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Social Marketing Kills Social Networking

Posted 8:55 PM by

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.

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FarmVille vs. Twitter Smackdown (Farmville FTW)

Posted 6:10 PM by
FarmVille was the biggest of all emerging web technologies in 2009 partly due to the fact that the rise of FarmVille is the death of Twitter.  It is also the reason that I haven't updated my blog in 15 months.  There literally were no other emerging web technologies.  Don't question me on this.  I'm an expert and its the name of my blog.

Why exactly is FarmVille better for business than Twitter?  I'll sum it up for you... Anyone can have a twitter account and update their status easily while investing very little time or attention.  But is that really the message you want to send to your customers - that you will be investing little time or attention into THEIR NEEDS?  How dumb of you! 

FarmVille, on the other hand, requires lots of time and resources to be successful.  It mirrors real life business.  If a potential customer notices that you have a well maintained farm, they will be more likely to become your FarmVille neighbor.  Mirroring that, they will become a valuable customer in real life and probably give you lots and lots of money.  You can even send your existing customers gifts through FarmVille - something they can actually use - rather than spamming them left and right with yet another worthless retweeted self-promoting Twitter update that is more than likely putting you on their ignore list.  Besides, nothing says warm lead like finding a lost cow. 

There is an article on CNN today asking if twitter has peaked.  FTA:  "They show the site peaked with about 21.2 million visitors in July 2009 and dipped to 19.9 million in December. By contrast, during the same period Facebook grew from about 250 million users to more than 350 million."  Don't forget that Farmville by itself is now bigger than Twitter anyway.

Don't believe that Twitter is dying?  How many real friends do you have on Twitter?  As in friends who aren't self-promoting or retweeting someone else's self-promotion in the hope that that self-promotion retweet will garner them more retweeting self-promoting followers who will do nothing more than fill your feed with retweeted self-promotion?  My guess is 4.  You would only have 4 friends.  And you went to high school with them 10 years ago.  And you really don't care what their cat is up to.

My advice?  Stop tweeting.  Completely.  Don't be lazy.  Don't be crazy.  Drop the bird and buy a herd (of sheep on FarmVille).  BTW, I'm still investigating ways of integrating FarmVille into our very own Marketpath CMS... I'll keep you updated on how that goes.
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