Remember how excited you were back in the early 90s when you sent your first email? And then how sophisticated you felt when it was a daily thing with friends and family? Fast forward to today. Your inbox is so full of junk that you actually catalog it. You have special folders for all the junk to be filtered to, and you still see it constantly. There is no avoiding it. Email is no longer fun. Email annoys you. You've even gone so far to completely avoid email until someone actually tells you face to face that they emailed you.
Now think about social networking and how you got that same buzz when you first created your Facebook account a few years ago. It was fun at first to see how much weight people from high school had gained and how bald they are now. You were able to reconnect with some lost friends while still ignoring the ones you always did before. Your news feed was filled with relevant news about cats and breakfasts. Ah...Facebook was just right... but that all has changed.
You probably have already realized that all hope for Twitter has been lost to the demons of social marketing. Every formerly relevant hashtag promotes some product you're not interested in, so you (and I) have stopped using it. Facebook is now flooded with spammers also, but something can be done. More on that later. For example, I get a lot of fake friend requests. Usually it's from a young "girl" with no info, nothing on "her" wall, and only 1 photo. After you become friends with them, the social virus takes hold. You will get viagra offers. Often. These kinds of spammers are easy enough to spot and avoid, though. I received this one today from Helene Heber. "She" went from 6 friends to 107 friends over the course of a few hours. Suckers.
The other spammer is a legitimate person who friend-pads and preaches about social marketing. His/her days are spent social networking ABOUT social marketing. You know who I'm talking about. People who have nearly 4000 Facebook friends, 5 real-life friends, and want you to become a fan of EVERYTHING. The most disturbing trend is that companies are PAYING these people to become a fan of their product and then push it on their so-called "friends". Advertising is fine. Pay Facebook for it and let them run it on the right-side column where advertising should go. Don't let spammers put it in my f'n news feed. When I see companies there, I can no longer in good conscious buy from them... just like I don't buy my pharmaceuticals from a junk email.
We can't do anything about it though, right? Wrong. We can. At least on Facebook... (again, Twitter died a horrible death). You could always unfriend any of these spammers immediately and return your news feed to sanity. But Facebook itself could do something about the problem, because unlike email spam, Facebook spam can be fixed if they are so willing. Here's how. If someone suggests I become a fan of something too often, I should be able to report them as a spammer... Or, if they suggest I become a fan of some dog grooming service in New York City, and I live in Indianapolis, I should be able to report them as a spammer. As more people report, their "spammer score" will increase, and they will slowly disappear from otherwise relevant news feeds around the world. Maybe there could be a slider bar in my Facebook settings to adjust how much spam I want to see (none, please). The nice thing about the "social" aspect of social networking is that the group can weigh in and figure things out on their own.
The whole concept of social marketing is bogus. If you're going to pay to advertise, please do it responsibly and without tricks. Don't pay someone to spam for you. You're only hurting your brand.