I recently learned an incredibly valuable lesson at the expense of having my Twitter account suspended for 10 days. Don’t believe everything you read from social media experts!
As anyone who has read my blog knows, I am a social media manager who works primarily for authors and musicians. I love music, books, movies, theatre, art, poetry, photography and have an appreciation for almost every form of creativity. I also love dogs, Ireland, all things Celtic, travel, medieval history, nature, swimming, sailing, Guinness, cheese and ice cream which in part contributes to my constant struggle with my weight…
However, as a social media manager, I try to keep up with some reputable social media expert bloggers and Tweeters so that I may learn things that I don’t already know. Working in this field involves a constant learning curve and the development of my own expertise is a fluid work in progress.
Ten days ago, I read a blog about the Top 5 Most Indispensable Twitter Tools for Marketers by the Social Media Examiner (who is an excellent blogger and source of information) and learned about Blast Follow. I proceeded to open an account with Blast Follow and use approximately five different keywords to find people to follow who share my interests. I subsequently had my Twitter account suspended within one hour!
“BlastFollow is a Twitter utility that enables Twitter users to follow other Twitter users who share their interests en masse. This is accomplished by searching for users who have tweeted with a particular hashtag recently.”
BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT USING THIS UTILITY!!! I found that while I ended up following hundreds of new people immediately, and also gained about 150 followers as well, that many of the people I ended up following were not in fact people who tweet about subjects that I’m interested in, and in fact, many of them were very annoying bots or people who don’t speak or write in the same language that I do.
This morning when I discovered that my account had been reinstated after I had done some serious virtual groveling to the Gods of Twitter, I was re-sent email that I’d already received and dealt with months ago, and not only that, but I spent hours deleting people I was now following that I have no interest in following. The whole experience turned out to be a giant waste of time!
Twitter, like most social media networks, works best when you actually take the time to get to know the people you are following or at least pay attention to their tweets once in a while. After all, it’s not called “social” networking for nothing. People want to get to know YOU and what you’re interested in and they don’t want to receive a bot-produced DM (direct message) thanking you for following them either. I know it saves time, but it’s not at all personal or social and I for one am not interested in following people’s pre-meditated broadcasts that have been set up hours or days in advance. That might make me a foolish business person, but I truly believe that it defeats the purpose of social networking. I think that gathering friends the old-fashioned way, by selecting them because of their common interests, is much more beneficial in the long run. If you’re only involved in social media because of the money you think you can make and not because of the people, then where is your integrity? Most people who make a living using social media are not making $10,000 a month working part-time!
Using social media successfully takes time. I know that it’s not possible to get to know thousands of people that we’re connected to through social networking on a personal basis, but making even the smallest effort and communicating with them once in a while is better than nothing. They will remember you, and if they don’t, they can find out easily enough because they’ve probably decided to keep you as a friend/connection because they actually heard from you. More friends, followers, connections does not necessarily mean better! If you simply collect followers to increase the numbers for the sake of appearance, it will ultimately backfire on you and people will delete you when they realize that six months to a year has gone by and they’ve never received so much as a “Hi!” from you even once.
Finally, it is very important for all social media bloggers to let people know what applications are banned by Twitter (and Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and will result in the suspension or complete deletion of your account. If that happens, you’ve just wasted an enormous amount of time and you’ll end up screaming and pulling your hair out! I was naive and didn’t realize that what I was doing was breaching Twitter’s policies, but I certainly know now that I will carefully check out other suggestions that I read about before I act upon them.