Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tweet this...Random Thoughts About Social Media

So I'm working on a short story that centers around an incident going viral on the internet (most prominently on Twitter) and it's got me thinking about some of the quirks, funny things and annoyances I see regularly while using the site myself.

1. "Buy XXX followers for $$$". Yeah...no, not happening. I can't think of a single instance where I'd fork over cash for anything related to Twitter, especially not just to pad my followers. I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity. I generally follow other writers, readers, and people with similar interests to me (music, movies, art, etc). Usually if I get a follower with this in their heading, I don't bother following back...I wouldn't be your customer, so it's probably a waste of both our times :)

2. "True Twit Validation". I have to admit, this one is a turn off. I usually unfollow when I get this message. I follow people who seem interesting or who appear to have common interests. I don't want to have to jump through hoops to do it...and going to another site to enter a captcha is annoying. And honestly? Real people spam too. They could easily fill out your validation and start bombarding you with sales pitches, so it seems pointless. Also, if you're someone who's trying to build a platform for your book/art/music/business, you're probably going to turn a few potential fans/customers away. It makes you seem unapproachable.

3. "Buy my book/album/etc, here's a link" via DM. I have never EVER been enticed into buying anything by someone using this method. Twitter is a social media platform. I get the promotion thing, I do, and I've used it to promote my own work. What I don't do is send a DM with a link to my book asking someone to buy it. It kind of smacks of desperation. So yes, make people aware that your book/etc exists with a quote, or a review link, or a graphic, etc. And yes, by all means throw in an Amazon link with it. Just please don't beg me to buy it.

4. "Would you please take the time to rate my book". Um...what? I was a little baffled the first time I got a DM like this. First, I'd never heard of the author or book. Second, I couldn't tell if they were asking me to arbitrarily rate it just to inflate their ratings numbers (which I'd never do) or what. I understand ratings and reviews can help sell a book, but I think this one needs a rewording "Hey, if you've read my book, I'd love it if you'd leave a review". Or something like that. It just seemed weird.

5. "The completely different language follower". If I can't understand anything in your profile or you're tweeting exclusively in a language other than English, I won't be able to read it. So...what's the point?

Wow, that sounded an awful lot like complaining :) I feel better now. I guess the point is, when you're on enough, you start to notice different types of interactions, and unfortunately it's the more unpleasant ones that stick in your mind. So what about you...what bugs you on social media? Not just Twitter, but any platform?


  1. You have followers and follow back non-English speaking people. So, what's the point? The point is - it's all a numbers game. Look at me! I am popular because I follow x amount of people and x amount follows me! My product must be great and I have interesting things to say because x amount of people follow me and want to know what I will say next. It's all a popularity contest that no one is winning because if you are lucky maybe a handful of those people give a crap about what you have to say or what your product is. The majority just scroll on past. You are just a number for them and they are a number for you. It is the same with facebook friends and fans. It was the same with myspace. It's all a popularity contest with no real meaning. I think even the quotes with a link to promote is kind of smacks desperation too. I'd never buy anything based on a quote with a link that was tweeted or posted. Most of the time I fear the link could have a virus - screw that. Even the ratings and reviews I find bogus. Especially when someone gives a top rating and a vague review. If you thought is was so good and worth such a high rating why would you be vague in your review. You would think if something was so good you'd have more to say than just I loved it or I thought it was great. Again, it's all a numbers game that really only fools are falling for. It's all bogus yet, people waste hours of their lives posting and tweeting away thinking they are getting somewhere and they really aren't. They are just losing hours of their lives for minimal results.

  2. I see your point--yes, it is a numbers game, and a lot of it probably isn't terribly effective. It shouldn't be your only tool, and it shouldn't be expected as such. But you know what? A huge chunk of traffic I get on my blog comes from Twitter. Is it from tweets? Follows? Who knows. Considering the minimal effort involved in using the site, I'd say it's a good tool. Doesn't necessarily mean people will run out and buy my work, but it does mean they were curious. There is definitely a lot of crap to weed through content wise. As far as expecting it to be THE MAGIC sales tool, though, I agree--not likely going to do much.

    With reviews I have mixed feelings. There is definitely a lot of dishonesty out there, especially with Amazon and Goodreads. People who rate high or low because of the author, not the work. Or people who create multiple sock puppet accounts so they can raise or lower an overall rating. It's sad and pathetic. That kind of stuff cheapens the whole process. Vague reviews *can* be a sign someone is doing this. That said, there are people who genuinely like or dislike a book that aren't as good at expressing themselves and do leave a vague review. Does it make their opinion invalid just because they can't express it in greater detail? Or don't want to? Some people aren't *good* at writing reviews but still want to give their $.02. You can't fault that. I'm less inclined to care about the content of reviews, I just wish all people who left them were honest.