-personal response is a blast message because you have it set to send to anyone who follows you. They didn’t ask for your auto-response, so it’s spam.

More broadly, there’s a reason text messaging regulations require opt-ins and double opt-ins in some cases. Yes, the end user has to pay for the text, but the principle of the regulation is to ensure the customer or audience isn’t unduly inundated with crap he or she doesn’t want. There’s also a reason we have a do-not-call registry. People shouldn’t have to tolerate broadly targeted messages, marketing or not, they haven’t asked for, at least when it comes to “personal” communications in the social media space.

Now if we can just get someone to regulate non-opt-in spam email, we’ll be set.

The bottom line is that I’m a purist when it comes to what is spam and what is not. If you don’t have to think about it, put no effort into it and you’re sending it to people who didn’t ask for it, it’s spam. Even if you run a script that places their first name in the greeting and the name of their company or website in the body. Jantsch’s tips aren’t wrong, I just philosophically disagree with the premise.

But to his points, personal contact does not scale. The time and attention one person at a small business has to give to social media is going to be the same today with 10 followers as it will be in six months with 1,000. While there’s no silver bullet, the practical tips above will keep your voice both relevant and appreciated among your audience members.

And a special thank you to James Burgos for a direct request to write this post. Or at least the practical tips part. I’m sure James probably didn’t want me to pick on Jantsch.

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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
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  • Great discussion, so far.
    John Jantsch seems to be the only person suggesting some ideas for scaling your ability to stay in touch with people who want to be engaged.

    I would be curious to hear others?
    Thanks

  • Great discussion, so far.
    John Jantsch seems to be the only person suggesting some ideas for scaling your ability to stay in touch with people who want to be engaged.

    I would be curious to hear others?
    Thanks

  • Great discussion, so far.
    John Jantsch seems to be the only person suggesting some ideas for scaling your ability to stay in touch with people who want to be engaged.

    I would be curious to hear others?
    Thanks

  • Great discussion, so far.
    John Jantsch seems to be the only person suggesting some ideas for scaling your ability to stay in touch with people who want to be engaged.

    I would be curious to hear others?
    Thanks

  • Pingback: Responsible Social Media … Respecting Real People One at a Time - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once.()

  • Pingback: How to Wear the Hats of a Social Media Champion — 5 Key Traits of Credible Social Media Champions - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once.()

  • Pingback: Personalization not Automation()

  • Couldn't be more on the same page, Liz. Thanks for the perspective and pithy quote to end it. That is why you're the queen of bloggers.

  • Couldn't be more on the same page, Liz. Thanks for the perspective and pithy quote to end it. That is why you're the queen of bloggers.

  • Agreed. Thanks for stopping by Jacqueline.

  • Agreed. Thanks for stopping by Jacqueline.

  • Automate? I have trouble making sense of relationships on automatic.
    Products yes. Systems yes. Communications with real people, ah, not so much.
    It's damn hard to stay intimate with customers ideas, needs, and thoughts when what we throw them is something unintriguing and flat, or worse, we ask but don't give back.

    People have so many choices and so many reasons to choose other than us. It takes so much to get someone who'll listen, why not talk to them or at least talk humanly when they're listening in on other conversations? (like on Twitter) .

    Social media is high touch form of reaching out. — if you don't have time to use it that way — please don't PRETEND to be personal. It demeans me. It wastes my time. It lowers me to the value of the lowest person you sent that message to. And if I am taken in by your folksy message, it makes me feel like a fool when I realize you were just “being personal.”

    When you thank me with junk mail — please don't think I feel your appreciation.

    I understand as well as most how scaling takes time and brings expectations. But to deliver the real thing keeps it valuable.

    People understand limited time and that you can't be every where. No one wants to be written off as a mass mailed number. Broadcasts belong to that special list of people who have asked to received what we've said we're sending.

    Personal is relational — not automational.

  • Automate? I have trouble making sense of relationships on automatic.
    Products yes. Systems yes. Communications with real people, ah, not so much.
    It's damn hard to stay intimate with customers ideas, needs, and thoughts when what we throw them is something unintriguing and flat, or worse, we ask but don't give back.

    People have so many choices and so many reasons to choose other than us. It takes so much to get someone who'll listen, why not talk to them or at least talk humanly when they're listening in on other conversations? (like on Twitter) .

    Social media is high touch form of reaching out. — if you don't have time to use it that way — please don't PRETEND to be personal. It demeans me. It wastes my time. It lowers me to the value of the lowest person you sent that message to. And if I am taken in by your folksy message, it makes me feel like a fool when I realize you were just “being personal.”

    When you thank me with junk mail — please don't think I feel your appreciation.

    I understand as well as most how scaling takes time and brings expectations. But to deliver the real thing keeps it valuable.

    People understand limited time and that you can't be every where. No one wants to be written off as a mass mailed number. Broadcasts belong to that special list of people who have asked to received what we've said we're sending.

    Personal is relational — not automational.

  • Automate? I have trouble making sense of relationships on automatic.
    Products yes. Systems yes. Communications with real people, ah, not so much.
    It's damn hard to stay intimate with customers ideas, needs, and thoughts when what we throw them is something unintriguing and flat, or worse, we ask but don't give back.

    People have so many choices and so many reasons to choose other than us. It takes so much to get someone who'll listen, why not talk to them or at least talk humanly when they're listening in on other conversations? (like on Twitter) .

    Social media is high touch form of reaching out. — if you don't have time to use it that way — please don't PRETEND to be personal. It demeans me. It wastes my time. It lowers me to the value of the lowest person you sent that message to. And if I am taken in by your folksy message, it makes me feel like a fool when I realize you were just “being personal.”

    When you thank me with junk mail — please don't think I feel your appreciation.

    I understand as well as most how scaling takes time and brings expectations. But to deliver the real thing keeps it valuable.

    People understand limited time and that you can't be every where. No one wants to be written off as a mass mailed number. Broadcasts belong to that special list of people who have asked to received what we've said we're sending.

    Personal is relational — not automational.

    • Couldn't be more on the same page, Liz. Thanks for the perspective and pithy quote to end it. That is why you're the queen of bloggers.

  • I think that the less authentic the “tweets” the more of us that will stop using it. I like the idea of it being a cocktail party where you interact, but if I am interacting with a robot I am not going to be too happy – and will probably not return to the party. I am all for building relationships the hard way – by actually investing time and energy – ahhhh old school feels just right even in the virtual cocktail party that social media is.

  • I think that the less authentic the “tweets” the more of us that will stop using it. I like the idea of it being a cocktail party where you interact, but if I am interacting with a robot I am not going to be too happy – and will probably not return to the party. I am all for building relationships the hard way – by actually investing time and energy – ahhhh old school feels just right even in the virtual cocktail party that social media is.

  • I think that the less authentic the “tweets” the more of us that will stop using it. I like the idea of it being a cocktail party where you interact, but if I am interacting with a robot I am not going to be too happy – and will probably not return to the party. I am all for building relationships the hard way – by actually investing time and energy – ahhhh old school feels just right even in the virtual cocktail party that social media is.

    • Agreed. Thanks for stopping by Jacqueline.

  • Fair point, Kevin. I guess it all depends on what you use each network for. I know a lot of people who refuse to use Facebook for anything other than close, personal friends. Sounds like you use it that way, which means Twitter posts aren't really appropriate for them. Good for you for recognizing that. Some people don't.

    Of course, I'm wide open and connect with a lot of people on both networks so it makes sense for me to send Tweets to both. The key for maintaining that real connection, though, is responding to folks in Facebook who might comment on the status as well as those who do in Twitter. Both are fairly manageable, even with a large network.

  • Fair point, Kevin. I guess it all depends on what you use each network for. I know a lot of people who refuse to use Facebook for anything other than close, personal friends. Sounds like you use it that way, which means Twitter posts aren't really appropriate for them. Good for you for recognizing that. Some people don't.

    Of course, I'm wide open and connect with a lot of people on both networks so it makes sense for me to send Tweets to both. The key for maintaining that real connection, though, is responding to folks in Facebook who might comment on the status as well as those who do in Twitter. Both are fairly manageable, even with a large network.

  • Well said, Janet. Thanks for commenting.

  • Well said, Janet. Thanks for commenting.

  • Limits and filters are great to have, Vince. Great points. Thanks for commenting.

  • Limits and filters are great to have, Vince. Great points. Thanks for commenting.

  • I certainly apologize for my part in cluttering your Twitter with “you sucks.” Not my intent. Good on you for calling them on it, though.

  • I certainly apologize for my part in cluttering your Twitter with “you sucks.” Not my intent. Good on you for calling them on it, though.

  • Interesting point. I can certainly see where someone might be lulled into thinking of their community of followers that way. I guess I try to see Twitter or other networks where people might listen to me as a big cocktail party or social gathering. I like to work the room, having conversations with a lot of different people. I may not stop and chat the first time through, but I'll be back tomorrow. I certainly get as much or more from my community than I give. Maybe that's the measuring stick of how genuine your level of participation is?

  • Interesting point. I can certainly see where someone might be lulled into thinking of their community of followers that way. I guess I try to see Twitter or other networks where people might listen to me as a big cocktail party or social gathering. I like to work the room, having conversations with a lot of different people. I may not stop and chat the first time through, but I'll be back tomorrow. I certainly get as much or more from my community than I give. Maybe that's the measuring stick of how genuine your level of participation is?

  • Certainly an argument can be made for the success of them. But just like one in every 10 telemarketer calls gets through and I actually talk to the person, the chances of a connection are certainly there. Some people aren't as pure about the whole spam thing as I am and are receptive to it. I also think there's an element of unsuspecting victim (okay, that's strong). They don't realize it's an auto responder and think the big best-selling book dude is “emailing” them.

    Still, you're right that if the opportunity to connect is paved by the autoresponder, it may well be worth doing. I just wouldn't use it on principle alone. I also think with the continued monetization of networks like Twitter and influx of marketers, they're going to get as over-bearing as the telemarketing phone calls quickly.

  • Certainly an argument can be made for the success of them. But just like one in every 10 telemarketer calls gets through and I actually talk to the person, the chances of a connection are certainly there. Some people aren't as pure about the whole spam thing as I am and are receptive to it. I also think there's an element of unsuspecting victim (okay, that's strong). They don't realize it's an auto responder and think the big best-selling book dude is “emailing” them.

    Still, you're right that if the opportunity to connect is paved by the autoresponder, it may well be worth doing. I just wouldn't use it on principle alone. I also think with the continued monetization of networks like Twitter and influx of marketers, they're going to get as over-bearing as the telemarketing phone calls quickly.

  • Bravo! Well said. I love the tape recorder/iPod analogy. Great points.

  • Bravo! Well said. I love the tape recorder/iPod analogy. Great points.

  • Good advice, Stuart. It becomes increasingly more difficult with the size of your business, though. To John's point, where to you manage that gray area between managing it yourself and bringing on more people to help you? It's not a clear cut thing, but certainly a fun discussion point. Thanks for commenting.

  • Good advice, Stuart. It becomes increasingly more difficult with the size of your business, though. To John's point, where to you manage that gray area between managing it yourself and bringing on more people to help you? It's not a clear cut thing, but certainly a fun discussion point. Thanks for commenting.

  • Amen. Enough said.

  • Amen. Enough said.

  • Jon,

    Absolutely agree with you there. It's a little ridiculous when people try to pull the “holier than thou” routine, and then don't have the integrity to actually discuss it.

    While the follow DMs wouldn't be my choice, I still think that if you want to do it, then go for. After all, if people don't like it, then they don't have to follow you.

  • Jon,

    Absolutely agree with you there. It's a little ridiculous when people try to pull the “holier than thou” routine, and then don't have the integrity to actually discuss it.

    While the follow DMs wouldn't be my choice, I still think that if you want to do it, then go for. After all, if people don't like it, then they don't have to follow you.

  • Matt – Not sure how I let myself get sucked into this so deeply, but here I go again!

    It's funny how the storm brews over the follow DMs. Due to this polite discussion hosted by Jason, I received a handful of, let me see, “you suck” kind of tweets. I'm very ok with that, but then I reply back with an offer to discuss how much I suck, and nothing?

    So, the purists who think auto DM is evil think ignoring genuine replies to have a conversation is okay – that's when this entire discussion gets silly!

  • Matt – Not sure how I let myself get sucked into this so deeply, but here I go again!

    It's funny how the storm brews over the follow DMs. Due to this polite discussion hosted by Jason, I received a handful of, let me see, “you suck” kind of tweets. I'm very ok with that, but then I reply back with an offer to discuss how much I suck, and nothing?

    So, the purists who think auto DM is evil think ignoring genuine replies to have a conversation is okay – that's when this entire discussion gets silly!

  • Love the article, but disagree on the Twitter/Facebook integration. I used to post all my tweets on Facebook, but then realized I am spamming my Facebook Friends with my Twitter comments.

    My Facebook friends expect personal post about what I am doing, my family, etc., my twitter following does not. Maybe all your Facebook friends new what they were getting into when they found you on Facebook. I am pretty sure my old highschool and college friends on Facebook, could care less about social media and marketing, and that is what I post on Twitter about.

    Now I just wish I could choose what to post, where, within Tweetdeck. That would make working in two worlds a lot easier.

  • Love the article, but disagree on the Twitter/Facebook integration. I used to post all my tweets on Facebook, but then realized I am spamming my Facebook Friends with my Twitter comments.

    My Facebook friends expect personal post about what I am doing, my family, etc., my twitter following does not. Maybe all your Facebook friends new what they were getting into when they found you on Facebook. I am pretty sure my old highschool and college friends on Facebook, could care less about social media and marketing, and that is what I post on Twitter about.

    Now I just wish I could choose what to post, where, within Tweetdeck. That would make working in two worlds a lot easier.

  • Love the article, but disagree on the Twitter/Facebook integration. I used to post all my tweets on Facebook, but then realized I am spamming my Facebook Friends with my Twitter comments.

    My Facebook friends expect personal post about what I am doing, my family, etc., my twitter following does not. Maybe all your Facebook friends new what they were getting into when they found you on Facebook. I am pretty sure my old highschool and college friends on Facebook, could care less about social media and marketing, and that is what I post on Twitter about.

    Now I just wish I could choose what to post, where, within Tweetdeck. That would make working in two worlds a lot easier.

    • Fair point, Kevin. I guess it all depends on what you use each network for. I know a lot of people who refuse to use Facebook for anything other than close, personal friends. Sounds like you use it that way, which means Twitter posts aren't really appropriate for them. Good for you for recognizing that. Some people don't.

      Of course, I'm wide open and connect with a lot of people on both networks so it makes sense for me to send Tweets to both. The key for maintaining that real connection, though, is responding to folks in Facebook who might comment on the status as well as those who do in Twitter. Both are fairly manageable, even with a large network.

  • What perfect timing for a post like this. I've been getting a LOT of autoposts lately and the annoyance monitor is rising. My personal favorites are the ones who trumpet the wonderful “free gift” I'll get just for following them.

    I do understand the idea of autofollow when you get so many requests every day. I gave both Twollow and SocialToo a try as an experiment and found myself following people who were not in my area of interest, “friend collectors” or spam bots. There were one or two people in the new group of followers who became closer connections, but overall it was just noise.

    I'm a firm believer that getting to know who is following me and really interacting with them is the only way to truly engage. I try to at least browse previous posts and bios if not go to the website to learn more. I would hope that people do the same when they follow me.

    As far as Dms go, I often send a DM to find out more about them. I hate it when people send out “thanks for following me” replies, especially when it's Hey @dick,@bill,@sally,@harry,@sam thanks for the follow!!!! Either try to say something constructive and join the conversation in progress or send me a DM.

  • What perfect timing for a post like this. I've been getting a LOT of autoposts lately and the annoyance monitor is rising. My personal favorites are the ones who trumpet the wonderful “free gift” I'll get just for following them.

    I do understand the idea of autofollow when you get so many requests every day. I gave both Twollow and SocialToo a try as an experiment and found myself following people who were not in my area of interest, “friend collectors” or spam bots. There were one or two people in the new group of followers who became closer connections, but overall it was just noise.

    I'm a firm believer that getting to know who is following me and really interacting with them is the only way to truly engage. I try to at least browse previous posts and bios if not go to the website to learn more. I would hope that people do the same when they follow me.

    As far as Dms go, I often send a DM to find out more about them. I hate it when people send out “thanks for following me” replies, especially when it's Hey @dick,@bill,@sally,@harry,@sam thanks for the follow!!!! Either try to say something constructive and join the conversation in progress or send me a DM.

  • What perfect timing for a post like this. I've been getting a LOT of autoposts lately and the annoyance monitor is rising. My personal favorites are the ones who trumpet the wonderful “free gift” I'll get just for following them.

    I do understand the idea of autofollow when you get so many requests every day. I gave both Twollow and SocialToo a try as an experiment and found myself following people who were not in my area of interest, “friend collectors” or spam bots. There were one or two people in the new group of followers who became closer connections, but overall it was just noise.

    I'm a firm believer that getting to know who is following me and really interacting with them is the only way to truly engage. I try to at least browse previous posts and bios if not go to the website to learn more. I would hope that people do the same when they follow me.

    As far as Dms go, I often send a DM to find out more about them. I hate it when people send out “thanks for following me” replies, especially when it's Hey @dick,@bill,@sally,@harry,@sam thanks for the follow!!!! Either try to say something constructive and join the conversation in progress or send me a DM.

    • Well said, Janet. Thanks for commenting.

  • Well thought out article. There are so many social networking sites out there. If you sign up every single one of them, you will end up spreading yourself thin. You end up with less energy to be more personal. In the end, it becomes a chore rather than something you want to do passionately – that is – connecting with people (real people). I am thinking. Stay focus and know your limits. Don't end up like a spammer or robot.

  • Well thought out article. There are so many social networking sites out there. If you sign up every single one of them, you will end up spreading yourself thin. You end up with less energy to be more personal. In the end, it becomes a chore rather than something you want to do passionately – that is – connecting with people (real people). I am thinking. Stay focus and know your limits. Don't end up like a spammer or robot.

  • Well thought out article. There are so many social networking sites out there. If you sign up every single one of them, you will end up spreading yourself thin. You end up with less energy to be more personal. In the end, it becomes a chore rather than something you want to do passionately – that is – connecting with people (real people). I am thinking. Stay focus and know your limits. Don't end up like a spammer or robot.

    • Limits and filters are great to have, Vince. Great points. Thanks for commenting.

  • John ultimately if you are ok with it, and your followers are, then I guess that's all that matters. And I can kinda see your point about better to say something rather than nothing at all. BTW far worse are the 'Click my Junk' DMs that Amber's talking about, where as soon as you follow someone, they send you a DM saying 'Hey thanks for the follow, why don't you check out my site here:'. I *hate* those.

    From my POV, if your communication can't be personal, then it's not worth sending. Your mileage may vary.

  • John ultimately if you are ok with it, and your followers are, then I guess that's all that matters. And I can kinda see your point about better to say something rather than nothing at all. BTW far worse are the 'Click my Junk' DMs that Amber's talking about, where as soon as you follow someone, they send you a DM saying 'Hey thanks for the follow, why don't you check out my site here:'. I *hate* those.

    From my POV, if your communication can't be personal, then it's not worth sending. Your mileage may vary.

  • Great post, Jason. With and even better discussion following it.

    I think that there are valid points to both sides of this discussion.

    First, I do think that DM auto-responders are spammy. But that might only be because I know what they are. They're a tactic, a tool that someone sets up, and their goal is to “touch base” or “reach out” to people that have recently followed them. Maybe it feels especially spammy to those of us inside the fishbowl that see the “goal” of those kinds of messages.

    On the other hand, I'm sure there are some people, new to Twitter or not, that consider those types of DMs to be an honest way of reaching out. I guess it all depends on the type of user you are. For those who are following/followed by 1,000+ people, and get 20+ DMs a day, the auto-responder seems extra spammy, but it might not to someone who gets 1 or 2 DMs a week.

    Also I completely agree with Mack that it drives me nuts when “power users” treat Twitter like a megaphone. Here we are constantly telling people not to be isolated, to be part of the community, and be a positive influence, and then the “power users” are out there doing just the opposite.

    Again, great stuff Jason. Thanks for starting this discussion.

  • Great post, Jason. With and even better discussion following it.

    I think that there are valid points to both sides of this discussion.

    First, I do think that DM auto-responders are spammy. But that might only be because I know what they are. They're a tactic, a tool that someone sets up, and their goal is to “touch base” or “reach out” to people that have recently followed them. Maybe it feels especially spammy to those of us inside the fishbowl that see the “goal” of those kinds of messages.

    On the other hand, I'm sure there are some people, new to Twitter or not, that consider those types of DMs to be an honest way of reaching out. I guess it all depends on the type of user you are. For those who are following/followed by 1,000+ people, and get 20+ DMs a day, the auto-responder seems extra spammy, but it might not to someone who gets 1 or 2 DMs a week.

    Also I completely agree with Mack that it drives me nuts when “power users” treat Twitter like a megaphone. Here we are constantly telling people not to be isolated, to be part of the community, and be a positive influence, and then the “power users” are out there doing just the opposite.

    Again, great stuff Jason. Thanks for starting this discussion.

  • Great post, Jason. With and even better discussion following it.

    I think that there are valid points to both sides of this discussion.

    First, I do think that DM auto-responders are spammy. But that might only be because I know what they are. They're a tactic, a tool that someone sets up, and their goal is to “touch base” or “reach out” to people that have recently followed them. Maybe it feels especially spammy to those of us inside the fishbowl that see the “goal” of those kinds of messages.

    On the other hand, I'm sure there are some people, new to Twitter or not, that consider those types of DMs to be an honest way of reaching out. I guess it all depends on the type of user you are. For those who are following/followed by 1,000+ people, and get 20+ DMs a day, the auto-responder seems extra spammy, but it might not to someone who gets 1 or 2 DMs a week.

    Also I completely agree with Mack that it drives me nuts when “power users” treat Twitter like a megaphone. Here we are constantly telling people not to be isolated, to be part of the community, and be a positive influence, and then the “power users” are out there doing just the opposite.

    Again, great stuff Jason. Thanks for starting this discussion.

    • Matt – Not sure how I let myself get sucked into this so deeply, but here I go again!

      It's funny how the storm brews over the follow DMs. Due to this polite discussion hosted by Jason, I received a handful of, let me see, “you suck” kind of tweets. I'm very ok with that, but then I reply back with an offer to discuss how much I suck, and nothing?

      So, the purists who think auto DM is evil think ignoring genuine replies to have a conversation is okay – that's when this entire discussion gets silly!

      • Jon,

        Absolutely agree with you there. It's a little ridiculous when people try to pull the “holier than thou” routine, and then don't have the integrity to actually discuss it.

        While the follow DMs wouldn't be my choice, I still think that if you want to do it, then go for. After all, if people don't like it, then they don't have to follow you.

      • I certainly apologize for my part in cluttering your Twitter with “you sucks.” Not my intent. Good on you for calling them on it, though.

  • Hi Jason,

    Terrific post. I'm not sure why some people think of their followers as an aggregate statistic rather than as a community of individuals. By doing so and treating everyone as interchangeable, they are broadcasting that we are not important enough for them.

    Certainly not the message I want to send to anyone.

    Best,
    Daria

  • Hi Jason,

    Terrific post. I'm not sure why some people think of their followers as an aggregate statistic rather than as a community of individuals. By doing so and treating everyone as interchangeable, they are broadcasting that we are not important enough for them.

    Certainly not the message I want to send to anyone.

    Best,
    Daria

  • Hi Jason,

    Terrific post. I'm not sure why some people think of their followers as an aggregate statistic rather than as a community of individuals. By doing so and treating everyone as interchangeable, they are broadcasting that we are not important enough for them.

    Certainly not the message I want to send to anyone.

    Best,
    Daria

    • Interesting point. I can certainly see where someone might be lulled into thinking of their community of followers that way. I guess I try to see Twitter or other networks where people might listen to me as a big cocktail party or social gathering. I like to work the room, having conversations with a lot of different people. I may not stop and chat the first time through, but I'll be back tomorrow. I certainly get as much or more from my community than I give. Maybe that's the measuring stick of how genuine your level of participation is?

  • Hey Mack – a couple things here – I get a lot of follow requests from people I don't know. I didn't ask them to follow me, I'm just part of the network and allow it to happen. That's the nature of the beast, I get that. I send what I think is a warm greeting (even thought nobody here seems to view that as possible) they didn't ask for that either, the system makes it possible, so there it is.

    Here's what happens – people I don't know, get my message and feel compelled to write back something personal and then we start a conversation based on some simple thoughts. I'm really not trying to convince anyone that this is a good strategy – it's all an experiment with limited data, but look at the responses I've gotten back in the last hour or so from people who have received my auto DM.

    I think these people feel greeted in a personal way – am I way off? Again, I'm just experimenting, but what the heck, I really respect your opinions, so see why I'm pushing back on this discussion a bit. Again, nothing to prove, just think it's worth the chat.

    DMs back to me . . .
    Thank you! I'm learning on the fly about all of this twit stuff…no, that is tweeting, not being a twit!

    Excellent! Looking forward to meeting you at our user conference.

    you will be. my question about buy now send it to you later was on Liz Marshalls call last week product is christian tshirts

    Thanks John! I really enjoyed your article about Twitter & Facebook. We're going to put some of that to work. Will let you know how it goes!

    Your always interesting John! No attempts needed!

    I'm not too entertaining myself so no worries!

    Thanks John… I really enjoy your podcasts!

  • Hey Mack – a couple things here – I get a lot of follow requests from people I don't know. I didn't ask them to follow me, I'm just part of the network and allow it to happen. That's the nature of the beast, I get that. I send what I think is a warm greeting (even thought nobody here seems to view that as possible) they didn't ask for that either, the system makes it possible, so there it is.

    Here's what happens – people I don't know, get my message and feel compelled to write back something personal and then we start a conversation based on some simple thoughts. I'm really not trying to convince anyone that this is a good strategy – it's all an experiment with limited data, but look at the responses I've gotten back in the last hour or so from people who have received my auto DM.

    I think these people feel greeted in a personal way – am I way off? Again, I'm just experimenting, but what the heck, I really respect your opinions, so see why I'm pushing back on this discussion a bit. Again, nothing to prove, just think it's worth the chat.

    DMs back to me . . .
    Thank you! I'm learning on the fly about all of this twit stuff…no, that is tweeting, not being a twit!

    Excellent! Looking forward to meeting you at our user conference.

    you will be. my question about buy now send it to you later was on Liz Marshalls call last week product is christian tshirts

    Thanks John! I really enjoyed your article about Twitter & Facebook. We're going to put some of that to work. Will let you know how it goes!

    Your always interesting John! No attempts needed!

    I'm not too entertaining myself so no worries!

    Thanks John… I really enjoy your podcasts!

  • I agree with what I think is the main thrust of your post, that automated communications are a very bad idea on Twitter, and that personal is always preferable. Totally with you there.

    And I've been thinking a lot recently about this, and how people use Twitter. A key knock against these automated services, such as SocialToo DM (Thanks for following!) is that they aren't personal, and come across as spammy. It's like the personal isn't really communicating WITH me, rather at me.

    But…

    At the same time, I see many of the 'power' users that aren't really communicating WITH anyone either. I'm talking about the people that have thousands upon thousands of followers, and follow that many, or more. Their Twitterstream is almost completely an endless list of tweets aimed at no one in particular, and they appear to be connecting with no one in particular.

    And I get that as you follow 5,000 people, that the way you communicate changes versus following 50. But at the same time, if you still aren't really connecting with people, does it matter how you got there?

    BTW I am in NO way endorsing the use of auto-responders, and I cannot think of a case where they should be used. But at the same time, I am noticing that there are many people that I used to talk and connect with every day on Twitter in 2007, that I can't get a word in edgewise with today, because they are following 50X the people they were in June of 2007.

    So if you leave 100 tweets a day, and 10 of them are replies, are you 'personally' connecting with your Twitter audience?

  • I agree with what I think is the main thrust of your post, that automated communications are a very bad idea on Twitter, and that personal is always preferable. Totally with you there.

    And I've been thinking a lot recently about this, and how people use Twitter. A key knock against these automated services, such as SocialToo DM (Thanks for following!) is that they aren't personal, and come across as spammy. It's like the personal isn't really communicating WITH me, rather at me.

    But…

    At the same time, I see many of the 'power' users that aren't really communicating WITH anyone either. I'm talking about the people that have thousands upon thousands of followers, and follow that many, or more. Their Twitterstream is almost completely an endless list of tweets aimed at no one in particular, and they appear to be connecting with no one in particular.

    And I get that as you follow 5,000 people, that the way you communicate changes versus following 50. But at the same time, if you still aren't really connecting with people, does it matter how you got there?

    BTW I am in NO way endorsing the use of auto-responders, and I cannot think of a case where they should be used. But at the same time, I am noticing that there are many people that I used to talk and connect with every day on Twitter in 2007, that I can't get a word in edgewise with today, because they are following 50X the people they were in June of 2007.

    So if you leave 100 tweets a day, and 10 of them are replies, are you 'personally' connecting with your Twitter audience?

  • I agree with what I think is the main thrust of your post, that automated communications are a very bad idea on Twitter, and that personal is always preferable. Totally with you there.

    And I've been thinking a lot recently about this, and how people use Twitter. A key knock against these automated services, such as SocialToo DM (Thanks for following!) is that they aren't personal, and come across as spammy. It's like the personal isn't really communicating WITH me, rather at me.

    But…

    At the same time, I see many of the 'power' users that aren't really communicating WITH anyone either. I'm talking about the people that have thousands upon thousands of followers, and follow that many, or more. Their Twitterstream is almost completely an endless list of tweets aimed at no one in particular, and they appear to be connecting with no one in particular.

    And I get that as you follow 5,000 people, that the way you communicate changes versus following 50. But at the same time, if you still aren't really connecting with people, does it matter how you got there?

    BTW I am in NO way endorsing the use of auto-responders, and I cannot think of a case where they should be used. But at the same time, I am noticing that there are many people that I used to talk and connect with every day on Twitter in 2007, that I can't get a word in edgewise with today, because they are following 50X the people they were in June of 2007.

    So if you leave 100 tweets a day, and 10 of them are replies, are you 'personally' connecting with your Twitter audience?

    • Hey Mack – a couple things here – I get a lot of follow requests from people I don't know. I didn't ask them to follow me, I'm just part of the network and allow it to happen. That's the nature of the beast, I get that. I send what I think is a warm greeting (even thought nobody here seems to view that as possible) they didn't ask for that either, the system makes it possible, so there it is.

      Here's what happens – people I don't know, get my message and feel compelled to write back something personal and then we start a conversation based on some simple thoughts. I'm really not trying to convince anyone that this is a good strategy – it's all an experiment with limited data, but look at the responses I've gotten back in the last hour or so from people who have received my auto DM.

      I think these people feel greeted in a personal way – am I way off? Again, I'm just experimenting, but what the heck, I really respect your opinions, so see why I'm pushing back on this discussion a bit. Again, nothing to prove, just think it's worth the chat.

      DMs back to me . . .
      Thank you! I'm learning on the fly about all of this twit stuff…no, that is tweeting, not being a twit!

      Excellent! Looking forward to meeting you at our user conference.

      you will be. my question about buy now send it to you later was on Liz Marshalls call last week product is christian tshirts

      Thanks John! I really enjoyed your article about Twitter & Facebook. We're going to put some of that to work. Will let you know how it goes!

      Your always interesting John! No attempts needed!

      I'm not too entertaining myself so no worries!

      Thanks John… I really enjoy your podcasts!

      • John ultimately if you are ok with it, and your followers are, then I guess that's all that matters. And I can kinda see your point about better to say something rather than nothing at all. BTW far worse are the 'Click my Junk' DMs that Amber's talking about, where as soon as you follow someone, they send you a DM saying 'Hey thanks for the follow, why don't you check out my site here:'. I *hate* those.

        From my POV, if your communication can't be personal, then it's not worth sending. Your mileage may vary.

      • Certainly an argument can be made for the success of them. But just like one in every 10 telemarketer calls gets through and I actually talk to the person, the chances of a connection are certainly there. Some people aren't as pure about the whole spam thing as I am and are receptive to it. I also think there's an element of unsuspecting victim (okay, that's strong). They don't realize it's an auto responder and think the big best-selling book dude is “emailing” them.

        Still, you're right that if the opportunity to connect is paved by the autoresponder, it may well be worth doing. I just wouldn't use it on principle alone. I also think with the continued monetization of networks like Twitter and influx of marketers, they're going to get as over-bearing as the telemarketing phone calls quickly.

  • If they didn't have you at the first Tweet, it ain't no Jerry Maguire scene. Heh.

  • If they didn't have you at the first Tweet, it ain't no Jerry Maguire scene. Heh.

  • I think this debate strikes right to the core of social media strategy, purpose, and etiquette. As more people with sales and marketing backgrounds and sales and marketing agendas flock to social media (myself being one of them) I think our instincts and training honed in the age of push marketing are harder to let go of than we think.

    Automated content, in any form and to any degree, creates “social noise” and detracts from the usefulness of the medium. Maybe this illustration will help because it really helped me. My wife (definitely my better half) who is an avid Twitter and Facebook user asked me the following question, “Did you respond to anyone's tweets today?”. To which I responded, “What do you mean honey – I posted some great links and ideas – but respond, what's that?”

    As the Cluetrain Manifesto so succinctly says, “Markets are conversations”. Automated content feeding onto your “social” networking platform is like sitting down to talk with someone, pulling out a tape recorder (ok, well dvd player, ipod, etc.) pushing play and leaving the room. What we get out of social media depends on what we put into it. It's not a new spam platform. It's a new way to connect with and build relationships with people. If we don't converse we don't connect. If we don't connect we become another voice in the crowd hoping that the sheer volume of what we say will get someone's attention.

    Perhaps it's said best by Paul Holmes in “A Manifesto for 21st Century Public Relations Firms”, From the perspective of clients, the new landscape will demand a degree of communications authenticity. In the past, it might have been possible to get away with marketing messages that projected an image disconnected from the reality of the brand experience or actual corporate behavior. But the new communications environment is predicated on almost absolute transparency. Employees, customers and community members will have access to communications channels almost equal to that of the largest corporations, and any inaccuracy or insincerity will be quickly identified as such and exposed—not only undermining the company’s message but producing the precise opposite result from that intended.”

  • I think this debate strikes right to the core of social media strategy, purpose, and etiquette. As more people with sales and marketing backgrounds and sales and marketing agendas flock to social media (myself being one of them) I think our instincts and training honed in the age of push marketing are harder to let go of than we think.

    Automated content, in any form and to any degree, creates “social noise” and detracts from the usefulness of the medium. Maybe this illustration will help because it really helped me. My wife (definitely my better half) who is an avid Twitter and Facebook user asked me the following question, “Did you respond to anyone's tweets today?”. To which I responded, “What do you mean honey – I posted some great links and ideas – but respond, what's that?”

    As the Cluetrain Manifesto so succinctly says, “Markets are conversations”. Automated content feeding onto your “social” networking platform is like sitting down to talk with someone, pulling out a tape recorder (ok, well dvd player, ipod, etc.) pushing play and leaving the room. What we get out of social media depends on what we put into it. It's not a new spam platform. It's a new way to connect with and build relationships with people. If we don't converse we don't connect. If we don't connect we become another voice in the crowd hoping that the sheer volume of what we say will get someone's attention.

    Perhaps it's said best by Paul Holmes in “A Manifesto for 21st Century Public Relations Firms”, From the perspective of clients, the new landscape will demand a degree of communications authenticity. In the past, it might have been possible to get away with marketing messages that projected an image disconnected from the reality of the brand experience or actual corporate behavior. But the new communications environment is predicated on almost absolute transparency. Employees, customers and community members will have access to communications channels almost equal to that of the largest corporations, and any inaccuracy or insincerity will be quickly identified as such and exposed—not only undermining the company’s message but producing the precise opposite result from that intended.”

  • I think this debate strikes right to the core of social media strategy, purpose, and etiquette. As more people with sales and marketing backgrounds and sales and marketing agendas flock to social media (myself being one of them) I think our instincts and training honed in the age of push marketing are harder to let go of than we think.

    Automated content, in any form and to any degree, creates “social noise” and detracts from the usefulness of the medium. Maybe this illustration will help because it really helped me. My wife (definitely my better half) who is an avid Twitter and Facebook user asked me the following question, “Did you respond to anyone's tweets today?”. To which I responded, “What do you mean honey – I posted some great links and ideas – but respond, what's that?”

    As the Cluetrain Manifesto so succinctly says, “Markets are conversations”. Automated content feeding onto your “social” networking platform is like sitting down to talk with someone, pulling out a tape recorder (ok, well dvd player, ipod, etc.) pushing play and leaving the room. What we get out of social media depends on what we put into it. It's not a new spam platform. It's a new way to connect with and build relationships with people. If we don't converse we don't connect. If we don't connect we become another voice in the crowd hoping that the sheer volume of what we say will get someone's attention.

    Perhaps it's said best by Paul Holmes in “A Manifesto for 21st Century Public Relations Firms”, From the perspective of clients, the new landscape will demand a degree of communications authenticity. In the past, it might have been possible to get away with marketing messages that projected an image disconnected from the reality of the brand experience or actual corporate behavior. But the new communications environment is predicated on almost absolute transparency. Employees, customers and community members will have access to communications channels almost equal to that of the largest corporations, and any inaccuracy or insincerity will be quickly identified as such and exposed—not only undermining the company’s message but producing the precise opposite result from that intended.”

    • Bravo! Well said. I love the tape recorder/iPod analogy. Great points.

  • Slowly grow your network outwards…the more familiar with Social Media that you become, the more networks you will be able to cover. Once you become able to effectively manage your time there, you can move towards others. I started out on Digg…and ended up with a blog and I have a presence pretty much everywhere. It really depends on your niche, desire and what you are trying to accomplish. I've gotten to the point of addiction though :).

  • Slowly grow your network outwards…the more familiar with Social Media that you become, the more networks you will be able to cover. Once you become able to effectively manage your time there, you can move towards others. I started out on Digg…and ended up with a blog and I have a presence pretty much everywhere. It really depends on your niche, desire and what you are trying to accomplish. I've gotten to the point of addiction though :).

  • Slowly grow your network outwards…the more familiar with Social Media that you become, the more networks you will be able to cover. Once you become able to effectively manage your time there, you can move towards others. I started out on Digg…and ended up with a blog and I have a presence pretty much everywhere. It really depends on your niche, desire and what you are trying to accomplish. I've gotten to the point of addiction though :).

    • Good advice, Stuart. It becomes increasingly more difficult with the size of your business, though. To John's point, where to you manage that gray area between managing it yourself and bringing on more people to help you? It's not a clear cut thing, but certainly a fun discussion point. Thanks for commenting.

  • Ok, well clearly we all know my stance on junk click stuff, so I won't belabor that point here.

    Look, you're right. Personal interaction isn't scalable. But, uh, should it be? Isn't that the POINT? I'm a small business, and I get over 200 emails a day, I'm on twitter constantly, I blog on three blogs (four on a good week), I have a phone that rings, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, a feed reader with blogs to comment on…and client work to do. But dammit if I don't bust my butt to be as personal as possible with everyone I connect with. why? Because it's the human thing to do.

    Do I miss people? I'm sure I do. But I don't feel warmly embraced by someone that sends me a “hey, thanks for following” DM, or a “personal” introduction for getting their newsletter. I feel embraced by someone when they take the time to read and comment on my blog, respond to my comment on theirs, return an email or just call to say hi.

    Relationships aren't automated, and I don't intend to open the door to them in an automated fashion. I'm here for a reason, and I embrace this space because of the one to one relationships that it creates. Yes, it's time consuming. No, to me there is no alternative.Otherwise, I have no credibility for telling businesses that relationships should matter to them, too. It scales when your business grows and you have more faces to add to the mix and encourage THEM to reach out and be connecting, too.

  • Ok, well clearly we all know my stance on junk click stuff, so I won't belabor that point here.

    Look, you're right. Personal interaction isn't scalable. But, uh, should it be? Isn't that the POINT? I'm a small business, and I get over 200 emails a day, I'm on twitter constantly, I blog on three blogs (four on a good week), I have a phone that rings, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, a feed reader with blogs to comment on…and client work to do. But dammit if I don't bust my butt to be as personal as possible with everyone I connect with. why? Because it's the human thing to do.

    Do I miss people? I'm sure I do. But I don't feel warmly embraced by someone that sends me a “hey, thanks for following” DM, or a “personal” introduction for getting their newsletter. I feel embraced by someone when they take the time to read and comment on my blog, respond to my comment on theirs, return an email or just call to say hi.

    Relationships aren't automated, and I don't intend to open the door to them in an automated fashion. I'm here for a reason, and I embrace this space because of the one to one relationships that it creates. Yes, it's time consuming. No, to me there is no alternative.Otherwise, I have no credibility for telling businesses that relationships should matter to them, too. It scales when your business grows and you have more faces to add to the mix and encourage THEM to reach out and be connecting, too.

  • Ok, well clearly we all know my stance on junk click stuff, so I won't belabor that point here.

    Look, you're right. Personal interaction isn't scalable. But, uh, should it be? Isn't that the POINT? I'm a small business, and I get over 200 emails a day, I'm on twitter constantly, I blog on three blogs (four on a good week), I have a phone that rings, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, a feed reader with blogs to comment on…and client work to do. But dammit if I don't bust my butt to be as personal as possible with everyone I connect with. why? Because it's the human thing to do.

    Do I miss people? I'm sure I do. But I don't feel warmly embraced by someone that sends me a “hey, thanks for following” DM, or a “personal” introduction for getting their newsletter. I feel embraced by someone when they take the time to read and comment on my blog, respond to my comment on theirs, return an email or just call to say hi.

    Relationships aren't automated, and I don't intend to open the door to them in an automated fashion. I'm here for a reason, and I embrace this space because of the one to one relationships that it creates. Yes, it's time consuming. No, to me there is no alternative.Otherwise, I have no credibility for telling businesses that relationships should matter to them, too. It scales when your business grows and you have more faces to add to the mix and encourage THEM to reach out and be connecting, too.

  • And I would agree with you, Karen. Good on you.

  • And I would agree with you, Karen. Good on you.

  • Agreed. Thanks for the deeper perspective, Mark. As painstaking as it can be (Why can't Twitter have an interface where you can see a list of followers you don't follow, check a box and follow them?), I never autofollow. I want a person on the other side of that conversation. I also want someone who is going to provide value or perspective. 10 consecutive Tweets pointing me to their blog? Nah.

  • Agreed. Thanks for the deeper perspective, Mark. As painstaking as it can be (Why can't Twitter have an interface where you can see a list of followers you don't follow, check a box and follow them?), I never autofollow. I want a person on the other side of that conversation. I also want someone who is going to provide value or perspective. 10 consecutive Tweets pointing me to their blog? Nah.

  • Thanks for the comment, John. I had no doubt you'd be here early and often. I'm glad we could both provide some point-counterpoint on the issue. Your points that you push things to experiment and don't believe there is one way of doing things certainly ring true with me as well. I guess my point is to push back so that the discourse can continue. Again, I don't think you're points were wrong, just philosophically different from what I would advise, even to a small business. Yes, I'm a purist and no, purists aren't always right. I can't pay my bills with my principles. But I think in many ways my audience counts on me to push and push back. I appreciate your willingness to listen and debate.

    As for the DM tweet, it was a joke. I hope most people took it that way. Sorry if anyone didn't.

    Thanks for the conversation. I've never disagreed to very much with most of what you write (have subscribed to your blog for a long time now) just thought this would be a good time to bring the conversation to the surface here as well as there.

  • Thanks for the comment, John. I had no doubt you'd be here early and often. I'm glad we could both provide some point-counterpoint on the issue. Your points that you push things to experiment and don't believe there is one way of doing things certainly ring true with me as well. I guess my point is to push back so that the discourse can continue. Again, I don't think you're points were wrong, just philosophically different from what I would advise, even to a small business. Yes, I'm a purist and no, purists aren't always right. I can't pay my bills with my principles. But I think in many ways my audience counts on me to push and push back. I appreciate your willingness to listen and debate.

    As for the DM tweet, it was a joke. I hope most people took it that way. Sorry if anyone didn't.

    Thanks for the conversation. I've never disagreed to very much with most of what you write (have subscribed to your blog for a long time now) just thought this would be a good time to bring the conversation to the surface here as well as there.

  • Generally agree, Kevin. I just worry that mass sends to people who haven't asked for it can come off as spam. Taking personal care, no matter what your methods, though, will overcome a lot of that reaction. Thanks for the comment.

  • Generally agree, Kevin. I just worry that mass sends to people who haven't asked for it can come off as spam. Taking personal care, no matter what your methods, though, will overcome a lot of that reaction. Thanks for the comment.

  • Hey Mark – I agree – auto follow is a feature of the service, but may not make any sense at all for building a network based on ideas rather than numbers – there certainly are those however that want to follow and be followed by large numbers. There are even services out there that will rank the ratio as good and bad!

  • Hey Mark – I agree – auto follow is a feature of the service, but may not make any sense at all for building a network based on ideas rather than numbers – there certainly are those however that want to follow and be followed by large numbers. There are even services out there that will rank the ratio as good and bad!

  • I do not read many “auto tweets” and I had no idea that the “Thanks for the follow” tweet messages were auto fed – I felt guilty for not thanking my followers directly. LOL.

    I have my blog posts auto-fed to Twitter but that's it….and I'm thinking about eliminating that because I don't think anyone clicks to my blog from twitter anyway; they probably ignore them…but then again, someone may be interested by the title….

    Any other time that I post a tweet or post on facebook (my preference) it is personal and manually done….which was the entire point of these social media programs, or so I thought.

  • I do not read many “auto tweets” and I had no idea that the “Thanks for the follow” tweet messages were auto fed – I felt guilty for not thanking my followers directly. LOL.

    I have my blog posts auto-fed to Twitter but that's it….and I'm thinking about eliminating that because I don't think anyone clicks to my blog from twitter anyway; they probably ignore them…but then again, someone may be interested by the title….

    Any other time that I post a tweet or post on facebook (my preference) it is personal and manually done….which was the entire point of these social media programs, or so I thought.

  • I do not read many “auto tweets” and I had no idea that the “Thanks for the follow” tweet messages were auto fed – I felt guilty for not thanking my followers directly. LOL.

    I have my blog posts auto-fed to Twitter but that's it….and I'm thinking about eliminating that because I don't think anyone clicks to my blog from twitter anyway; they probably ignore them…but then again, someone may be interested by the title….

    Any other time that I post a tweet or post on facebook (my preference) it is personal and manually done….which was the entire point of these social media programs, or so I thought.

    • And I would agree with you, Karen. Good on you.

  • The thing that sticks in my mind about Jantsch's article is auto-follow.

    I don't use an auto-follow script because I don't always want to follow the people who follow me. I'm biased towards following someone's personal Twitter account instead of one specifically for a business, website, etc. I follow some of the @Dell accounts because I know there's a real person behind them. I wouldn't follow a Dell account. Thus, I don't want the process automated.

    Good points.

  • The thing that sticks in my mind about Jantsch's article is auto-follow.

    I don't use an auto-follow script because I don't always want to follow the people who follow me. I'm biased towards following someone's personal Twitter account instead of one specifically for a business, website, etc. I follow some of the @Dell accounts because I know there's a real person behind them. I wouldn't follow a Dell account. Thus, I don't want the process automated.

    Good points.

  • The thing that sticks in my mind about Jantsch's article is auto-follow.

    I don't use an auto-follow script because I don't always want to follow the people who follow me. I'm biased towards following someone's personal Twitter account instead of one specifically for a business, website, etc. I follow some of the @Dell accounts because I know there's a real person behind them. I wouldn't follow a Dell account. Thus, I don't want the process automated.

    Good points.

    • Hey Mark – I agree – auto follow is a feature of the service, but may not make any sense at all for building a network based on ideas rather than numbers – there certainly are those however that want to follow and be followed by large numbers. There are even services out there that will rank the ratio as good and bad!

    • Agreed. Thanks for the deeper perspective, Mark. As painstaking as it can be (Why can't Twitter have an interface where you can see a list of followers you don't follow, check a box and follow them?), I never autofollow. I want a person on the other side of that conversation. I also want someone who is going to provide value or perspective. 10 consecutive Tweets pointing me to their blog? Nah.

      • If they didn't have you at the first Tweet, it ain't no Jerry Maguire scene. Heh.

  • Jason – First off, wonderful blog and very well written and thought out post.

    Contrary to your conclusions, however, there is very little we disagree upon here, other than nuances and degrees.

    It's funny, but our conversation on Twitter sparked a bit of back and forth and I will tell you that I got many tweets that fell on either side of this argument, much like Kevin's comment above.

    I think the key here, though is that in all forms of marketing, particularly newer forms, there should always be room for experimentation, discussion and disparate views.

    Many times my approach to any new strategy or tactic is to push the limits of what's possible and see what shakes out. I don't think there is one perfect right or wrong way to do anything online, except to believe there is one right way, your way, and that everything else is either evil or wrong. That's what turns so many small business owners off of even exploring social media. C'mon, you actually suggested that people send me random DMs because I suggested something you didn't agree with? Who does that help?

    [@jasonfalls – @swhitley I think we all ought to DM @ducttape generic, random Tweets tonight just for the hell of it.]

    With regard to your very good and practical steps of advice (keep in mind, my audience is the typical small business, not branding agencies and corporate pr departments)

    #1 – this one is still open for some more discussion in my mind, there needs to be a better solution to this that is more practical.

    #2 – I have been doing this successfully for years – there is an art to this, don't discount this just because you haven't experienced it. I get buckets of email from subscribers thanking me for taking the time to welcome them personally. (I would never even consider promoting my book Duct Tape Marketing – available at Amazon :) in my DMs – never crossed my mind even, that kind of DM turns me off too!)

    #3 – spot on – this goes for offline as well as online

    #4 – again, in agreement – I suppose we might wrestle over this one a bit when it comes to balancing the marketers need over the prospect's personal desire – this one is hard, because to some a marketer's messages, one's from someone they already know, like and trust is very welcome in any form, to some, they are annoying, but cutting them out all together misses the mark as well.

    PS – I have four children and after the third I realized I wasn't a virgin.

  • Jason – First off, wonderful blog and very well written and thought out post.

    Contrary to your conclusions, however, there is very little we disagree upon here, other than nuances and degrees.

    It's funny, but our conversation on Twitter sparked a bit of back and forth and I will tell you that I got many tweets that fell on either side of this argument, much like Kevin's comment above.

    I think the key here, though is that in all forms of marketing, particularly newer forms, there should always be room for experimentation, discussion and disparate views.

    Many times my approach to any new strategy or tactic is to push the limits of what's possible and see what shakes out. I don't think there is one perfect right or wrong way to do anything online, except to believe there is one right way, your way, and that everything else is either evil or wrong. That's what turns so many small business owners off of even exploring social media. C'mon, you actually suggested that people send me random DMs because I suggested something you didn't agree with? Who does that help?

    [@jasonfalls – @swhitley I think we all ought to DM @ducttape generic, random Tweets tonight just for the hell of it.]

    With regard to your very good and practical steps of advice (keep in mind, my audience is the typical small business, not branding agencies and corporate pr departments)

    #1 – this one is still open for some more discussion in my mind, there needs to be a better solution to this that is more practical.

    #2 – I have been doing this successfully for years – there is an art to this, don't discount this just because you haven't experienced it. I get buckets of email from subscribers thanking me for taking the time to welcome them personally. (I would never even consider promoting my book Duct Tape Marketing – available at Amazon :) in my DMs – never crossed my mind even, that kind of DM turns me off too!)

    #3 – spot on – this goes for offline as well as online

    #4 – again, in agreement – I suppose we might wrestle over this one a bit when it comes to balancing the marketers need over the prospect's personal desire – this one is hard, because to some a marketer's messages, one's from someone they already know, like and trust is very welcome in any form, to some, they are annoying, but cutting them out all together misses the mark as well.

    PS – I have four children and after the third I realized I wasn't a virgin.

  • Jason – First off, wonderful blog and very well written and thought out post.

    Contrary to your conclusions, however, there is very little we disagree upon here, other than nuances and degrees.

    It's funny, but our conversation on Twitter sparked a bit of back and forth and I will tell you that I got many tweets that fell on either side of this argument, much like Kevin's comment above.

    I think the key here, though is that in all forms of marketing, particularly newer forms, there should always be room for experimentation, discussion and disparate views.

    Many times my approach to any new strategy or tactic is to push the limits of what's possible and see what shakes out. I don't think there is one perfect right or wrong way to do anything online, except to believe there is one right way, your way, and that everything else is either evil or wrong. That's what turns so many small business owners off of even exploring social media. C'mon, you actually suggested that people send me random DMs because I suggested something you didn't agree with? Who does that help?

    [@jasonfalls – @swhitley I think we all ought to DM @ducttape generic, random Tweets tonight just for the hell of it.]

    With regard to your very good and practical steps of advice (keep in mind, my audience is the typical small business, not branding agencies and corporate pr departments)

    #1 – this one is still open for some more discussion in my mind, there needs to be a better solution to this that is more practical.

    #2 – I have been doing this successfully for years – there is an art to this, don't discount this just because you haven't experienced it. I get buckets of email from subscribers thanking me for taking the time to welcome them personally. (I would never even consider promoting my book Duct Tape Marketing – available at Amazon :) in my DMs – never crossed my mind even, that kind of DM turns me off too!)

    #3 – spot on – this goes for offline as well as online

    #4 – again, in agreement – I suppose we might wrestle over this one a bit when it comes to balancing the marketers need over the prospect's personal desire – this one is hard, because to some a marketer's messages, one's from someone they already know, like and trust is very welcome in any form, to some, they are annoying, but cutting them out all together misses the mark as well.

    PS – I have four children and after the third I realized I wasn't a virgin.

    • Thanks for the comment, John. I had no doubt you'd be here early and often. I'm glad we could both provide some point-counterpoint on the issue. Your points that you push things to experiment and don't believe there is one way of doing things certainly ring true with me as well. I guess my point is to push back so that the discourse can continue. Again, I don't think you're points were wrong, just philosophically different from what I would advise, even to a small business. Yes, I'm a purist and no, purists aren't always right. I can't pay my bills with my principles. But I think in many ways my audience counts on me to push and push back. I appreciate your willingness to listen and debate.

      As for the DM tweet, it was a joke. I hope most people took it that way. Sorry if anyone didn't.

      Thanks for the conversation. I've never disagreed to very much with most of what you write (have subscribed to your blog for a long time now) just thought this would be a good time to bring the conversation to the surface here as well as there.

  • I think that there can be a mixture of automation into your social media presence. While I agree the automation of following and sending a comment when added automatically is spammy and really not very personal I can see where some of the tools mentioned can be very helpful.

    If you have a blog talk radio or some sort of live broadcast online having a tool to automatically notify people across multiple platforms can be a great help. Or even scheduling a message in advance for when your shows are or when you want to notify people about an event can take a little bit of the workload off of you. For a small business you can use these tools to schedule notifications of your events. (For example my friend owns a bar in a college town, he uses twitter to with an update on Facebook to let people know what drink/food specials he has going on. Automating for him makes a lot of sense because he can plan out things weeks in advance.)

    Also if you have some sort of gimmick with your twitter account, perhaps like a quote or tip of the day, pre-planning it would be akin to writing a blog and future dating the post.

    With anything else it is all how you use these tools. That is where the strategy of all this comes into play, it isn't an all or nothing play that John originally suggested nor is it something that is evil if it is done right.

  • I think that there can be a mixture of automation into your social media presence. While I agree the automation of following and sending a comment when added automatically is spammy and really not very personal I can see where some of the tools mentioned can be very helpful.

    If you have a blog talk radio or some sort of live broadcast online having a tool to automatically notify people across multiple platforms can be a great help. Or even scheduling a message in advance for when your shows are or when you want to notify people about an event can take a little bit of the workload off of you. For a small business you can use these tools to schedule notifications of your events. (For example my friend owns a bar in a college town, he uses twitter to with an update on Facebook to let people know what drink/food specials he has going on. Automating for him makes a lot of sense because he can plan out things weeks in advance.)

    Also if you have some sort of gimmick with your twitter account, perhaps like a quote or tip of the day, pre-planning it would be akin to writing a blog and future dating the post.

    With anything else it is all how you use these tools. That is where the strategy of all this comes into play, it isn't an all or nothing play that John originally suggested nor is it something that is evil if it is done right.

  • I think that there can be a mixture of automation into your social media presence. While I agree the automation of following and sending a comment when added automatically is spammy and really not very personal I can see where some of the tools mentioned can be very helpful.

    If you have a blog talk radio or some sort of live broadcast online having a tool to automatically notify people across multiple platforms can be a great help. Or even scheduling a message in advance for when your shows are or when you want to notify people about an event can take a little bit of the workload off of you. For a small business you can use these tools to schedule notifications of your events. (For example my friend owns a bar in a college town, he uses twitter to with an update on Facebook to let people know what drink/food specials he has going on. Automating for him makes a lot of sense because he can plan out things weeks in advance.)

    Also if you have some sort of gimmick with your twitter account, perhaps like a quote or tip of the day, pre-planning it would be akin to writing a blog and future dating the post.

    With anything else it is all how you use these tools. That is where the strategy of all this comes into play, it isn't an all or nothing play that John originally suggested nor is it something that is evil if it is done right.

    • Generally agree, Kevin. I just worry that mass sends to people who haven't asked for it can come off as spam. Taking personal care, no matter what your methods, though, will overcome a lot of that reaction. Thanks for the comment.