Blogging or Bugging?

One of the best parts of blogging is the community of bloggers I have met and gotten to know, many of them closer to me than friends I have known my entire life.  We speak daily, we see each other a few times a year, and we provide a support system for one another that is nothing short of the “It Takes a Village” mentality that many of us long for in our physical communities.

But there are downsides to this group, as well, and one of them is the constant electronic contact, which at times crosses lines.

Of course it is every individual’s prerogative to step away from the computer, turn off the Blackberry for the afternoon, unplug and unwind.  That isn’t what I’m talking about here.  What concerns me is how often people make choices regarding contact that seem counterintuitive to social norms.

If this is Social Media, why do so many people seem to not understand the basic rules of socializing with peers? In the interest of no longer clogging Skype chats or Gtalks with “What do you do when someone….?” messages, I’m just going to break it down right here.  These are my lines.

1. Newsletters, Blog Feeds, and Marketing Lists – Oh My!

I met you.  We laughed about how often we tweet and we exchanged business cards.  Maybe we even emailed once or twice.  And then you started a newsletter or updated your blog feed and without my permission you added my address to it. What were you thinking?  Did you figure that because I receive a few hundred emails a day I wouldn’t notice?  Maybe you just didn’t care in your quest to increase your numbers.  Maybe you imported your entire email address book and now everyone from me to your dentist’s office to your mother-in-law suddenly receives your take on the latest baby products or the top celebrity dish.

The fact is that most subscriber services distinctly point out in their terms of service that you may not add subscribers against their will.  In fact, if enough of us report you as spam, you can have your newsletter or blog pulled from those feed servers entirely.  And if your goal is to increase your numbers to look good for brands, it’s worth pointing out that you have no influence over an audience that you commandeered into receiving your updates.  You may as well start back at zero…

2. Facebook Friends

I collect things so I get this…somewhat.  For me it was Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, and stuffed animals.  My daughter is following in my footsteps for two out of three.  But now that I’m an adult, I’ve moved beyond that sort of hoarding and long instead for simplicity.  Yes, I try my best to follow back as many of the real people who follow me on Twitter as possible because that is good Twitter etiquette. The entire concept of Twitter is predicated on strangers subscribing to other stranger’s feeds, and I try my best (although I’m about 7,000 followers behind) to reciprocate follows.  But Facebook is entirely different. The reason why Mark and his pals called those connecting on Facebook “Friends” instead of followers, stalkers, or strangers-I-don’t-know is because they are precisely that – friends.  Now I have used this definition somewhat loosely in deciding which friend requests to accept because anyone from my home town who has found their way to Facebook is now connected.  If you were my sorority sister in college, you’re in, even if we didn’t hang out that much then.  Same for other high school and college buddies, even if we haven’t kept in touch.  But if I look at your account and the only thing I can tell about you is that we have 125 mutual friends, why should I accept your friend request?  All that tells me is that you requested to be friends with 125 other strangers who happen to be friends with me. I don’t feel the need to open up personal pictures of my children to people who collect numbers, er, I mean friends.

3. Twitter Direct Messages

Stop.  Just stop.  I don’t think I have to say more.

4. Emails to “Pick My Brain”

Okay, so I admit completely that I brought this on myself.  After all, I’m the one who put the word “resourceful” in the title of my blog and my Twitter name and will even answer to “ResourcefulMom!!!” being yelled across a hotel lobby.  With that said, there is a time, a place, and a technique for asking someone for advice. If we’re friends, my goodness, ask me anything, any time.  I love to read through pitches for people and even responses from clients and add my two cents.  That is part of what is beautiful about this community.  However, please do not email me to tell me that you think my business model is a good one and would like to know the following: exactly how I plan Twitter Parties, how to get sponsors, and how do I measure the success of parties. I get an average of two of these emails per week currently, and each one makes me scream a little louder than the last.  I have a friend who sometimes gets a heads up that another request for proprietary information has come my way because I email her just this, “Hi Coke, this is Pepsi.  I think your drink rocks.  Would you mind sending me the formula?  Kthxbai”  It’s also uncouth to ask me how much money I make, what I charge for X, Y, and Z, and one of my personal favorites, for me to send my excel spreadsheet with client names and contact information because they would like to start hosting reviews. (FYI: I’m not that organized.  People give me far too much credit)  Some other requests include to win specific prizes for reasons ranging from an upcoming holiday to a family illness, to personally sponsor them to attend a blog conference, and to put a link to their awesome new site on my own site.  None of these requests will be honored, so the less often I have to delete emails the better. *CAVEAT* – I will help anyone, any time, anywhere plan a Walt Disney World vacation.  Feel free to email me about that early and often.

5. Voting, Farmville, Mafia, Bling, Razzle Dazzle Angry Twitter Birds….BLERGH!

When I am at the computer I am doing one of only several things: working, emailing friends (sadly…there’s rarely time for this), chatting on Twitter or Facebook with friends and co-workers, blogging, planning a Disney vacation.  When I am at my computer I am never downloading an app, playing a game, harvesting crops, bedazzling my vajayjay, flying birds, lining up mafia hits, or entering contests. As for the former, when a friend makes a request for a vote, I go and vote.  I get it.  It’s fun to win stuff.  In fact, one of my favorite parts of my job is giving stuff away.  What I don’t have time for, however, is a Facebook chat window popping open on my screen with a ginormous link to a contest where I am supposed to go enter my name, email address, SSN, home address, income level, and diagram of any birthmarks in order to help you win a free app for your iPhone.  I actually once had a flight attendant stop at my aisle seat where I was happily working having paid $7.99 for the in flight WiFi.  Why did he stop?  To offer me $20 to “harvest his crops.” Please refer back to point number 3.

While these are the lines that most annoy me when crossed, I’m sure that I have just touched the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to social media interactions.  So now I’m providing you a platform in the comments.  What pushes you over the crossed line?

Written by: Amy

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33 Comments

  • I’m obviously not as much of an authority as you. The only thing people ever ask me is “which way to the nearest *good* blog. :0)

  • While all of the above is pretty darn annoying, the thing I find most irritating are the emails asking how I coded something on my blog. No, I will not share that because that is part of MY blog, making it personal to me. Imitation is not flattery, it’s annoying and wrong.

    • Amy

      Absolutely, Cat. There is a difference between asking for tips on how to write your own code and asking for the code itself. Maybe this is such a generous community that people cross the line without realize that’s what they’re doing?

    • Interesting how we all view things differently. When I started building my own sites in the early 90’s I learned by others sharing with me for the biggest part. I’ve never had a problem sharing coding with anyone. Honestly, anyone can easily see anyone’s coding anyway and learn that way too.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy Lupold Bair , Cindy Dyer. Cindy Dyer said: Social media confuses some people. Manners? Whassat? RT @ResourcefulMom: New Post:: Blogging or Bugging? http://bit.ly/dJp5K9 […]

  • I could have written this post myself. AmEN amen Amen!

  • Wow! I completely see how you would lose your top ever these things.

    Now, I follow you on twitter and like you on Facebook but I have never emailed you. Though reading this blog, I may email you about Disney World vacation in a year or so. I have 4 kids (4 and under) and though we’ve been there once (when there was only 1 child) we wouldn’t have a clue how to survive with 4.

    Anyway, phew! You have an exhausting life. 🙂

  • While I totally disagree with you in terms of using Twitter (having 20K followers means that I can’t really follow ANY of them, and then making a smaller list in Tweetdeck seems to defeat the point of following in the first place), I completely agree on every other point. The first is a major pet peeve of mine. It’s so disrespectful of my time. Hopefully the people who need to read these will!

  • OK well, I agree – the people who want to be my facebook friend because we have eleventeen billion other friends in common is my pet peeve along with those who ask to be my friend just so they can add me to a group so they can solicit votes from me. Those are by far the worst for me.
    I don’t mind telling people how I do what I do or how I got into it because some days I’m still figuring that out myself (how the heck did I get into this anyway? Remind me please?)and luckily no one has ever asked me for the kind of information they are asking you for!

    But I confess to the facebook games. It’s a great way for me to destress and I play them with my teenage son – don’t discount that! It’s a good way to connect with your teen every now and then!

    • Amy

      Nikki, I grant you my Facebook game blessing because you have never once asked me to put a plant in your garden or a jewel on your wall.

  • All I can say is OH MY! You just ahve to shake your head and wonder sometimes if people really take the time to think about what they do. Yes, we’d all love to know the secrtes to success but really do you expect someone to just hand over what they have worked hard to earn bc you simply say – you do a great job, mind handing it over to me! LOL!

    I do not have your problems – I am lucky to get any comments to my lil blog or tweets but I can easiyl see how these things would be annoying.

    Hopefully people will see your post and think twice – good luck with that! 🙂

    Bernadette

  • I agree completely! I don’t have time for Facebook games. I’ve actually blocked most of them so now I don’t get bothered by the notifications. Facebook is for my personal friends and twitter is for everyone I know and don’t know, but find interesting. As far as being added to a newsletter without subscribing? RUDE!

  • I agree, what gets me are the people who chat me (even if we’re not friends) asking for votes.

    I also get the emails asking for things, more often than not it’s someone asking me to hand over a contact. If I don’t know you why would you ask, and if you do know me I’m more than happy to reccomend you to brands I work with.

    • Amy

      I was shocked to see that people who are not my friend on Facebook can send me Facebook messages. I had no idea! That is the source of some of my worst spam.

  • Okay, now tell us how much money you make. LOL

    That’s never a reasonable question even coming from family members, yet people continue to ask rudely. Ugh!

    • Amy

      I do like the question, “What do you think is a good range for SEO consulting, or what do you think is a respectable amount for a sponsored post?” It’s a great way for people to learn who are first monetizing or just need a gut check, yet it isn’t asking me what I charge specifically.

  • Honestly…I have nothing to add to this except a big ditto!! Thanks for putting it out there!

  • “When I am at my computer I am never downloading an app, playing a game, harvesting crops, bedazzling my vajayjay, flying birds, lining up mafia hits, or entering contests.”

    #madeofwin

    Oh? And I big puffy heart you. #thatisall

  • I’m stuck on the people point blank ask your business model part. Um….Wow!

  • “bedazzling my vajayjay” LOL

    There are definitely many instances of lines being crossed these days. It’s great that our community is so helpful and frequently supports each other. However, there’s a difference between asking for some input and asking you to give it all away.

    • Amy

      Melanie, absolutely! And I love to offer advice and even help people do the fun things like create graphics, but boy, people like to find my line and jump up and down on it!

  • Totally understand the games on FB thing. That’s why I made lists and only publish my Farmville stuff to ppl that also play. I wish my friends would get with the program and do the same thing for all their games that clog up my screen.

    As for the voting.. that makes me feel so sad! I always ask my friends on FB to vote for me and then I get depressed when they don’t do it.. I know I should stop being a baby but I never really understand why someone wouldn’t want to help me get a kitchen makeover.. especially after seeing pics of my house.

    I don’t mind the stray ppl I have on my FB that ask me for votes as well just because I can do it to them in return.. I also block them from anything I post really.. another “list”.

    Now as far as Twitter.. do you still get DM’s?? I only have 7600 ppl and my DM’s only show up in emails and not directly on twitter. No clue why.. thought it was a numbers thing.

    OH and the collecting ppl on your FB.. LAME. What I don’t really like is that a few big time bloggers/website owners seek people out and put them on their friends list and then never ever post anything personal.. my facebook is for friends/family and I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to balance the two without insulting anyone.

    I’ve also been getting the sign ups to sites/feeds etc out of the blue.. and I noticed it’s coming from Twitter. Annoying! Not cool at all… my inbox is full enough thanks.

  • The flight attendant one is what really got to me. Really? They did that? OMG – that is seriously crazy!

  • Oh my gosh Amy I’m LOLing right now. Mainly because of the bedazzling your vajayjay remark. 😉

    I totally understand where you are coming from. And I’ll apologize now if I’ve ever bugged you on FB. I’m pretty sure I’ve not done any of the other things.

    But really you should have taken that guys $20 and harvested his crops. Wouldn’t have taken 15 minutes and you’d be $20 better off. It would have paid for your Wi-Fi! HA!

  • I hate those automated Direct Messages that people send out when you follow them on Twitter. It’s almost always a product pitch or a plea to join them on Facebook or another site. In fact, rather than persuading me to buy, it often convinces me to “unfollow”!

  • Umm, Agreed! I am new to twitter, and I think it is an interesting entitiy. It’s primarily used for networking/advertising/etc. not so much for “friends” and everybody’s cool with that. I agree with your assesment of fb. I only have about 150 friends and turn down friend requests all the time because unless I would have a sit-down conversation with you if I saw you, then I don’t want you reading all of my fb stuff!

  • I was reading this in email to which I did subscribe and I swear I was going to read the whole thing there and move on. BUT the compelling statement of stop the Dm’s on twitter sent me here. I too have been added to email lists and voting groups on facebook and frankly it’s begins to get exhausting and upsetting. $20 to farm his crops…Really? That one took the cake. lol
    ps. can I get your contact list and can you email them for me and tell them I’m available .(j.k).lol… that is insane that people would have the nerve!

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