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Social media marketing: As the Whores of Babble On take over, I’m re-enrolling at the Old Skool House

I’ve changed my mind about this. I mean, I don’t hate twitter, but I do hate what twitter has become.

See, I have this thing about advertising. I think it’s safe to say that my online reading, my television viewing and my radio listening, are driven in large part by the absence of advertising. Funny, because I love advertising and a good ad is a work of art. But here’s the thing, how often do you see a good ad?

If you follow me on twitter you know that one of my favorite television channels is TCM- Turner Classic Movies. Yeah, I like movies, and TCM is commercial free. It’s hours and hours of commercial free television, and I love that.

Pay Per Click would never work with me because I have trained myself not to look at the right column of my online viewing. The ads you put on your blogs? Couldn’t tell you what they are- I refuse to look at them- it’s just a lot of visual noise. Slam too many ads up there, and I’m no longer a reader. Am I alone?

We love social media, but we are getting it all wrong. Social media- a way to connect with a mass of people- has become a giant cesspool of vendorsluts and their ads. There is a huge difference between you and I connecting, and you and I selling and buying. If I buy a magazine off the news stand, I know I’m paying for advertising, but I’m also not trying to create a relationship with the publisher. However, if I stop by your blog, or follow you on twitter, or friend you up on facebook, I, being the nice warm person I am, really would like to get to know you better. I naively make that assumption about you as well. So when you start pimping your blog on twitter, or advertising products, that puts me on guard that you might be more interested in selling something. Is it just me who thinks like this?

Putting ads all over the place? Fine. You don’t have to defend yourself to me. Pimping your blog is certainly legal, and quite common- in every sense of the word- and I’m obviously not your target market, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, nor does it mean I have to support it.

The people who are playing in various sandboxes and kiddie pools online are ready, willing, and able to connect, but here’s what we forget- this doesn’t make them a lead. It makes them a person. A real person with a real need. Stop shoving your crap down my throat. I’m a nice person- a nice person who doesn’t like be inundated with advertising when she’s trying to connect.

Here’s what is going to happen, and I’m thinking that I would welcome this sooner rather than later: someday we are going to have to pay to have ad-free zones on the internet. If you want to sit quietly and connect with someone on a real level? Without being asked to retweet, stumbleupon, or digg something? Without being subjected to intrusive ads touting botox and email newsletter functions? You’re gonna have to pay for that luxury. But the good news is that just like buying a magazine, or watching NBC instead TCM, I will know from the start exactly what to expect from our connection. Are you functioning in the vendorslut zone? Fine. Let’s connect there on a very superficial level.

If I want to connect with 800 salespeople- I know where to go. If I want to connect with real people- you know those people who are funny and smart and passionate? Those people who really add to a conversation, who push me to be my best? I know where to find them as well.

It’s breakfast at Tiffany’s for this web 2.0 party girl. I may have social media fatigue. Lucky me, I’ve dusted off a Tiffany lamp at an old skool desk and the light it gives off is absolutely stunning.

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  • 38 comments

    38 Comments so far

    1. Missy Caulk January 29th, 2009 12:37 pm

      I know how you feel. It is noisy over there. I have met some really good people over there that are NOT Realtors or lenders. But they are involved in other things I care about.

    2. Christine Beaur-Mortezaie January 29th, 2009 1:13 pm

      Brilliant as always.
      Social media reminds me of the old car stickers “he who has the most toys wins”. It is so 1980 and so passe’. I prefer Quality to Quantity.

    3. Erion Shehaj January 29th, 2009 2:08 pm

      Noise on Twitter can be fixed easily: Unfollow each and every one that doesn’t add to the overall conversation. I’d rather truly connect with two people than scream really loud in an empty room with five hundred.

      As far as “pimping your blog on Twitter” is concerned, it doesn’t bother me so long as that’s not all someone tweets about. Actually, in most cases, I like Twitter blog updates simply because they let me know when someone posted something and if interesting enough, I can hop on and join the conversation there without waiting until I can get to the ever growing list of articles on my feed reader. With most good bloggers, I find that I learn a lot about them through reading their stuff and you indicated that as one of the primary reasons you use Twitter.

      Question: Does one qualify for a “vendorslut” position if one write post upon post strategically plugging a certain upcoming conference?

    4. Teri L January 29th, 2009 2:34 pm

      Missy-
      I’ve met some good people too. I’m finding that suddenly the noise and the social media gurus tend to drown out the real connections.

    5. Teri L January 29th, 2009 2:37 pm

      Hi Christine!

      I remember those bumper stickers- I always felt sorry for the drivers. :-)

      >I prefer Quality to Quantity.

      In most everything, me too.

    6. Teri L January 29th, 2009 2:51 pm

      Erion

      >I’d rather truly connect with two people than scream really loud in an empty room with five hundred.

      I agree. Most of what I twitter is the silly stuff, but I’ve found that I’m there to connect, not pimp. There’s been a tsunami of twitterers who think their job is to collect followers and direct traffic. Sad.

      >Question: Does one qualify for a “vendorslut” position if one write post upon post strategically plugging a certain upcoming conference?

      Very good question. Does this writer write only post after post of plugs, or do they write other posts you find valuable? Is the product or conference valuable, or is it junk? Are they continually trying to improve their product or are they cruising with a outdated product? Are they well aware that what they are selling is outdated and junk and continue to sell it otherwise?

      Not every vendor is a vendorslut by default. Not everyone who reads this should make the assumption I’m talking about them, and not everyone I was thinking of when I wrote this is in the real estate business.

      There are a lot of very good, useful products and fantastic people selling those products. But we all know there is a ton of crap out there. Expecting something for your money is no crime, as I’m sure we all agree.

    7. Erion Shehaj January 29th, 2009 3:03 pm

      Does this writer write only post after post of plugs, or do they write other posts you find valuable? Is the product or conference valuable, or is it junk?

      With the exception of true bottom feeders, I think most people view their products, services or conferences to be valuable. The true value is in the eyes of the beholder, of course. But if one is adamant about sluttifying (TM) others’ content monetizing efforts, they cannot then turn around and justify their own behind an excuse of usefulness, without swimming in hypocrisy.

      As always, it is a true pleasure discussing with you :-)

    8. Teri L January 29th, 2009 3:34 pm

      Hi Erion-

      >But if one is adamant about sluttifying (TM) others’ content monetizing efforts, they cannot then turn around and justify their own behind an excuse of usefulness, without swimming in hypocrisy.

      I am talking about bottom feeders. And I can differentiate between the efforts of bottom feeders and the efforts of brilliant products and their helpful sales force. I most certainly can, and you should too. Not all products are created equal- you know that as well as anyone else. A Yugo is not a Mercedes even though they are both cars.

      If by “content monetizing efforts” you are referring to ads?

      I’m no fan of ads on blogs. The more ads, the less likely I am to read, and the less likely I am to take your blog seriously. I may be the only person in the world who thinks this way. ::shrug:: :-)

    9. Dylan Darling January 29th, 2009 3:40 pm

      I still don’t understand the obsession of twitter. I find most of the followers to be vendors or other Realtors. I’m writing for business… yes its good to establish relationships with other agents, but I’d rather spend my day connecting buyers and sellers. There are plenty of other places for Realtors to connect with eachother.

      As for the vendors, quit calling me! Unless you have something of true value. I don’t need to be ranked in SERPs for a phrase that nobody in their right mind would search for!

    10. Erion Shehaj January 29th, 2009 4:19 pm

      Dylan

      I think you are looking in the wrong places.

      Try:

      http://twitterlocal.net

      You can narrow it down to the zipcode. You might still encounter a couple of realtors or vendors there too :-), but I assure you, you WILL find some prospects to do business with in the future.

    11. Debra Sinick January 29th, 2009 4:41 pm

      Hi Terry,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I recently signed up for some real estate groups on LinkedIN and I’m dumbfounded by all the messages from people advertising their real estate skills. I was hoping to find some interesting discussions or links to blog posts. The messages from these groups are turning into just more spam to me.

      If I’m looking for a Realtor in another area, I know I can find them without an advertisement.

    12. Barry Cunningham January 29th, 2009 4:41 pm

      Teri..got rid of “real estate twitters” 3 weeks ago. The noise is only surpassed by the inanity.

      Then I re-assessed things and began tweeting with BUSINESS people…HUGE difference.

      As for advertising on a blog you wrote the following…”Slam too many ads up there, and I’m no longer a reader. Am I alone?”

      Won’t say you’re alone…but you’re maybe in the stands watching the Detroit Lions play…we are in a marketing inundated world and although some unplug, it’s not the norm..but hey if it works for you go for it!

    13. Teri Lussier January 29th, 2009 4:42 pm

      >I find most of the followers to be vendors or other Realtors.

      Bingo.

      It wasn’t like that a year ago (yeah, I know, boo hoo) but lately the noise is deafening.

      >As for the vendors, quit calling me! Unless you have something of true value.

      There ya go- the difference between a vendor and a vendorslut. In the eye of beholder? Sure.

    14. Teri Lussier January 29th, 2009 4:49 pm

      Hi Debra-

      I think that’s true as well. The real value and potential of these tools has simply become a way to spam more people.

    15. Teri Lussier January 29th, 2009 4:56 pm

      Dylan-

      I didn’t miss your comment, my response got lost…
      Let me try again.

      >I find most of the followers to be vendors or other Realtors.

      As do I, although it wasn’t like that a year ago.

      >As for the vendors, quit calling me! Unless you have something of true value.

      That’s the difference between a vendor and a vendorslut. And yes, it’s in the eye of the beholder, but no one wants to be sold to all the time.

    16. Jeff Brown January 29th, 2009 5:11 pm

      Hey Teri — Your take on twitter is much like mine, though we differ in our responses. The vendersluts pass by me without notice, as I’d have to be two rungs higher on the ‘I care’ ladder to reach apathetic. They’re white noise.

      Much like your preference for commercial TV watching, I watch all the channels without commercials. Fast forwarding was truly a gift from a loving God. Mentally hitting FF while culling twitter messages works for me.

      You and I have connected often on twitter, much to my delight, even though at times I’ve come away mildly afraid. :)

      Twitter is what it is — a way to connect. The problem for some is what you pointed out — it’s grown in ways not embraced by some, or put another way, embraced by too many. I’m betting it will slowly but surely morph into ways to accomplish what you want, while maintaining the ability for businesses to leverage its power too.

      Make sense?

    17. Teri Lussier January 29th, 2009 5:32 pm

      Jeff-

      You always make sense. ;-)

      >The vendersluts pass by me without notice, …
      They’re white noise.

      I feel dirty after any interaction with them :-)
      My having to ignore them is a crappy way to twitter/connect with real people, and allows their behavior to go unchecked. Evil occurs in small ways, too.

      >I’m betting it will slowly but surely morph

      Me too. SMM will morph. I’m looking forward to it. As I cold call and door knock, and you and I can giggle about all the morphing.

      >at times I’ve come away mildly afraid

      :-D

    18. Teri Lussier January 29th, 2009 5:38 pm

      Barry-

      >Teri..got rid of “real estate twitters” 3 weeks ago. The noise is only surpassed by the inanity.

      HAHA! Guilty. I admit to inane twittering. Lots and lots of inane twittering.

      The business people, if they have Social Media in their bio… that’s a bit of a red flag to me, but to use one of your fave sayings “hey if it works for you go for it!”

    19. James Boyer January 29th, 2009 5:41 pm

      I like my blog, to be clean and full of my stuff only. I don’t want adds on it at all. I do the same thing with my outside blog as well, http://www.nj-realestate-agent.com Nice clean blog without adds, just good information.

    20. Geno Petro January 29th, 2009 5:59 pm

      Teri,

      Just curious…hasn’t Twitter been described as a Mini-Blog? Honestly, the only purposeful use I see for it is to link to my Blog Posts.

      “Geno’s eating ice cream…Mmmm” seems to serve much less of a social purpose than letting my Facebook peeps know I just posted something.

      Of course, I only follow two people and I’m not even sure how that happened so…..never mind.

    21. Elaine Reese January 29th, 2009 8:23 pm

      Thank goodness I’m not alone! Some blogs have more ads than content. Like you, I’m very good at totally ignoring them.

      I un-joined an AR group on LinkedIn when agents started adding their AR posts there. About to do the same with Plaxo. I haven’t joined Twitter yet because it seems to be the same old stuff from Realtors. Just not interested in sharing that I just got up and fixed a cup of coffee, taking a shower, working on a BPO, yada-yada.

      Thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one to be turned off by this craziness.

    22. Teri Lussier January 30th, 2009 4:40 am

      James-

      I find ads intrusive and distract from the message, too. Perhaps we are in the minority? I can live with that.

      I understand that it’s a personal choice, and everyone is entitled to do what they think is in the best interest of whatever best interest they want to serve. I’d simply prefer to be upfront about it, you know? Spam me? That’s fine, but I get to be proactive about responding.

    23. Teri Lussier January 30th, 2009 4:42 am

      Hey G-

      >Of course, I only follow two people and I’m not even sure how that happened so…..never mind.

      You are brilliant beyond belief. :-D

    24. Teri Lussier January 30th, 2009 4:53 am

      Hi Elaine!

      Keeping out of the snow banks?

      >Just not interested in sharing that I just got up and fixed a cup of coffee, taking a shower, working on a BPO, yada-yada.

      I don’t mind sharing minutia- I think it’s often the small things that bond people. We both have dogs! We both like orange juice! We both hate ads! People long to connect, but my beef is that connecting is not promotion and SMM is now reaching a point of promotion overload.

      >Thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one to be turned off by this craziness.

      It’s that Ohio pragmatism. Every now and then it comes in handy. ;-)

    25. Faina Sechzer, Princeton NJ January 30th, 2009 5:36 am

      There are some people successful in “commercializing” Twitter. Comcast, Zapos shoes,etc. -they are successful because they offer something of value. Comcast guy, for example, helped me straighten the situation with my account, that 10 calls to the company couldn’t accomplish. If it wasn’t for Twitter I would have never had access to him.
      Everyone else is trying to duplicate that. Check out any blog and you will find advice on how to sell this and that on Twitter.
      The problem – I don’t want to be sold to.I either want valuable info or connect with people (on a human level) I otherwise won’t be able to meet.
      What I found using Twitterlocal is that many people are still apprehensive about establishing this contact. They see “real estate agent” in the bio and they run:) Again, unless I offer them something of value or find some other common ground, there would be no connection- Twitter or not.

    26. Rhonda Porter January 30th, 2009 7:17 am

      Twitter is what you make it. I block people immediately if they’re “vendor-sluts” and I’ll unfollow someone if their tweets are not interesting and/or are all self-promoting.

      I’ve met a lot of great folks on Twitter and it’s been a successful tool for my business. I’m sure a few foloks have unfollowed me (tired of rate updates or no longer in need) and that’s fine too.

    27. Sean Purcell January 30th, 2009 1:59 pm

      Faina said: They see “real estate agent” in the bio and they run:)

      This is a bit off-topic (sorry Teri) but I find it a truly interesting comment on a problem faced not only in real estate but many other small businesses too.

      “Normal people” – by which I mean non-real estate involved (you may also know them by the terms: “sane,” “employed” and the ever popular “people who spend time with their family”) – have a very definite image that comes up when they see or hear “real estate agent.” Our main role in marketing is to position ourselves in a different light. Stop the movie people automatically begin to play when they hear “real estate agent” and throw a new one on. This feels like a post…

    28. Doug Quance January 30th, 2009 3:05 pm

      Thank God half of the folks I follow on Twitter have nothing to do with real estate. :lol:

      Twitter is a pleasant diversion for me – nothing more. I may tweet about a recent blog post… or respond to someone else – but it’s still diversion. One of these days, I’ll figure out the whole Twitter/FriendFeed/LinkedIn/FaceBook/MySpace thing. :)

      I hear ya about ads on blogs. I have one ad on my blog – for the company that hosts my site. They do good by me… and if someone clicks through and signs up – that will offset my hosting cost.

    29. Teri Lussier January 30th, 2009 5:36 pm

      Faina-

      >The problem – I don’t want to be sold to.I either want valuable info or connect with people (on a human level) I otherwise won’t be able to meet.

      This is exactly where I am at with twitter. I’m so tired of the selling. Yes, my first few twitter posts were about that idea- I regret it.

      Now I want value, or connection, that’s all.

    30. Teri Lussier January 30th, 2009 5:40 pm

      Hi Rhonda-

      >Twitter is what you make it.

      I suppose you are right. I may have to get tougher about not following or dumping dead weight from my twitter stream… Perhaps I’m too polite. :-)

    31. Teri Lussier January 30th, 2009 5:43 pm

      Sean-

      Can’t wait for the post.

      Doug-

      >Thank God half of the folks I follow on Twitter have nothing to do with real estate.

      How’d you manage that? ;-)

    32. Rhonda Porter January 30th, 2009 9:20 pm

      Teri, you probably are too polite… I don’t know… personally, I’d rather error on being too polite. :)

      My point is that if you don’t want to Twitter, if you don’t see value in it…then don’t.

      I enjoy it. It works for me. And I’m not a social whore.

    33. Brad Coy January 31st, 2009 1:11 am

      I don’t do ads, nor do I pimp much of anything.

      :D

    34. Teri Lussier January 31st, 2009 2:38 am

      Rhonda-

      I believe twitter has value, I also believe it’s been devalued.

      >I enjoy it. It works for me. And I’m not a social whore.

      I’ve no doubt of any of it. :-)

    35. Teri Lussier January 31st, 2009 2:41 am

      Brad!

      That too. :-D

    36. Kevin Schmidtchen February 2nd, 2009 5:59 am

      Funny and true at the same time. I wonder sometimes how many people have lives outside of all the social media outlets (maybe they do not).

      For many people this is simply becoming their lives (social media) it seems to me and have forgotten that for many of us it is a means to an end…at least I think that is what it should be.

      Yes I know…much of it can be fun, but whatever happened to simply using social media as a tool to provide for your offline business (most of us have this, real face to face work) and then spend your time with friends (face to face), family, walks on the beach, pure downtime etc. Just a quick thought after reading.

    37. Teri Lussier February 2nd, 2009 12:14 pm

      >For many people this is simply becoming their lives (social media)

      That’s it!

      And here’s a very funny take on the social media phenomenon- http://www.fanboy.com/2009/01/social-media-experts-rant.html

    38. Jose Lopez February 2nd, 2009 9:04 pm

      You sound like me. I am getting a little bit over all this social media stuff. How are you supposed to make a living and at the same time spend 4 hours a day being a twit? Got me…

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