There. I’ve said it.

Social Media Makes Business Owners Stupid. (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way).

I was reading up today on someone who Klout considers a star (his score is 55, mine is 53, for what it’s worth). One of the key factors they believe he’s a star is because he uses the GKTT (Guy Kawasaki Twitter Technique), or what I like to call the HERP.


Guy Kawasaki’s AllTop is hurting the web. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against Guy himself, he’s a great human being as far as I can tell. Looks very huggable. However, hiring armies to “aggregate” (read: scrape like a meth addict) content from the web, reposting an excerpt on your own site like you created it, and promoting the crap out of it over and over and over again with different titles so your web properties show massive traffic is not just downright dishonest, it damages the web.

Remember why Digg took a massive geek-cred hit a while back? They added a “landing” page so you -had- to visit Digg at some point before you visited the content that people actually wanted you to see.

And it works, because you fall for it. Like an alzheimer patient oscillating between two Starbucks on opposite corners – we keep on clicking on. And on. And on. Have you tried their Salted Carmel Mocha? It’s delicious. But if you’re in Fort Collins, nothing beats the Honey Vanilla Latte from Cafe Ardour.

Let me ask you something: what happens when you see a brand new hilarious commercial on TV? (that is, if you don’t skip past them pretending to be some evil DVR-toting timelord). You laugh, right? Maybe you laugh so hard, you have to change your pants. Hey, it happens.

What happens an hour later when you’ve got your new pants on, and you see the same commercial again? …And again five minutes later …and again when you change the channel …and then again on every channel?

If you’re anything like me, you start wondering if the remote is sharp enough to perform Seppuku.

I’ll say it again: social media makes business owners stupid. Drunk with our own power at rummaging up hundreds or thousands of people who’ve decided at some point to click “follow” or “like”… the tendency is established that at some point, we’ll lose our minds. Just look at APlusK.

Enter: repetitive, slightly modified tweets. Observing, and consequently catching, the HERP. Writing banal blog posts to net SEO gains. Pitching discounts indiscriminately on every channel when times are slow. Ignoring industry standard rules because it just doesn’t look as good. Comic sans.

What’s worse: when one business owner shares this horrible advice with another. The cycle continues. Look, here’s the deal. What I like to call the “where’s the beef” of social media (because that other list of 10 things was taken by some dude who got freaked out by a brushfire):

  1. Thou shalt not assume any random assclown shall care about thy Tweets.
  2. Thou shalt worry about the number of meaningful conversations thou is having, not the number of thy followers.
  3. Thou shalt not make life or death decisions based on thy Klout score nor any other social media “metric”.
  4. Thou shalt seek either fame and fortune or meaningful conversation. Those who seek both are destined for pain and warm rootbeer.
  5. Thou shalt blog with fresh, insightful, meaningful, funny, touching, or otherwise “fucking great” content, else thy can discontinue thy bitching about thou’s lack of readership.
  6. Thou shalt not expect thy customers, family, high school friends, or other random folk to giveth a crap about your overly repetitive marketing messages.
  7. Thou shalt not attempt to automate socialization or thou shalt be smited mightily.
  8. Thou shalt not attempt to utilize “social media” as a one-way street, bullhorn, billboard, or glorified RSS feed.
  9. Thou shalt not scrape social media sites for mine email address and then opt-me-in to thy mailing list against mine will.
  10. Thou shalt not flood every medium with the same message. Show respect and shake it up, mine dawg.

And a bonus, for those of you paying attention:

  • Thou shalt avoid YouTube commenters no matter the cost.

All sacrilege aside, before you do anything on social media, you should consider The Golden Rule. Treat others how you’d like to be treated. Work with people the way you’d like to be worked with.

Everything else is blasphemy.

(Header photo: Boy by Jacob Johan)