Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mistakes Made By Social Media Gurus

In an effort to learn from others’ mistakes, here’s a list of some all star errors in judgment from some social media all stars. I’ll lead off the order by admitting an error of my own.

Respond to all negative comments – When I, David Spark,
started being seen publically in print, TV, radio, and online I read everyone’s comments, but focused more intently on the negative ones. I wasted a lot of time putting far too much effort into defending myself to these anonymous naysayers than they put into attacking me. I soon understood that some geeks simply can’t help themselves being negative. They’ve got an obnoxious strand of DNA and must constantly try to prove themselves smarter than you.

Participate in flame wars to increase traffic – Similarly, Dana Gardner, blogger for ZDNet, admits he would engage in online arguments just to watch his Web traffic shoot up. But over time Gardner realized that flame wars don’t attract the right kind of audience. “Going to the lowest emotional common denominator to me is an ineffective way of reaching that audience. I’d rather come up with valuable insightful fresh innovative content than appeal to angry white men sitting around computers that don’t have anything else to do,” Gardner said.

Hire a voice talent for $2,000 to read a podcast for you – Paul Dunay, Global Director of Integrated Marketing at BearingPoint and prominent blogger, made a massive blunder when he decided to get into podcasting. His first show was actually a whitepaper read by a voice talent for $2,000. The resulting podcast sounded like a book on tape and he and his colleagues were horrified. That episode was never published, but the voice talent did get paid.

Send a specially selected mass mailing to your friends – Susan Bratton, co-founder and CEO of Personal Life Media, is still having a problem trying to scale individual relationships with social media. Even when she pares down her mailing list of 8,000 to a personally selected mailing of 250, she still gets nasty messages telling her to “take me off this list.”

Assume that social media doesn’t exist until you arrive – Social media strategist Chris Brogan and founder of PodCamp reached out to the New England podcasters’ bulletin board and said he was going to invite all the social media rock stars to come to Boston for Podcamp. Nobody responded to what he thought was a generous offer until he saw a response on the board that said, “There are a lot of rock stars in Boston and it’s kind of offensive you got to import them from other places.” Brogan learned from his mistake. Wherever you go on the Web realize there’s been a history. Don’t assume you know everything and discredit what’s been done before you arrived, Brogan said.


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