Guest Posts, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Tools, Social Media Marketing

Is Social Media Now Anti-Social?

andrewf.jpg Is Social Media Now Anti Social?Guest post by Andrew Freeman (@andrewfreeman), an online Campaign Manager and Media Planner for Sitewire, where he is also a regular blog contributor. Andrew loves marketing, psychology and all things digital, his musings can be read at www.strategicality.com.

social media is anti social Is Social Media Now Anti Social?I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think social media is now anti-social. There are a lot of people and organizations using this medium that are in fact annoying and on some occasions unethical.

In preparing for this post I wanted to try and define what social actual means and I think these definitions from Princeton.edu are great examples:

1. living together or enjoying life in communities or organized groups
2. a party of people assembled to promote sociability and communal activity
3. marked by friendly companionship with others

The Internet and social media close the gap, and enable communities to form over vast distances, from almost every corner of the globe.

Surely this is the age of digital Nirvana? Shangri-La? Eden?

For some people yes, but increasingly, it is turning into a nightmare due to anti-social behavior.

Hashtag Abuse

Habitat UK has been roundly criticized for using popular hashtags in their promotional tweets. Many of these spam tweets involved phrases related to the Iranian election and subsequent protests. Here is a selection of Habitat UK’s spam tweets. Fortunately they have now deleted the offending articles from their Twitter account. But it remains to be seen how much damage has been done to their reputation, at least in the online world.

Tagged.com is a social network, similar to Facebook and MySpace. Currently it is in the process of being sued for stealing people’s identities. Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Attorney General, accused Tagged.com of deceptive email practices in an effort to solicit new members. Basically, after a new member signed up, they were alledgedly coerced into submitting a list of email addresses from their email accounts. Their contacts were then sent an email which appeared to come from them, asking them to view photos. Many people signed up to find that there were no photos of them.

One More, and I’ll Scream

Do you have a social media pet peeve? I do. Mine is the Twitter hashtag contest. Why do companies think that I want to see their name in my Twitter stream? There has been a definite trend in trying to get an organization’s name into the trending topics of Twitter. Interestingly, the best exponent of this recently has been Squarespace.com.

Squarespace was giving away an iPhone a day for 30 days. To enter for a particular day all that was needed was a tweet with the #squarespace hashtag. My twitter stream seemed to be choked up with these hashtags especially because you had to enter this contest each day. After generating more than 12,000 tweets, Squarespace realized that this was an annoying way to market a product and announced that just tweeting once will get you entered into the competition forever.

I think there are two main lessons to be learned that should be followed by any organization using social media:

1. Be open and honest – If you are using any deceptive practices, you will be found out and the social media that you are utilizing will very likely be used against you.
2. Observe social media etiquette – While you can try and stand out by being different, you run the risk of causing annoyance to your potential customers.

Unfortunately there are likely to be many organizations and individuals willing to use the Internet and other technologies to try and push their agenda, even if it is not what their intended audience wants.

Do you have any examples of anti-social behavior in the social media world that you would like to share?

  • http://tdhurst.com/ Tyler Hurst

    It’s COMPLETELY what you make of it. My past year+ on Twitter and blogging regularly has netted me more friends, a better job and has given me access to a wealth of information I never before thought possible.

    I’ve met more people this past year than I did the first five in Phoenix. I meet people in every city I travel to because of social media. I’ve been introduced and become buddies with people in industries I never would have because of Twitter.

    Social media allows me to attend an *FN every week I’m in Phoenix. It allows me to have random lunches. It’s introduced me to ESPN, lawyers in DC and women I’ve dated.

    Social media and especially twitter itself, is completely what you make of it. Start blocking the annoying people. Ignore hashtags. Unfollow those you don’t like.

    Ask for help. Plenty of us willing to do so.
    .-= Tyler Hurst´s last blog ..The joy of discovery =-.

  • http://tdhurst.com Tyler Hurst

    It’s COMPLETELY what you make of it. My past year+ on Twitter and blogging regularly has netted me more friends, a better job and has given me access to a wealth of information I never before thought possible.

    I’ve met more people this past year than I did the first five in Phoenix. I meet people in every city I travel to because of social media. I’ve been introduced and become buddies with people in industries I never would have because of Twitter.

    Social media allows me to attend an *FN every week I’m in Phoenix. It allows me to have random lunches. It’s introduced me to ESPN, lawyers in DC and women I’ve dated.

    Social media and especially twitter itself, is completely what you make of it. Start blocking the annoying people. Ignore hashtags. Unfollow those you don’t like.

    Ask for help. Plenty of us willing to do so.
    .-= Tyler Hurst´s last blog ..The joy of discovery =-.

  • Joe Whyte

    Not “gaming” social sites has been a hot button issue for a long time. Ironically what I have seen is that there also has been a “cover up” from prevalent social media marketers making an ethical grand stand on the usage of these site’s even though they are perpetrators.

    add that one to your list ;-)

    Staying ethical in advertising is just simple business ethics however I can see in the hands of lesser talent the inexperience of what is truly gaming and what is ethical.

    Great post and I will be watching out for this hashtag tactic in the future.

  • Joe Whyte

    Not “gaming” social sites has been a hot button issue for a long time. Ironically what I have seen is that there also has been a “cover up” from prevalent social media marketers making an ethical grand stand on the usage of these site’s even though they are perpetrators.

    add that one to your list ;-)

    Staying ethical in advertising is just simple business ethics however I can see in the hands of lesser talent the inexperience of what is truly gaming and what is ethical.

    Great post and I will be watching out for this hashtag tactic in the future.

  • http://www.blueprintdallas.blogspot.com Sloane

    Even after using Twitter for several months, I still feel like I am still getting used to it and figuring out more every day. However, I have noticed the automated tweets and responses that cause me to automatically block those people from my followers list. It seems like a lot of software to get more followers has this as one of their “features” you get when using it. I prefer to do social media the real way, instead of trying to get technology to do even more work for me. Just my thoughts. Like the blog! Will come back for more!!
    .-= Sloane´s last blog ..Could middle school actually be fun?? =-.

  • http://www.blueprintdallas.blogspot.com/ Sloane

    Even after using Twitter for several months, I still feel like I am still getting used to it and figuring out more every day. However, I have noticed the automated tweets and responses that cause me to automatically block those people from my followers list. It seems like a lot of software to get more followers has this as one of their “features” you get when using it. I prefer to do social media the real way, instead of trying to get technology to do even more work for me. Just my thoughts. Like the blog! Will come back for more!!
    .-= Sloane´s last blog ..Could middle school actually be fun?? =-.

  • http://www.outbsolutions.com/ Mark Allen Roberts

    It is a tool, and instrument if you will to create a symphony , as I discuss in my post : Are you creating a symphony for your market?…or just noise?http://nosmokeandmirrors.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/are-you-creating-a-symphony-for-your-marketor-just-noise/, or you could be that annoying guy with the bad muffler I learn to tune out?
    Mark Allen Roberts

  • http://www.outbsolutions.com Mark Allen Roberts

    It is a tool, and instrument if you will to create a symphony , as I discuss in my post : Are you creating a symphony for your market?…or just noise?http://nosmokeandmirrors.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/are-you-creating-a-symphony-for-your-marketor-just-noise/, or you could be that annoying guy with the bad muffler I learn to tune out?
    Mark Allen Roberts

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan/status/3106807132 Katie Van Domelen

    RT @jaybaer: @andrewfreeman asks "is Social Media Now Anti-Social?" http://ow.ly/hDrA

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan/status/ Katie Van Domelen

    RT @jaybaer: @andrewfreeman asks “is Social Media Now Anti-Social?” http://ow.ly/hDrA

  • http://twitter.com/sitewireagency/status/3106807123 SitewireAgency

    RT @jaybaer: @andrewfreeman asks "is Social Media Now Anti-Social?" http://ow.ly/hDrA

  • http://twitter.com/thedesignfoundr/status/3107258490 Dave Fish

    RT @SitewireAgency: RT @jaybaer: @andrewfreeman asks "is Social Media Now Anti-Social?" http://ow.ly/hDrA

  • http://twitter.com/lisadiaz/status/3111656747 lisadiaz

    RT @tweetmeme Is Social Media Now Anti-Social? | Good information worth the RT from Convince & Convert http://bit.ly/T3abW

  • http://twitter.com/andrewfreeman/status/3113889728 andrewfreeman

    Thnx to everyone who has Tweeted or commented on my guest post for @jaybaer: Is social Media now anti social? http://tinyurl.com/mck9th

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreyj/status/ Jeff Mueller

    Is Social Media Now Anti-Social? | Guest Posts | Social Media … http://bit.ly/AFawK

  • http://twitter.com/andrewillis/status/3114931515 Andre Willis

    . @andrewfreeman asks "Is Social Media Now Anti-Social" http://is.gd/21hKp Guest post on @Jaybaer’s blog.

  • http://twitter.com/drizzlin/status/3118500250 Drizzlin SM

    Social media now anti-social? http://bit.ly/2RFdSF

  • http://twitter.com/nkarmakar/status/3118533446 Niranjan

    RT @Drizzlin: Social media now anti-social? http://bit.ly/2RFdSF

  • http://twitter.com/niruk/status/3118533299 niranjan

    RT @Drizzlin: Social media now anti-social? http://bit.ly/2RFdSF

  • http://twitter.com/janfirsching/status/3120552459 Jan Firsching

    RT @tweetmeme Is Social Media Now Anti-Social? | Guest Posts | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert http://bit.ly/T3abW

  • http://twitter.com/niknak_anatine/status/3125353369 Kerry Costello

    RT @jaybaer: @andrewfreeman asks Social Media Now Anti-Social? http://ow.ly/hDrJ

  • http://twitter.com/ivan_jones/status/3250441423 Ivan Jones

    Is social media now anti-social? http://bit.ly/pNPK1

  • http://twitter.com/coniconstantine/status/5958079512 ConiConstantine

    RT @tweetmeme Is Social Media Now Anti-Social? | Guest Posts | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert http://bit.ly/T3abW

  • letstalkandchat

    If you’re looking for webinar software, then check out Evergreen Business System. Its perfect for marketers and let’s you automate the scheduling of your webinars, build your list, and even follow up with your webinar registrants. If you’re going to buy Evergreen Business System, then you might as well get a free bonus! So check out http://www.mikelmurphy.com/evergreen-business-system-bonus-webinar-software/ and you’ll get a great bonus that tells you how to create a webinar, what is a webinar, and a blueprint for making a successful one. None of the other people offering bonuses are offering this. Hurry in case the guy (some dude that worked on Lord of the RIngs) offering the bonus decides to pull it down.

  • Anti Awkward Turtle

    I’ve always viewed the idea of anti-social media as people neglecting the physical world because they’re paying so much attention online and to their social devices in a public space. But your article struck another cord. As much as allowing EVERYONE the right to express their opinion freely, it’s also opened up a gateway to haters, trolls and a lot more negativity than before. Whether this is good or bad, I’m not one to critique, but the direction social media is heading, I can’t say our future is going to be flourishing the way the inventors thought we would.

    If you have a spare minute, please check out this campaign we’ve been working on to promote appropriate use of their phones (http://antiawkwardturtle.wordpress.com/) – we’re always looking down at a screen now and there’s not that much social activity going on around us compared to before!