Kyle Stoneman of OwlBee.com put it best when he said, "We used to live in a world where the producers of content determined the channels of distribution. We now live in a world where the consumers of content determine the channels of distribution."
I found this observation extremely profound. As an online organizer and content producer, Kyle's observation guides my strategy. As a result, I focus much attention on respecting the wishes of my audience.
Some people prefer to be contacted via email. Others prefer Facebook. Still others prefer Twitter. Some still prefer phone, others postal mail. The bottom line is if we do not distribute our communications via all of these channels, at best we will miss audiences we want to reach. At worst, we will disrespect our audience, perhaps turning them against us. And in a world where your audience may be better at using these communication tools than you are, that is a bad thing.
So it always irks me when I see people violating this basic principle.
Perhaps the two most common examples of people violating this principle happens on Twitter, taking on the following forms:
- Sending an auto-reply to a new follower without following them back - Why is this bad? It denies reciprocal communication. If someone sends me a private message and does not allow me to respond in kind, that is very bad form. It is especially disrespectful because many people get DMs on Twitter via SMS, and many of those people do NOT have unlimited text messaging, so auto-DMs eat up finite messages. Very rude.
- Auto-replying to a Twitter follower saying, "Let's talk on Facebook." - No... I followed you on Twitter because I like to talk on Twitter. If you want to talk on Facebook, rather than Twitter, put that in your Twitter bio. I won't follow you. And I might LIKE you on Facebook, if I like to use Facebook. But don't send me a DM AFTER I follow you. THat's a bait and switch. Very rude.
If you are on Twitter, commit to it. If you are going to DM someone, respect them enough to follow them back so they can respond privately.
These are simple concepts based on respect for your audience. If you don't respect your audience, you aren't being social. In that case, stop using social media.
This pet-peeve is brought to you by my preferences. They are mine, if you want to communicate with me, respect them.