Here it is. The core of the art of war. If you fight fight honestly and with references. Only through noble battle can the weak and wicked be pushed back from the gates. A lesser man might resort to sniping or jabbing with angry taunts. A troll makes a habit of poking ceaselessly at the bears, but the troll only wants to further his voice and not enter into actual combat.
Marketing is war. And there is no easy way to win. So many people and corporate entities (they are not people, btw) have resorted to unholy war. Spam is not a noble cause. There is no defense for this type of behavior. Not when the medium was email, and now if it’s Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, there is no just cause for blasting sales messages repeatedly, using scheduling tools and auto-generated repetition. There is no justification for this most unsavory marketing tactic And when our leaders are beginning to use such egregious strategies in their normal course of business, it’s up to us, the just and honest, to stand and fight. Or so is my premise.
Sure, social media is about the masses. And social media is for all of us, and largely unregulated. Does this mean it’s a free-for-all? Sure. Does it mean all of us should start following the examples of leaders like Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki? If we all did it, if every single one of there followers decided to follow their lead, we’d quickly bury all useful information from Twitter into cascade of crap.
Go look for yourself. I’ll wait. Here is Guy Kawasaki’s tweetstream, and Chris Brogan’s tweetstream. I don’t even need to look today, to confirm what I already know. But you tell me. What’s the percentage of useful information coming from Mr. K and Mr. B? Sure there is some. In the case of Mr. B, I’d guess he generates about 50% original content to interleave his spam into. He does a better job, but his auto-bot repeating blasts about sneaker discount coupons and the “buy this book” tweets are as regular and frequent as the chiming of the hourly bell on my Mac.
Why do they do it?
There is no other explanation. If you queue up 200 15% off discount shoe coupons. But I had to go back a whole day to find this one. Perhaps his ReTweet contract has run out. Or maybe he just ran out of auto-bot retweets on that particularly helpful, honest shil post. It would be nice to imagine that he’s ended the “blast coupons to 200,000+ twitter followers of Chris Brogan for $29.95” practice. I guess we’ll see.
And even the good ones, the tweets that seem so spontaneous and original, well, if you like them, you might as well schedule few auto-retweets.
It’s a great tweet. But no need to regurgitate it to all of us over and over. Here’s another favorite, less creative, but obviously effective or he wouldn’t repeat, repeat, repeat it.
Okay, fine, I’ve called out the lions of Mr. B and Mr. K and their responses could not have been more different.
Guy was late to the tweetfest, but his response was direct and to the point.
But Guy and I have been through this war before. We argued it out years ago when he used an army of people to tweet on his behalf. And he started having his ghost tweeters mark their tweets with their initials. (DD) for example. And at that time he also started a second Twitter account for the faithful who were complaining about the random spam. And thus began @onlyguy (a twitter feed of Guy’s hand-generated and original tweets) It was a nice moment. But it didnt’ last. And when I asked Mr. K about this old concept here’s how he responded.
And his final close was also a humorous jab. The REAL Guy Kawasaki is funny, thoughtful, and true. I don’t have any idea what he’s tweeting about these days, and he doesn’t care too much about what I care about . No worries. Namasté Mr. K.
Mr. Brogan on the other hand took things a bit more seriously. And at first we were having a dialogue (argument if you want to call it that, but every exchange on Twitter could look like an argument if you don’t know what to listen for.).
Here’s his side of the story.
I think you can fill in my side. If not, here’s the post that fired off the first declaration of war.
The ultimate cowardly move, my Mr. Brogan was very unexpected. Especially considering his jovial attitude and seeming salute to my post. Okay, so he was being sarcastic. Those smiley faces are *so hard* to decipher sometimes. His next action was completely unexpected. I’m saddened by his misguided and fruitless mute, well more than a mute, he went for the full-on BLOCK.
So Mr. Brogan says no problem, you don’t want to unfollow me, I’ll prevent you from following me.
Why? Because my attempts at a discussion about his spammy twitter practices was really a trolling effort to disrupt him, or gain some notoriety for myself? Um, no. Why did Chris Brogan finally block me, even after the war was finished? Because I’m an asshole? Perhaps. But if I were projecting myself into his mind, I’d guess he was done having to defend his shoe coupons and “buy this book” tweets that were going to continue, unedited, un-humanised, week after week.
I cannot make these two guys stop using auto-scheduled tweets to blast the twittersphere with their financially motivated pabulum. I can’t even ask you not to schedule tweets, and not become an auto-bot. I will. Please do not schedule any tweets, ever. There is no excuse for it. I know you CAN, but if I want to have a dialogue with you, and you are not there… Well, that’s not social media at the speed of twitter, that’s broadcast advertising. That’s exactly what we are fighting to stop.
Spam Social is Bad Social. It’s bad for all of us. And even if Mr. Brogan and Mr. Kawasaki enlighten their millions of followers and empower them and justify them in picking up the auto-bot call to action, we can and must rebel against this evil empire of spam.
The Spam Social War is a holy war. (That sounds pretty dramatic, huh?)
Today I am declaring a Jihad on spam twitter and spam social. #dontbeabot #nospam #noautobot
It’s a blip that will be unheard, a rally cry that will go unnoticed. I’m used to that. And as I scramble for each follower by the handful, I hope to at least preach the motto of the rebel alliance.
1. Be Real.
2. Be Real-time.
3. Be honest.
That’s all you need to know. And if you meet Mr. K or Mr. B in person or on Twitter, ask them about their use of auto-tweeting technologies. Tell them the uber-tweeter sent you. Better yet, say it was an honest question and you want an honest answer.
I’ll leave you with my last tweet to Mr. Brogan, before he blocked me.
Peace sad warriors, I had more respect for you before this day ended.
- The Macintosh Way – Guy Kawasaki
- Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust – Chris Brogan