Social Networking Fail

Come on, folks. If you mean it, get it right.

LinkedInI logged into my LinkedIn account today for the first time in a few months and found 16 invitations. Of those, I knew four of the people and accepted two of the invitations.

I don’t like LinkedIn. It seems like a feeding ground for “business people” trolling for new customers. Just too much bullshit, even for a hardcore Twitter user like me.

The odd thing about LinkedIn is that you’re supposed to know the person you’re inviting to connect. Somehow, people seem able to get around this requirement and still contact me. But do these people honestly expect me to link to them without any idea of who they are or what they do or how a link could benefit us? Most folks use the standard invitation message or simply no message at all, giving me no reason to want to connect.

But today I got a bonus invitation. One guy — a “Cloud Computing Professional” — got creative but still failed:

[redacted] has indicated you are a person they’ve done business with at [redacted,] Inc. · Hi Maria: I hope this email finds u well. I work with [redacted], a company proving business productivity software in the cloud and would like to get in touch with u to discuss possible collaboration on ur technical copywriting. Plz feel free to contact me at ###-###-####. Thanks, [redacted]

He wants me to collaborate with him on some technical writing?

What kind of writer uses “u” for you, “ur” for our (or your?), and “Plz” for please? Would I be expected to write that way, too? Not possible, I’m afraid. You see, I don’t think the word you has too many letters to type, so I tend to type all three of them when writing.

And how many other people who who may have included “writer” in their profile got the same exact message?

I’ve never heard of this person or his company and I certainly have not “done business with” either one of them. Although I was tempted to accept the invitation just to see what his angle was, I really don’t want to spend any more time on LinkedIn than I already do.

So I marked the invitation as the spam it probably was.

Top 13 Features of a Perfect World Twitter

Ah, if only the world were perfect!

Twitter LogoMarch 20, 2012 will mark the beginning my fifth year as Twitter user.

During that time, I’ve posted more than 37,000 tweets. I’ve seen Twitter evolve from the “microblogging” service it was designed to be to one of the top social networking sites and a major source of news and information worldwide. Along the way, I’ve authored three versions of a Twitter course for Lynda.com (with a revision to come soon) and dozens of blog posts and how-to articles about using Twitter.

I’m on Twitter just about every day, checking the tweets posted by the modest number of people I follow, responding to some tweets with @replies and retweeting others. I also respond to every [non-spam] tweet directed to my account — which is often how I find new people to follow. No, I don’t “reciprocate follows” and I don’t collect followers. I’m on Twitter primarily for its social networking aspects — to meet and interact with people all over the world. Indeed, I’ve met many of my Twitter friends in person and consider many of them more than just “virtual” friends.

I guess you can say I’m hooked on Twitter.

But with all that said, I’m sure any Twitter user can agree that Twitter is not perfect. I thought I’d take a moment to list the things I think we’d find in a “perfect world” Twitter.

  • No spam. None. Not any at all. Period.
  • Twitter users who actually try to read — and maybe occasionally respond to? — the tweets of the people they follow. Seriously: why are you following people if you don’t read their tweets? There’s nothing social in one-way communication.
  • Retweets that credit the original source of the tweet. That means using the Retweet feature on Twitter except in the very rare instances that you must add your two cents to the tweet. I don’t know about you, but I like to see the name and profile picture of the witty or informative person who originated the tweet you thought was so sharable. And no, that wasn’t you.
  • Links that point to actual content instead of links to content. Don’t tease your followers with link bait pointing to your paper.li “online newspaper.” Link to the actual content people want to read. (And don’t get me started on sites like paper.li or Pinterest or FourSquare and the auto-tweets they spawn.)
  • Links to the original source of the content. Someone created that content and put it out there for the world to read. Don’t link to the site or page that steals a paragraph or two of it — or, worse yet, the whole thing. Link to the freaking source.
  • Follow Friday (#FF) tweets that list one or two people actually worth following. Not every single person who might have tweeted to you in the past three weeks, shared with your followers (those very same people) in six or seven consecutive tweets. If I wanted to know everyone you were following, I’d look at your profile and check your Following list. And how about including a reason why these people are worth following?
  • Company twitter accounts that interact with customers or provide links to valuable content (or both!) rather than just broadcast promotional messages. Why would anyone voluntarily follow an account that was a nonstop stream of ads?
  • No @replies starting with a . (or other character), thus forcing all of your followers to see one side of a conversation that they may have no interest in. Are your conversations with others so interesting that you need to circumvent Twitter’s built-in filtering for @reply conversations? I don’t think so.
  • No tweets longer than 140 characters. If you can’t express a thought within Twitter’s constraints, post it on Tumblr or a blog. When you use multiple consecutive tweets to express a single thought, you look like you’re talking to yourself. Which, in effect you are, because no one is reading it. (See above.)
  • No tweets about follower count. Pardon me, but who the fuck cares how many people follow you? If you do, you have pretty screwed up priorities. Ditto for Klout scores and any other Twitter “ranking” value.
  • No “Thank you for following me” or “welcome new followers!” or “Thanks for retweeting!” tweets. These messages are noise and a serious waste of bandwidth. (Imagine if everyone did this for every single follower and retweet. Has your head exploded yet?) While you might want everyone on Twitter to know about every new follower or retweet you get, the rest of us don’t really give a crap.
  • No automated direct messages (DMs). I cannot think of a tackier way to abuse a social networking service than to use a computer to automatically generate a message to a stranger that might just end up on his cell phone as a text message. As I mentioned to someone on Twitter just today, I automatically unfollow anyone who DMs me with an automated message. Or even a message that looks like it might be automated.
  • No social media gurus. Seriously: if that phrase (or anything like it) is in your Twitter profile, you just don’t get it.

Got anything to add to this list? Pet peeves you want to share? Wish lists? Post ‘em here.

Dear Facebook, I Don’t Need YOU to Communicate with My Husband

Facebook is not that big a part of my life.

I use Facebook. It’s not because I really want to. It’s because one of my publishers wants me to be there. So I am.

So is my husband. It’s not because he wants to be. It’s because his friends talked him into it. He doesn’t know the first thing about Facebook and doesn’t care. I don’t think he’s ever posted a thing.

Big EventsYet today, in the sidebar of my page, I found this note from Facebook, reminding me of our upcoming anniversary and giving me a link I could use to send him a message.

Well, Facebook, let me explain something to you. Normal people with normal relationships don’t need you to help them communicate. If I wanted to “send a message” to my husband, I could pick up the phone and call him. Or, if we were together — which isn’t too often this summer — I could simply talk to him, face to face.

I find the idea of using Facebook as tool to communicate with my husband not only idiotic but repulsive.

Is there any part of a person’s life that Facebook doesn’t want to interfere in?

Social Networking Stupidity, Part I

Is your social networking activity making you look like a jerk?

I just had to blog this. It’s such a great example of someone really screwing up with social networking.

A local area magazine (I’d rather not mention its name since I don’t want readers to trace the idiot who is the subject of this post) did its annual article on the 50 best places to eat in the state. Just today, it posted on its Facebook page:

Since our April issue was published, we’ve received numerous emails from readers who have informed us that two of the restaurants we included in our “Best Restaurants” feature have closed: [redacted 1] and [redacted 2]. Both restaurants were open at press time, and we regret that our very long lead time might lead to some disappointed readers.

One of the page’s followers commented:

Sounds like you need a new contributing writer~I’m available!:)

After a few other comments from readers, the editor replied:

Doesn’t have anything to do with the writer, [redacted]. She’s one of the best in the business. It’s because of our long lead times.

I can understand that. The magazine is, after all, a print publication. It’s not as if you can create the content and distribute it a week later.

But the commenter didn’t stop there. She fired off two more comments in quick succession:

I would beg to differ! A good writer would have given the editor the heads up. It’s not just about coverage, it’s about follow up too. I know she can write, but is she paying attention?????

and

btw–EVERYONE who lives in [redacted 2 town] knows how long [redacted 2] has been closed, not buying the excuses.

Whoa. I couldn’t let that one go. I have a lot of respect for the publication and the difficulty of remaining up-to-date in print. So I replied:

Give it a rest, [redacted]. [redacted magazine] does have VERY long lead times. Stuff happens. Also, its not likely you’ll get hired on as a writer with an attitude like that. Cut them some slack!

Within an hour 8 people had “liked” my comment, so I know I wasn’t far off-base. Another commenter suggested she try Xanax.

The point of all this is, this woman posted a slightly critical comment that was basically asking for a job. When the editor defended his publication against the criticism, she fired away with more critical remarks. (And don’t even get me started on the idea of a “writer” using five question marks at the end of a sentence.) Is this the way she does her job hunting? Her comments make her look like a real jerk. Who would hire her?

This was today’s example; I’ll likely follow this up with more examples as I stumble across them on the ‘Net.

You Want Permission to Do WHAT?

When sharing information from Facebook gets out of control.

I’m trying to streamline my photo sharing process. I’d like to be able to upload a photo to Zenfolio, which is where my photo gallery resides, and then, with a few clicks, put it on Facebook and Twitter. It seems to me that since Flickr can upload to Facebook and Twitter, those few clicks might be to put photos on Flickr and have Flickr do the heavy lifting. With that end in mind, I made the first step to connect Flickr to Facebook. Here’s the dialog that appeared after logging in:

Yahoo Permissions for Facebook

I’m displaying this image in almost full size on purpose — so you can read it. That’s what I did — and I’m pretty sure that most people don’t. Read it and you’ll learn that Yahoo! not only wants permission to post Flickr photos to my Facebook account, but it basically wants access to every single piece of information I have on Facebook, as well as information from my friends’ accounts.

Why does it need this information? Answer: It doesn’t.

What will it do with this information? Answer: Who knows? Set up direct marketing to me and my friends? Sell it? Put information about what I like or don’t like anywhere it wants on to Yahoo!? Extract information to store on its servers where I can’t see, modify, or delete it?

Who in their right mind would agree to this?

Likely, some of my Facebook friends. So now I need to go back into my Facebook account and lock down information sharing even more — just so click-happy friends don’t give MY information to Yahoo! Or other companies wanting access to everything.

Facebook should NOT allow this kind of access. There’s no reason for it. They are betraying their user’s trust.

Now I can’t take advantage of Flickr/Facebook linking because I know how to read and don’t want to share my information with another huge conglomerate. Who benefits? No one.