My Top 5 Social Media Pet Peeves

First let me clarify before I start my rant that I think social media is great. I love how it is changing the landscape of business, by putting the focus on the consumer and giving the consumer a larger voice. Heck I am President of Social Media Club Seattle I like it so much. But there is a problem. People are taking it way too seriously. So much so that it has almost become a religion to some. That’s why I’ve decided to take a look at the lighter side. With that in mind here are my top 5 social media pet peeves.

1. Social Media Expert Avoidance

Thinking that there are no social media experts is just downright delusional. Yet, I hear it all the time that no one can be a social media expert. They say social media is changing too fast, there is no way to be an expert in something based on consumer behavior, and the list goes on.

But the truth is, in the social media biz, you are an expert if you have a proven track record of repeatedly achieving great results using social media as a communication channel for several different business types. In fact, according to the dictionary an expert is “a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field.” And while I’m not there yet, a lot of people in the industry have the track record to call themselves experts…. that said, I don’t recommending calling yourself an expert unless you want my #2 pet peeve to be all over your ass. Feel free to call others experts however, if nothing else it’s fun to watch them squirm when you do.

2. The Social Media Police

You’ve know them and might even be one. These are the people who monitor all social channels for improper use of social media according to the Cluetrain Manifesto’s rules of social media love and hugs. These are the people who yell anytime a company tries to sell something online. Or the people that freak out that you didn’t consult them first before you made a decision to post something online. Even better yet these are the people that freak out that you haven’t updated your status in a few days and don’t know by memory every tweet they’ve made in the past two weeks.

People should use social media however they want to. If they want to push sales messages out, or talk 100% about their cat named Marshmallow, they should be allowed to without you threatening to take them to social media jail (ie MySpace). The great thing about social media, if you don’t want to listen to someone you don’t have to! Unfollow, un-like, or just mark them as spam, I really don’t care – just stop complaining. (Crap!, I think I just became internal affairs for the social media police.)

3. The Fear of Outsourced Social Media

All the time I hear people say that outsourced social media is horrible and just doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not ideal, and you lose out on a lot of the benefits social media by outsourcing it, but most of the time it’s better then nothing. Look, a lot of companies have a third party run their Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. They write content, reply to your random questions, and even God forbid, pretend like they work for the company they are writing for. And as much as you may disagree with it I know of many situations where this works. Actually I know of a few cases where people have said ‘such and such” company does a great job with their Twitter account, and I know first had that the account is being handled by a social media engagement company. (I’d mention names here, but am scared the social media police might attack) Get over it people. If a good social media company has been given the power to do engagement for a company, please don’t ban them to the nether regions of the social media universe. Help businesses use this new tool to slowly grow their social media presence and change their vision from outside in.

4. Devotion

I understand people like to put a number on the value of things. Klout helps convince people you are important, and it helps show the boss that the social media program is working. With all of this considered however, do we really need another number? First it was the number of followers, now it is this? Truthfully Klout is the closest we get to an actual ranking of influence, but do we need to focus on this? (Social media police can you help me out?) Go look at the Klout numbers of some of your friends, and you will see how dramatically they go up and down. Plus with just a little work they can be more easily gamed than Google with SEO.

Let’s look at the metrics behind Klout, such as RT’s, active audience, etc. and focus less on the actual number. (I’ll expand upon this later with a separate blog post.)

5. Social Media Celebrity Fascination

Truthfully I am tired of the social media celebrity fascination. Come to grips people. We all love @ChrisBrogan, and respect his Klout score of 85 and his 155k+ followers on Twitter, but ask your neighbor if they know him, and I am pretty sure you will get a “who?” in return. Stop freaking out that so and so replied to you, or that they RT’d a blog post, and just do what you think is right. These social media celebrities are great people 98% (stay far away from the other 2%) of the time, but if you think about it they are less famous than your local TV news anchor. And much like when your local TV anchor goes to another city, no one knows these social media celebrity outside the social media echo chamber.

Sure this post is full of contradictions and irregularities, but who said pet peeves need to be rational?  Plus I don't have time to explain it more, I now need to go check my Klout and try to get this post RT'd by some social media celebrities.

(Special thanks must go out to @JasonFalls for getting this rant started when he visited the great city of Seattle and we shared some @MakersMark )

(Just realized that I didn't follow blog post 101 and ask for your thoughts after this post. Thanks @shih_wei for the reminder. What are your top 5 social media pet peeves?)