Social Media Feeding Frenzy

When social media people talk about social media they often enthuse about the openness, the sharing, the collaboration, even between individuals and companies that are actually competing with each other.  Heck, we do it ourselves at Porter Novelli, check out PNeo and Clicking and Screaming and you’ll see lots of rather useful how-to guides that we could easily keep to ourselves, but we don’t we share because we’re A) rather lovely ppl, B) want to contribute to the community and C) Know that by crowdsourcing for feedback we get will help make our services better in the long run.

I remember someone telling me about the behaviour of bloggers at a Sun press conference a few years ago and how they were stuck about how much they helped each other out, unlike the journalists who were out for an exclusive hook or angle. Basically you can’t deny that social media land and its inhabitants generally has a very warm and fuzzy feel to it. That is until of course someone is deemed to have broken the unspoken and, as far as I can see, rules of promotion etiquette, then much like Gremlins fed after midnight, the cute fluffy exterior drops and the fangs come out.

This time the cause of the rage was a press release issued by Matt Bacak in which he claimed to know the secrets of becoming a Twitter Elite. The content of the release was pretty much based on results from Twitter Grader, which places Bacak in the Twitter Elite for Atlanta, GA, and he used it as proof to call himself a powerful promoter.

There’s no doubt the press release is misleading, the headline states that Bacak has launched himself to the top of Twitter, neglecting to point out that it is just for Atlanta, GA. It also states that he ranks in the top 500 of 506,626 Twitterers worldwide, leaving out the vital caveat of ‘who have used Twitter Grader’.

A hashtag was immediately born, mentions spiked and the release has been dug on Digg about 400 times, under the title ‘The.Biggest.Douche.Bag.In.Social.Media.’ There have been quite a few blog posts abut how he might be a scammer, and has completely Fubar’d his own reputation and lots of discussion on what he did wrong, which generally seems to be he may have over 2,000 followers but he only follows 32. This means he can’t be ‘getting it’, he must be a spammer or gaming the system as he’s certainly not conversing. This is despite recent discussion on how the individual uses twitter is up to the individual.

I can understand why ppl are upset at how he may, or may not, be intending to use the information from Grader to persuade those less knowledgeable about social media that he is a Twitter god.  The problem is we have no idea what the intent was, he might have wanted such an adverse reaction to prove that being controversial will create conversation on a topic no-one had previously heard of, or he could just want to point to graphs showing how mentions of his name have spiked due to the press release.  If it is either of those then all the righteous self-indignation of the past few days have helped his cause and nothing else.  The top ten google results for Matt Bacak are his own content and clearly about him being brilliant.

Actually it’s hard to see what has been achieved by all the conversation.  Those most likely to fall for the ‘I can make you rich’ sales pitch from Bacak are unlikely to ever see any of this, and he doesn’t seem to care, having ignored tweets from ppl on this topic.  So a lot of spleens vented for nothing.

Perhaps in future, ppl should consider a little more what their moral outrage will actually achieve and if they decide that it is nothing, then they will channel it in to something a bit more worthwhile.

0 thoughts on “Social Media Feeding Frenzy

  1. I agree with you on most points if we are just talking about Matt Bacak, but in reality he was just the one that served as an example of what we expect in Social Media. Yes, he may have used the system to gain more followers and business. I suppose anything is possible.

    In truth though, I believe we have accomplished a case study on what not to do and had a lot of people take a stand for it and explain. We wanted traditional marketers to know where the bar was set and that we have expectations of conversation.

    In the end I think we learned a lot about helping people and not just criticizing, and Matt learned that there are consequences for the improper use of social media. For the record; Matt admitted he was wrong, is now conversing to followers in his social media platforms and has increased the number of people he follows back considerably.

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