If you’ve followed along for a few years you know I’m not a big fan of auto-tweeting and scheduling tweets weeks in advance. And when those tweets are just duplicates broadcasted repeatedly over weeks and weeks, well… In my opinion that’s no longer social media, that’s called broadcast media and more traditional advertising. I guess it’s okay, but it looks a lot like spam to me.
So I speak up. And when I speak up, I take on two of the authorities in social media, marketing, and trust. In my book there
is was no greater Trust Agent than Chris Brogan. He even claims to be a “leading authority.”
Except all is not right with Chris Brogan’s “authority.” Something has happened along the way to his bestselling status, that I might refer to as “selling out.” Mr. Brogan has abandoned most of the social principles he espoused in his own book Trust Agents, where he explained how being trustworthy and being salesy were not the same thing. Okay, so how does broadcast tweeting to 250k+ followers 20 times in a week about a 15%-off shoe coupon not look like spam?
And so I tussled with Mr. Brogan and one of his mentors, Guy Kawasaki. Another expert and authority in how to drive engagement and trust through honest and good behavior online. Of course, Mr. Kawasaki jumped the #socialspam track years ago when he hired several people to ghost tweet for him. Most of what goes out on Guy’s 1.5m+ twitter account today resembles buzzfeed click bait more than anything resembling Mr. Kawasaki’s previous title as evangelist extraordinaire.
I mentioned Chris Brogan the other day to a friend in the PR business and she said, “Yeah, Chris won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000.” Okay, so he’s gone big time. But why the spam? Does spamming Twitter make Mr. Brogan and Mr. Kawasaki money? It must, or they wouldn’t keep doing it.
The defense is often about reach and how followers in other time zones might miss their valuable information. (Um, yeah, valuable to Mr. Brogan and his paying customers, the shoe company.) Mr. Kawasaki likes to say, “If I tweet something 4 times, I’m going to get 4-times the response.” Um, yeah, that math seems accurate. But it doesn’t excuse the robo-tweeting that both these guys use as a means to an end.
If you want to see the effect this type of activity has on the social landscape, imagine for a minute if Mr. K and Mr. B did the same repetitive spamming on all of their social channels. My question to them, “If it’s okay on Twitter, then why not on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest?” If they are going to blast the same message over and over like coupon hawkers or MLM cascades, why not do it on all channels.?
Do you know the ONLY reason they are not unleashing their brand of spam on the other social channels? Simple. It is harder so see the BS of their content on Twitter, due to the nature of the stream. But if you opened up Mr. K’s G+ page and saw his 50 posts for the day, and 80% of them were repeats… Well, it’d be really easy to call them on that bullshit. But on Twitter it’s harder to see their actions in the same hot spotlight.
I’ll have to say that since I first went mental on them, Mr. Brogan has cleaned up his act significantly. He still robo-tweets and he still promotes his book and his newsletter over and over, but his coupon-nature seems to have run its course. But it’s the ending of the conversation that we had, where Mr. Brogan asked me what I was looking to get out of this conversation I was having with him on Twitter.
“A conversation. Mission accomplished.” And he responded like this:
And then, Mr. Brogan did the wimp move, he blocked me on Twitter. (probably reported me at the same time) Well, that’s not very trustworthy. Even though his tweet above (the last thing he ever tweeted to me — boo hoo) seemed conversational, as if we’d at least had an understanding. I guess that’s not the case.
When someone Blocks you it takes them out of your lists. And while you can still follow them by doing a Tweetdeck column searching their user name, it’s a weenie move. He wanted to silence my end of the conversation, and prevent me from seeing his tweets.
Well done, former trust agent. You’ve removed yourself from my focus column in Tweetdeck. Aptly named my Trust-Network.
And of course, now, Mr. Brogan is no longer a part of that network. I wish he was. I wish he hadn’t started robo-tweeting. And I mostly wish he hadn’t blocked me from following him. Because that killed any future conversation between us. I’m sure he would rather not ever answer my real question. “Why Chris, Why?”
And for the favor I’ve blocked you back, but mine is more out of sadness. We’ve lost you as an honored and honest leader. And just as you’ve killed the comments on your blog, you’ve gotten too big to stay in the conversation with us little people. Guy, I expected him to block me, but you, after all we’ve been through… Oh well, I still get his newsletter. (as of this writing)
I’ll close with my final Tweet to Mr. Brogan, quoting his own book back to him.
To be fair, I could care less about what these two former rockstars are tweeting about now. They’ve become clowns and shills of their former selves. I’m sure there’s hope for Mr. Brogan, and I have faith that some day we will meet in the Twitterverse of reality and laugh at our little spat. I just wish he hadn’t blocked me. That really felt like he dropped into a whole new category of low. But perhaps I am over-reacting.
Peace and blessings on both of these guys. Really!
The Entire Sordid Story
- Why Is Your Tweet on Repeat? No Reply Necessary.
And to take it to one more extreme, to illuminate the fallacy of these two gentlemen’s delusion, let’s imagine that they unleash the full-robo on all of their social channels. If we begin telling marketers and individuals that blasting 5 or 10 identical posts and tweets and updates to ALL of their social channels is okay, we’re going to see a dramatic drop in the value of social media for all of us. So why stop at Twitter Guy and Chris? What’s holding you back?
- Twitter Is the Heartbeat of Social MediaThere are plenty of egregious practices being used in social media. But when the leaders and journalists behave badly, it’s as if they are showing us the way. Do Guy and Chris believe we should all queue up robo-tweets weeks in advance?
- The Shame of the Spammy Tweeter If you agree, start asking these guys, “Why all the robo-tweets, Chris?” Or “Hey Guy, I used to like your content but now your team of tweeters is just sending out random crap hour after hour. Why are you doing that?”
- Starting The Spam Social War: A Noble Argument or A Cowardly Attack And if you meet Mr. K or Mr. B in person or on Twitter, ask them about their use of auto-tweeting technologies. Say it was an honest question and you want an honest answer.
- Defending the Indefensible: Do You Spam? Do You Auto-Bot? 90% of what they tweet is bullshit, repeated by auto-tweeting software, to achieve some empty financial gain. Thanks for dropping the ball and giving rise to the permission-based spammer. Yeah, yeah, I know I can always unfollow you.
- Social Spam: Why Your Social Media Strategy is BS But if you’re going to broadcast duplicate messages all night and all day, you are doing it wrong. You are killing the trust we’ve begun to earn for social media and tools like Twitter and Facebook. Just stop the BS and stop spamming social.
- Master Tweeters Have Become Auto-Bots: @chrisbrogan and @guykawasaki Please Stop! I respect both these men. I merely hope and pray we can return them and their Twitter output to the human race before we’re all overrun by zombie tweeters.
Tell them or me what you think (my comments are always on):
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
- The Macintosh Way – Guy Kawasaki
- Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust – Chris Brogan
- The Twitter Way – Book One / LIFE: Twitter As A Way of Enlightenment – John Oakley McElhenney
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