Thursday, April 15, 2010

Social Media: The Seven Deadly Sins

Beginning in the early part of the 14th century - long before Twitter was contemplated - many European artists helped ingrain the popularity of the "7 Deadly Sins" into many areas of Catholic culture. Soon, those sins spread into the general consciousness throughout the world.

In case you were wondering, or maybe they just slipped your mind, the final version of the list looks like this:

- Anger
- Greed
- Sloth
- Vanity
- Lust
- Envy
- Gluttony

Regretfully, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have become a cesspool for transgressions to manifest on-line. Which is not a knock against the platforms themselves, but more of a critical observation of the manner in which technology is being used and abused.

Consider if you will, the TSB version of the "7 Deadly Sins of Social Media":

#1. The Gluttony of Over-Posting

Don't you think communication is about quality rather than quantity? Anyone tweeting more than twenty times a day either has too much time on their hands or is far too anxious to share far too much. You want to add value to the communities you join, not push, shove or shout your way in.

#2. The Sloth of Inconsistency

Either engage consistently on a daily or weekly basis or drop out altogether. It's a marathon not a sprint. If you're plastered all over Facebook for a month and then drop out of sight for a month, your friends or followers won't know if you are comng or going. It is about being engaged and creating engagement. Too many, however, put up a profile and expect followers/friends/fans without putting in any effort.

#3. The Greed of Spamming for Dollars

If your posts, tweets or FB updates are primarily geared towards pitching your own products or services, people tune out sooner or later. Share ideas. Don't sell. Remember, social media is not about selling but rather about engaging in a conversation that adds value. One of the very best in the on-line world is Chris Brogan, who is encouraging you not to be "that guy".

As Chris once explained, "Content marketing is the ability to produce useful and entertaining information that is worthwhile on its own, but that might also be useful towards a sale or subsequent action. Why spend time, money, and creative effort making fake, glossy, slick pieces of marketing material when something honest and informative and entertaining would likely do a better job?"

#4. The Vanity of Me and Only Me

People who focus on their efforts to quit smoking, their lack of sleep, day care issues and the latest asshole to cut them off in traffic bore the hell out of most of us. Even worse, is when private family information is revealed in a continuous, drama-filled, self-absorbed way. If you are going to engage in social media ask if your posts or updates are actually interesting to someone other than your mom or your cat. Social media is about contributing. Giving and offering advice, insight and information that has value.

#5. Lusting for "Friends"

Don't be one of those who starts “friending” everyone with a pulse. Or worse, making what amounts to a marriage proposal on the first Facebook message. Seriously. Lusting after people like that only gets you labeled as desperate. Keep it in your on-line pants and connect with people you have already met.

#6. The Sour Grapes of Wrath

Is anyone ever inspired by uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger? Motivated by a stream of vile meant only to tear someone or something down? If you do feel wronged, do everything in your power to take the high road and resist publicly lashing an individual or company. If you're genuinely pissed off, compose a Word document, take an Advil, sleep on it and come back the next day to see if it's still a good idea to post it.

#7. The Envy of Others Success

Why does it matter that so-and-so has a ton of followers on Twitter, the best articles on the front of Digg or the largest group on Facebook? Forget about the head start someone else has. Resenting the success of others won't get you where you need to go. And don't try and be anyone other than yourself. As Gary Vaynerchuck mentioned recently while promoting his book "Crush It!", "If you’re passionate about what you do, a wonderful personality will shine through even the fairest of wallflowers". In other words, this doesn’t mean you need to be GaryVee or try to act like him.

From a business perspective, social media is simply another marketing tool.

No different than a pen or a pencil.

But, before you pick up a pen to write, it is a good idea to know what you are writing about or at least who you are writing to.

And just because you write something, it doesn't mean you deserve to attract a million followers or a six-figure book deal.

In the world of social media, will you live on the dark side and annoy those who cross your path?

Or, will you become a valued contributor and a force for good?

"Don't drink hateraid. Spending any amount of energy on bullshit hateraid is ludicrous and a total waste of time"


East Coast Gal said...

Definitely something to think about. Thanks Gair.

The Disgruntled said...

Love it!
Figuratively speaking, you can have 1000 friends on Facebook, but which one's coming over with the chicken soup when you need it?
Choose quality over quantity, yes?
And don't say the chicken soup sux, say its got an interesting flavour and get on with your day ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great post. Now where can I get one of those sloth bracelets . . . .

Lenny Boudreau said...

Nail, meet hammer that is hitting you right on the head!

Great resume of social media do's and dont's.