YOUR MOTHER RUINED YOU!

You know that awkward feeling you get when you see a friend or colleague drunk at a social function and making a fool of themselves?  Well that’s how I feel when I see people #IRL (In Real Life) that I respect and are knowledgeable making social asses of themselves.

I have written on two occasions about my personal feelings on Twitter etiquette.

Fortunately or unfortunately the idea of email etiquette never had a community to vet against so “best practice” was never anything more than common sense.

Look at the state of email, it’s a mess! And most of the people I know are actually paid to manage a file system of knowledge they call “email”.

The hope for a social enterprise is many fold and has been blogged about extensively.  Just follow Riitta Raesmaa @raeesma for a steady stream of golden tweets.

After addressing bad Twitter habits, how to Retweet it’s time to take on the monster of “self-promotion”.  Thanks Nate Beran for pissing me off enough to show my embarrassing writing to the world again.

My mother was probably the first person that taught me to “toot my own horn”.  There is no shame in tooting your own horn, just make sure you have good sheet music.  Then it was primary school sporting events that made heroes out of my classmates.  In my 20’s, I watched musical stars go from nobody to superstardom just by SELF PROMTION and constant reinvention.

When you are a fan of something, sports, music, your kids, you don’t mind having it rubbed in your face constantly how brilliant they are.  My child is a SUPER STAR at Jones Elementary School and I have the bumper sticker on my car to show you and my child how amazing they are.

The digital social world is a little different from real life when it comes to self-promotion.

In real life, if you sat and told me how important you were or how much I should “like” you, I probably would make our meetings together few and far between.

In a digital world, where I respect your knowledge and the information that you share, I don’t have any other choice to do an all or nothing follow.

If you tweet crap, I will unfollow.  It’s easy.  What gets hard is when you tweet amazing stuff, but every now and then you tell me how great you are and how much I should like you.

At this point I feel uncomfortable, almost like my first day at Catholic school, or that sweaty hand on my first date, or watching my mom cry, avoiding eye contact with the homeless person at the stop light.

So do everyone a favor and make an effort not to “toot your own horn” on Twitter.

I will take a moment to define “Toot your own horn”.  This is a specific behavior and looks the same way every time.

 

I should not have to blur the innocent but out of respect I will.

While it’s great that Twitter user X thinks that Twitter user Y did a nice job, it’s a bit uncomfortable watching user Y RESHARE, his greatness with HIS own stream.

I wish I could say that this is isolated.  Unfortunately this is epidemic on Twitter.  Strangely you don’t see this behavior on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google Plus.

You might be saying, yes, but EVERYONE on twitter does this.

NEWS FLASHII EVERYONE DOES NOT DO THIS ON Twitter.

I set forth to you example one.  Me.

I have hundreds of people mention me in tweets, message me, or just rave and put my name in a tweet or a post as a way of thanking me.

I could have delivered a lecture, a class or even met you in person; the reasons to publically thank someone are many.

Now if I take that information and RETWEET it to my followers, I am in essence saying, LOOK AT ME, PEOPLE LOVE ME, REALLY THEY DO, and I HAVE THE TWEETS TO PROVE IT.

Wow, I know we have devalued the word friend and ruined any attempt at sincere birthday greetings on Facebook, but have we got the point in our digital lives that we need to self-aggrandize via proxy?

So rule one, just to be clear, if you RETWEET folks who mention you, you my friend have a self-esteem problem.   Start there and work your way back to Twitter.

There are other forms of vulgar self-promotion that I will take time to list now.

  1. Using NON-Native Retweets.  So basically you just stole someone else’s work.   Nice job.
  2. Tweeting and referencing someone at the end.  E.g. look at this exciting article {link here} via @user.  9 out of 10 times you can go to the @user and find their tweet and link, but no you had to “borrow” the news for yourself.
  3. If you can make direct currency from something and it’s not clear to your users that you are ADVERTISING, then you are self-promoting.  In the era of the solopreneur, it’s common for folks to mention their work.  Hell someone has to; but the line between work for CASH and work for the love of work is very close and deep down you know when you are doing crap on Twitter so stop!

Finally the litmus test for any tweet should be:

“Does this tweet add to the good of the knowledge”.

If you can honestly say yes, then tweet it.