Hang the Code and Hang the Rules…They’re More Like Guidelines, Really.*
There are a lot of people out there with rules. I don’t want to pick fights (so I won’t name specific names) but there are lots of “I won’t follow you if…”, “I won’t read you if…”, “If you are advertising, get out”, “You can talk to me, but don’t pitch me…”, “You can pitch me, but don’t talk to me…” rules and regulations for ‘social media.’ These people are making ‘the online’ a less than appealing place for beginners. You know who they are? They are the ripped/toned/sculpted bodies at the gym that make me want to run around Lady Bird Lake rather than lift weights in their precious house of worship. I totally understand – they get how the machines work…for them. They have clearly mastered dieting…for them. They would probably be happy to tell me how they did/do it…and expect me to want to do the same. But really, what works for them will not likely work for me. I feel a lesson coming on!
For every constructive advice driven post I read from folks about how they use twitter, blogging, 12Seconds, or whatever to connect with their audience, there is a snarky post written highlighting peoples’ missteps or how someone did it ‘wrong’. I got news for you people – there isn’t really a ‘wrong’ but there is a whole bushel full of ‘different.’ Different does not automatically mean wrong. Should you auto-follow – hell, I honestly have no idea. Is auto DMing good or bad – well, it isn’t my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it might not have some value for someone. Should you tweet three times a day or twelve? Should you blog every day? Should you comment? Should you digg? Should you re-tweet? How many re-tweets is too many? Look folks, this is the “messaging service we didn’t know we needed until we had it” and I honestly don’t think it should be this complicated. I can give advice (and I know I do this in excess, and often) but my last piece of advice is almost always: however YOU are comfortable using it is right. You might not always make everyone happy – in fact, I think it is kind of a sign of success when you start to piss people off – but if you find value, then keep on keeping on.
INK has three tenets for “social media” – and right now, I am talking about number two: One size DOES NOT fit all. And while we preach this to our clients to re-iterate that going after a space just because someone else did or someone else saw success is not always the best idea, I think it bears repeating for other leaders in this space. I am not condoning gaming the system to stockpile followers, but there are no hard and fast rules. This space is new and it is still evolving – just stick your neck out and get to participating – because you might find the better way. And if we all just follow the rules, it will become a boring, stagnant, USELESS space in no time.
*the title is for my husband, who will likely not read this, but still…