Uninvited to the Social Media Party

There’s an interesting debate going on this morning over at FriendFeed. It appears that Robert Scoble has blocked one of his followers (I’m not going to name names, if you want to find out who it is, I invite you to seek it out yourself. Go ahead. Google to your heart’s content. I’ll wait).

You back? OK. Well it appears that some feelings have been hurt as a result of this “cyber-shunning”. Scoble is being called elitist.

Oh, come on, people.

If the biggest part of your day is hoping that some “A-list blogger” (a term, incidentally, coined by the media and fans, not the bloggers themselves) is going to give you the time of day by @replying you on Twitter or responding to your FriendFeed comment, then I’m afraid you’ve got this social media thing all wrong.

The popular bloggers (Vaynerchuk, Scoble, Brogan, Belmont, Laporte, and so on) give of themselves daily to inform, entertain and enlighten their audience. You may like them, you may not, you may be indifferent, but the fact is, they are people too and as much as their fans love to get their continuous undying attention, there are only so many hours in a day. I have personally engaged some of these folks in conversation on more than one occasion and I find them to be extremely approachable, friendly, and helpful – as long as I am respectful don’t over stay my welcome, and make a valuable contribution to the conversation, then I, in turn get to stay at the party.

Social media is about sharing, I agree. But ultimately, everyone has control over who they share their information with. I block people on Twitter and FriendFeed all the time, for various reasons. Maybe our interests aren’t compatible. Maybe they are spammers. Maybe they are offensive to me. Or perhaps I just don’t like their approach. At the end of the day, its up to me who I choose to engage with. And if I don’t engage with you – don’t take it personally.

We all have the right to shape our own social media experience. Nobody, including those with many fans and followers, is under ANY obligation to be “friends” with everyone. So Robert Scoble doesn’t want to be your friend? So be it. You can still read his blog, and comment, and participate on that level.

You don’t have to be invited to the A-list parties to have a good time in this space. In fact, you may have a better time forming your own communities, having your own conversations. Becoming your own “A-list” blogger. You may even get some fans. At the end of the day – respect others, and you will gain their respect. Be an active participant, but contribute value. The community will thank you for it.

Photo credit: Lightfoot from MorgueFile.

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4 Responses

  1. Suze,

    It’s been nice to have you as a contact / friend.

    I haven’t followed the conversation about Scoble on this. Seems like a tempest in a teapot.

  2. I think more people should be sharing their ideas and getting away from the so-called experts in social media. How can we advance the conversation – through blogging, podcasting, etc – if we don’t expand our own perspective through others’ ideas?

    And if you’re upset because someone doesn’t want to be your friend on Facebook or follow you on Twitter then I’d suggest you need to work on your own social skills.

    Josh Porter wrote a book recently called “Designing for the Social Web” in which he points out that only 20% of the world’s population is online. Just think of the untapped wealth of creativity and possibility that exists outside of the Internet!?

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  3. Hey Sue,
    I couldn’t agree with you more and wanted to build on your comment about adding value.
    Everything we do or say becomes part of our reputation, or “personal brand” as Mitch Joel says, and this was true before the web. The web simply amplifies the impact of what we say and do by millions. Adding value to conversations online is, therefore, an amazing win-win opportunity to get our brand out there and known and to help others do the same.

  4. You hit the nail on the head. Awesome post!

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