Two recent contacts made me think – again – about the perception of “casualness” that pervades social media. There is no question, that social media can create a casual atmosphere, and in some situations it is appropriate and even welcomed.
However, I draw a clear line between professional and casual. Is it professional to make requests through social media of people you don’t know or barely know? For example …
A Book Request
Recently I received a direct message through Twitter with a request to “tweet out” this person’s newly-released book. I don’t know the author other than to be a follower on Twitter. I don’t have the book nor have I read the book. So, I honestly can’t promote the book.
Because of the casual and informal nature of social media, there is a presumption that others will promote someone else’s stuff even if they know nothing about that stuff.
Linkedin Mass Mail
This was an email from someone who is not a direct connection on Linkedin, but apparently, we share a common group. And this person, again someone I don’t know, was asking first, for my business and secondly, if I couldn’t use his help, for referrals from my client base. Really?
Now in my post-email exchanges with this person, he said this wasn’t a mass mail and that’s fine. But, why would you send a request for help addressed generically to “Hello:”? Whether it was a mass mail or not, it certainly had the look of a mass mail.
This is NOT, however, a good networking strategy nor a good Linkedin strategy. Networking requires relationship. Referrals require relationship. Relationship doesn’t exist in this situation, only a request from anybody and everybody in this particular group who “might” be in a position to make blind referrals.
I value my clients’ confidentiality and loyalty far above helping someone I don’t know. Even if I didn’t, this is still poor social media etiquette.
These events are not isolated, just recent, and they help me to understand why CFOs and other Finance Executives are so reticent to become visible. Thank goodness there is a delete button! Trust me, it is much easier to be visible and use the delete button than it is to be invisible and not found by those looking for your talent.
What’s your biggest social media peeve?