Category Archives: internet

I Hate The Way That You Twitter

STEFF NOTE: I think we all do some of the following to some extent. It’s stuff we can all cut back on, but doing any of these points to excess is irritating to many folk, like me.

I thought the timing was right for me to have my say about All Things Twitter.

In the interest as someone who’s NOT trying to sell you social media systems, who doesn’t want to fix your blog, who doesn’t give a shit about your search engine optimizing, and who’s on Twitter solely for the reason it was invented — to microblog and interact — I’ve got some ranting to get off my chest here.

Now, if you’re new to Twitter, you might foolishly think there are rules. And if you’re some old guard on Twitter, you might foolishly think there are rules. Yer wrong. There are no rules on Twitter. And that’s why it’s fucking awesome, but you can still do it badly.

I know, anything I write here really doesn’t matter, because this is all about how I like my Twitter. But that’s cool. And I should warn you, I actually *am* PMSing and have chosen to embrace it. You’ve been warned.

1) Starfuckery.

I’ll reply to celebrities occasionally because they’re “part of the conversation” once you get past the “famous” bit, but I don’t do it on a daily basis and I don’t actually delude myself into thinking they’re likely to read it or respond. I’m generally aware I’m throwing 140 characters in the wind and maybe 12 people will read it.

But to indulge in this often? What are you, in grade 10? Come on. Talk to real people. They may actually reply. People who engage in chronic starfuckery are people I’m assuming are trying desperately to raise their Klout scores, and you don’t want me going there.

2) Circlejerking.

When you mention a specific group of people all the time, people who are of benefit to you business-wise but aren’t pumping out great Twitter content, then you’re wasting my time and everyone else who follows you. Instead of “chatting” to 9 specific people in your group, remember that you have 500 or 2,000 or however many OTHER followers you’ve specifically not mentioned by name.

Twitter is about content, not you getting a reach-around and a smile, so if you continue down this path of exalting a few users over everyone else, you may do so at the cost of having an audience who no longer are invested in you.

3) Noise.

No, you don’t need to thank people for retweeting your stuff. If people can’t assume you’re grateful for spreading the word on your tweets, then they’re stupid.

Of course we want to be heard. Of course we want to be retweeted. Of course we want our content to grow legs and cover a wide territory. When I’m retweeted, I notice, and I’m happy about it. But it happens 10, 15, 20, or more times a day. If I start thanking all these people, then I’m increasing my tweet count considerably, and with absolutely NO VALUE in its content. Then I start hating Twitter because it feels like a job.

Hearing me THANK people isn’t why people follow me. I’m not a fucking Walmart Greeter. If you want gratitude lessons from me via retweets, you got the wrong guru, man. Stop with the endless thank-yous. No one really gives a shit except the 12 people who think Miss Manners invented Twitter.

4) Music & Lyrics & Check-ins.

Who died and made you DJ of the Year? I don’t really care what you’re listening to on Spotify or what you’re watching on YouTube. I certainly don’t want to see you channeling your inner-13-year-old and typing line after line of broken-hearted lyrics. We get it. You like music. And you got dumped. Wow. Aren’t you special?

Every now and then, tweet it, but don’t default your third-party apps to broadcast every track you play. It’s noise, and most of us don’t want it. These reasons are also why I don’t give a shit that you’ve “checked in” to a coffee shop or a drug store. You don’t need to push those notifications to Twitter, so don’t be surprised by those of us who think you’re a douche when you do it constantly.

5) Event Tweeting.

If you’re out for dinner with people, and you tweet the location, and you mention everyone by Twitter names, and it’s NOT a public event, NOR an invitation to have the event crashed, then shut the hell up. Just grab the KY Jelly and get on with your little circlejerk then.

Again, you’re excluding EVERYONE in your following except those who are there. It makes you look like an exclusionist douchebag, or else some happy little tag-a-long who’s just thrilled they Made The List. Either way, I’m betting the majority of your public thinks it’s douchey. Again.

And if you do happen to see event tweets, no, it’s NOT an invitation to you, so don’t go crashing events without at least asking. (I hear you can do actual replies and ask permissions on Twitter. Wow, who knew?)

6) The Sanctimony.

Don’t assume everyone follows every aspect of Twitter as religiously as you. I’ve accidentally retweeted things that have come back to bite me, and never even knew I’d retweeted it, because the UI on Twitter’s apps makes it far too easy to kneejerk retweet or unfollow/block people. Don’t presume you’re always in the right, or that people knew when they fucked up. Get the chip off your shoulder and just relax. Ask people if they meant X in Y way, rather than getting on your high-horse and getting bent outta shape about it.

7) Grammar.

Not everyone’s got the writing thing down pat, and I get that. I don’t mind some spelling mistakes or missing grammar, but can you stop turning it into an Olympic sport? This isn’t TEXTING. It’s communicating. It’s out there for the public. It’s on record.

It’s in the Google now, bitches, so maybe demonstrating your communicative powers in succinct tweets like “I c wut u mean” is a little inappropriate. Strive higher. If I see people at least attempting to make sentences, I’m a lot less judgy, and I know I’m not alone.

8) iAwesome Tweeting.

Oh, look at you, you got “#FollowFriday”ed. Aren’t you special? Wow. THANKS for retweeting that, you douche, but I’m already following you. Or I fucking well was before you started retweeting other people name-dropping you. Then I decided to embrace UNFOLLOW Friday and ditch your smug self-congratulatory ass. What is this, high school?

9) The HumbleBrag or PityParty.

This is the crowd that belongs in a narcissism support group. Yes, the Twitter is all about you. Yes, we’re all here to support you and quell your little ego panics. Yes, yes, yes. No, no, no! I think everyone does this to some extent, but some take it to new heights. Get over yourself. Or at least don’t constantly tweet it.

10) The ReTweeter & OldNewsers.

Don’t be surprised that I don’t follow you when I see 90% of your stream is made up of retweets. I can find other people’s content too. I can also read the news. So, when you’re THAT GUY who logs in Monday morning, ‘cos you’re some marketer or weekend warrior, and you just start arbitrarily sharing news links without realizing everyone’s been talking about that celebrity’s death for 2 days already, you’re a waste of tweet space. News has a 6-hour shelf-life on Twitter, so don’t bother if it’s a day old. Seriously.

________________

I’m sure there are far more infractions that get under my skin, but here’s a good place to end it.

I mean, god, this doesn’t even touch on the misinformation, retweeting broken links, not checking the article you’re about to tweet, and so forth, but there’s only so much a girl can do.

What’d I miss? What pisses you off? Why do you agree/disagree with?

News of the Week: My Thoughts on the Facebook IPO

I’m not following the Facebook IPO offering. I’m also not an expert, or even very knowledgeable about the present world of stock buying and selling.

But I know a dumb bet when I see one.

Much like Groupon’s IPO, I wouldn’t buy this stock if I did have all the money in the world. Why? Because there’s no commercial future in Facebook, as far as I’m concerned. Societal, well, that’s another dealio.

If monetizing depends on advertising (and I don’t think it does, but until THEY figure that out, this opinion holds) then Facebook’s fucked on race day.

Just this week, GM announced they’d decided to pull all advertising from the site, which has a larger stranglehold on the public than any entity in the world. Why? Because the branding pages are free.

What’s the Big Picture at Facebook? Apparently they’re working on at least one, possibly two Smartphone devices. This from a company that has spent three years trying to deliver its own branded app for smartphone use, which offers little stability, and delivers on few of its so-called features. More on that in a moment.

Zuckerberg himself stated that the future of Facebook is in mobility use, because the stats for mobile use of the site is skyrocketing. Nearly 10% of its audience doesn’t ever access it from anything but their phone. More than half its users frequently use its mobile site only.

I’m one of the latter. Increasingly, I’m using it less on my mobile device, which means less overall, since I seldom sit at my computer beyond my workday. It’s a pretty simple reason behind this shift. The app just don’t work, Mom. Seldom does it load profiles or news stories, both of which are 80% of why I read the site at all. Instead, it hangs there in deadspace, sapping my battery as it constantly tries loading.

And if it wasn’t bad enough that Facebook was failing to monetize its web-based site, they admit they’re kinda stumped on how to monetize the mobile site.

I don’t get the problem. If companies like GM want to reap the rewards of engaging their public on Facebook, why are they not made to subscribe? Have a like-based monthly subscription fee between $1 and $50, and at least take in money there. That’s practically a no-brainer. Hard to be able to argue against the efficacy of having a space on the world’s most widely-viewed website.

In fact, I’d say a branding page is worth far more to a company than adspace. They can engage, interact, and respond to consumers. They can continue to brainwash the devotees, while winning over new audiences they may have never reached before via interesting articles and posts that can be shared from user to user while always citing the original source, the branded page.

Groupon had a $6 billion offer they rejected from Google, all because of arrogance about how quickly they took on the world and how popular they had become. But they were only unique until they were duplicated, and now there’s no point in having loyalty to Groupon because they fucked up the service end of matters, and they can offer a better discount than the next guy, because everyone’s offering the same. The $6 Billion Google Buy Bust is gonna go down as the biggest “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” in corporate buy-out offers ever.

Now Groupon trades below their initial IPO. Why? There’s no real value there. You’re not buying into a unique syndicate, real estate, or tangible investments. There’s an arrogant CEO who drinks copious beer in meetings, and they have poor accounting practices.

What works as a private entity can often fail as a public one when there’s a figurehead at the helm.

Enter Facebook.

Zuckerberg really is a genius. He’s been fantastic at rolling with market demands. He’s seen the future of what the internet could be on a social and commercial scale. And, for the first time ever, the world has a website that has literally changed the way we are as a people, and how we interact.

When people say “Well, someone else could’ve built the same site,” I have to laugh. They didn’t. No one did. Some whizkid from Harvard cracked the code. No one else did, so stop saying it so flippantly. You cannot deny the influence Facebook now has, and Zuckerberg is the man behind that vision.

Zuckerberg is one of the great minds of our time. Period. 28 or not, a great mind.

But I wouldn’t buy his stock.

I don’t think it’ll bottom out, but it’ll lay there like a lazy lover.

Social relevance doesn’t mean you can take it to the bank. Facebook had a great model, but if they want to be a publicly held company, they’ve got to have a lot more up their sleeves.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s enough. Maybe the phone is a thing of brilliance the world won’t mind forfeiting their privacy to when their every little activity is datamined by the grand-daddy of  all datamining, Facebook. Maybe.

But I still wouldn’t but the stock.

Ethics of Blogging: Writing, Interpretations, & Responsibilities

So, I cracked the depression nut in a rant on the weekend that had a lot of positive response from people who’ve been there, with more than a few quietly thanking me for saying what needed to be said: People usually don’t choose to be depressed.

Now, apparently my tone was full of “hate,” according to the writer of the post that originally angered me, who commented on on my piece (psst… she sounded angry too).

Come on, I don’t hate anyone. I just get angry. I channel my rage into my writing and other areas in life. It’s a productive fuel. In fact, studies are coming out in which they’re realizing that anger is actually among the best catalysts one can have. Don’t like things in your life? Get angry and change them.

But I don’t wanna go into the philosophy behind Darth Vader’s School of Wellness here or anything. Another day, another soggy blog post, friends.

You know what kills me about posts like the one that irked me on the weekend? The arrogance of bloggers.

Okay. Whoa, Nellie. Wait for it. This is a complicated stance I have, but it also needs to be said, even if a bunch of bloggers might get grumpy at me.

First: If I didn’t think my voice mattered in cosmic mix, I wouldn’t have more than 2,000 posts, 4,000 drafts, and seven years of blogging underneath me. Clearly I think bloggers belong in the cosmic mix.

That said: We’re just bloggers.

We need to write responsibly. We need to use disclaimers that remind people that we’re not certified in all things awesome. We’re a voice with an opinion, and all we’re often bringing to the table is our experience.

As someone to whom edge and attitude come naturally, I understand wanting to turn a cool phrase or have things sound awesome. I know why we get stylistic, chuck some hyperbole in, and embrace flippant whimsy. I get it. I do it. I love it.

But there are times you have to stand back and really see how your words will be taken, and you have to watch it.

This writer accuses me of misconstruing her words, like it’s my fault they mean BOTH things.

I didn’t pull my interpretation out of my ass. It was RIGHT THERE, honey, in the words you wrote. If you’re going to take something huge and life-altering like depression and throw 90 words at it, you can bet your ass you’re leaving a wide door to walk through on the interpretations front. This is why we have DISCLAIMERS, and I’ll get to that after.

As a writer, while I absolutely love pushing buttons, I think you’d be hard pressed to find many examples of when I’ve done so irresponsibly in a way that could hurt people. Depression is one of those topics I wade into very trepidatiously, because I know people are unhinged to begin with, and I know how easily the wrong comment can trigger something in someone.

When I write about depression, I now do so from a largely “PAST” perspective. I’m not “depressed” anymore. I’m normal now. I have ups, I have downs.

Someone out there’s probably going “Oh, see? You’re ashamed. You won’t cop to being depressed.”

No, you know why? Because I’m not depressed! I love the snarky side of me, and that’s staying around. I’m not ashamed of my experiences with depression — but I’m proud I’ve battled out of it for a pretty average, stable existence. It’s proof one can get out of chemical depressions and get away from that horrible crushing place. I pulled a Gloria Gaynor, man. I survived.

It takes a long time, but it can be done, and there’s no one answer, which is why it seems so insurmountable.

And BECAUSE I know there’s no one answer, I know there are people out there who are as smart as me and as big on research as I am, and I know they’re at home late at night Googling for things to read about depression (or insert whatever other hot-button topic people don’t publicly discuss — like domestic abuse, etc) so they can get other perspectives.

And when they DO find something on Google about depression, I hope to fuck they’re reading someone realistic like me, and not someone bubbling on about choosing to be happy and making it sound like it’s some short-term project that’s easily accomplished because that suits the smaller, quicker, more upbeat post they’ve been tasked with writing.

If you’re clinically depressed, it is mental illness. It’s not when you’re thinking clearly, and that’s exactly why I try to be as straight-talking and clear as possible, for that 5-10% of my audience who might currently be experiencing that hell and who need a relatable perspective that might make them feel like someone else has lived in that world too. It’s okay for it to be hard. It’s okay to write about that.

You’re goddamned right that it’s arrogant of me to think I might play a role in shaping how they think about X-subject this week or five years from now, and to care about writing in a way that’s relevant on these things, but I’ve been given good reason to feel I’m relevant.

So, yes, many bloggers are arrogant. They’re sometimes more concerned with having a good read or getting their $50 payment from some blog magazine site. There’s this “nutshell” syndrome where everyone thinks just touching on a topic is good enough.

God help you if your post is over 500 words and you actually SAY something, you know.

While the writer of the piece that angered me, she actually had a few really great points on OTHER topics, and if she’d simply put a ONE LINE DISCLAIMER in the paragraph about depression, the whole fucking piece would’ve been FINE with me. All she had to say was, “Depression can be a serious and fatal condition, and while it can be self-treated, one needs to talk to their doctor. Not all depressions can be handled the same.” Then, boom. Perfect. Responsible. Big picture.

That’s it. That’s what that article was missing.

When it comes to blogging, I feel responsible to speak truth, be honest about who I am, get my facts right, and respect that my words might be construed differently by others, and it’s up to me to take a solid look at what I write before I publish it so I know all the ways someone might read into it, and if anything’s going to come back and bite me, I fix it up.

(It’s an old editing trick. Pretend you have no clue what you just wrote, read it “out loud” in your head, and try to understand it for the “first time.” Works.)

And here’s a thing: Most of the time, no matter how someone “interprets” what you’ve written, they’re not wrong. Not really. Words are flexible. They’re like cattle. They’ll pretty much go anywhere they want, and it takes a skilled hand to rein ’em in. But that’s what writers do. Or, it’s what they should do.

Okay, gather ’round kids, and Auntie Steff will tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I took three weeks to write a post about my dead mother. Seven years later, I’m still proud of the writing and I remember how hard it was for me to get it done. I write in minutes and hours, not over the course of weeks. Very nervously, I published it.

Months later, it was Christmas, and I checked my email. There was a $500 “gift” on PayPal from a reader. She said she had never been able to express the world of hurt her mother’s death caused her, and reading this post of mine, she said she sent it to every friend she had and said “When I’m sad about Mom, this is why.”

Oddly, I’ve had very few donations in the years since, and nothing even close to that, but the Christmas Donation taught me something very important about blogging and writing.

In our very anonymous words, sometimes strangers around the world find some meaning, something they can relate to. On a microscopic scale, we can change lives.

I believe in blogging. I consider myself blessed to be alive at a time when I can have a voice in the mix. I’m astounded at readers’ abilities to connect and tell me what resonates.

And, like Uncle Ben told Spidey, with great power comes great responsibility.

So, when blogging about depression and other very serious things people are likely to take to heart in very dark manners, it’s worth a little time to ensure you’re not blowing things off, making light of dangerous conditions, and that your words have been chosen with all the right reasons.

Be careful, Grasshopper, because you know not who you write for.

Apartment Hunting Just Got Easy: Padmapper

Well, it’s all coming down. Another 10 days, and I can start looking in earnest for March 1st rentals in Victoria.

Holy choices-to-make, Batman!

Here’s what I know. I know roughly where I want to live. And while I’m working from home, I want to be less than 15 minutes’ walk to my local gym, which I’ve chosen downtown. A similar walk to great parks, shops, and the beach would also work. So, that narrows things down.

But finding apartments exactly where I want them, well, that’s the challenge. I’ve been researching the shit out of apartment management companies, neighbourhoods, different listing sources, and it really makes the head spin.

Dude, all the squinting to read neighbourhoods and trying to imagine where places are when I barely know the main street names, it’s killing me!

Now, with Google Street View, it makes plugging an apartment’s address in really worth your while, since you can do a 360-view look at the places around it.

That’s all a hell of a lot of work, though, even for a smart and determined cookie like myself.

So, enter Padmapper.com.

Sure, it’s not NEW, but it’s new to me and probably to anyone who hasn’t rented a new place in the last few years.

A reader turned me onto it yesterday, and, oh, lord, do I love this. You can set lots of parameters, and it’s in your interest to be more thorough. What kind of parameters?

  • Price
  • Location
  • Set radius for a walking distance to X-location (work / gym / school, etc)
  • Bedroom/bathroom count
  • Pet-friendliness
  • Terms of lease/rent

Blah, blah, blah.  Use it all! More means less crap to search through for your shiny new home.

There’s a few apartment-listing sources it combs through, and you select the maximum age of the listing, and it’ll search, say, rent.com, craigslist.org, and more.

You plug your deets in, and boom-shaka-laka, your Google map fills with markers for every single available apartment, and you can click each marker and a pop-up dialogue shows you a photo of the place, where the source listing is, and all the basic details. You can “save to favourites” and all the standard modes of sharing via email and such apply.

And think about the awesomeness that Google Street View offers you — the chance to take a look at what the neighbourhood looks like around your home. Well, Padmapper.com also has the ability to click the “Walkscore” button, and if you’ve never tried Walkscore,* it gives you an idea of what’s in walking distance of your home and how convenient it is.

The only shortfall in Padmapper is that it doesn’t currently integrate with the Bedbug Registry, and if you’ve had any close calls, you’ll appreciate how much you’d like to know who’s had problems and how often.

As I’ll be working from home, I’m really keen to find the best location and a good hardwood floor space with balconies, maybe even a second bedroom for my office, if I can find the right mix at the right budget.

Looking for a place to live has always been a real challenge. With a tool like this, it seems the playing field’s getting a little more level for the savvy home-renter looking for the ideal place to cool their heels.

With a few minutes’ digging, I can find more viable listings for rentals that fit the budget, space, and location needs I have than I could find in hours, before.

And, let’s face it, in a 30-days-notice kind of world, you really do need a more efficient means of finding great places. Padmapper might just be a rental agency’s worst nightmare, because finding a new apartment just got a whole lot less intimidating.

*WALKSCORE: My present home is dubiously high on there, and they’re wrong, since most of the so-called restaurants are sushi joints and I don’t eat it, and the shops kind of suck, so don’t get too invested in Walkscore without knowing the hood well, just use it because you can.

 

Kicking Klout When They’re Down

Of late, several friends have shared stories that are rallying against Klout.

I’ve bitched about the website/metrics system since its launch, despite my supposedly “having” some Klout and receiving several “rewards” for said AWESOMENESS. Ha-ha, I have KLOUT, bitch!

But it’s all bullshit.

It really is.

Klout doesn’t know fuck all about what people really think about you, why they dig you, or really how you impact them.

It’s awesome that there’s a real backlash going on against them right now. Salon has their “Klout’s Bad for Your Soul” piece and several bloggers have shit-kicked them as well. Here’s Scalzi’s piece. Or this.

I loathe the metrics thing because it makes social media about the end result, not the process. There was “Twitter Grader” before Klout, and it was every bit as high-school.

These days, I see certain soc-med punditry subscribing to tools that relay their mention count for the week, all that crap, and I can’t help but think who the hell’s at the wheel? If you don’t KNOW you’re engaging people, then you’re doing it wrong. And these are people who should know just by reading their replies if they’re hitting home with their audience or not. I sure as hell do, and I’m not even doing this professionally.

That’s not even touching the validity of all this Klout melodrama, either.

I, apparently, am an incredible influencer on Reading, Pennsylvania.

If it weren’t for Monopoly, I wouldn’t even know about Reading, Pennsylvania. As it happens, I now know they have a railroad. But that’s about it. Maybe they mean about reading BOOKS, but despite about 50 mentions of this discrepancy to the @Klout Twitter account, the data tracking has never changed.

So, there’s inaccuracy, there’s stereotyping, there’s sweeping generalization, there’s oversimplification of data — hmm, what else does Klout have that every metrics system can do without? Does it need more? Well, let’s see here.

What Klout’s got is a big brand. They’ve marketed it well. They showed up in boardrooms and said, “Hey. We know you know fuck all about how this “social media” shit really goes down. No, no, you don’t need to learn The Twitter or The Facebook. Let us help! Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna dumb the data down, then spoonfeed it to you. We’re calling it “Klout.” Like that? Oh, I know you do. CATCHY, huh?”

This is a classic instance of telling someone that something is important because they say it’s important. “Why? Because I said so.”

They’ve even got Business Week writing about whether Klout’s recent change in metrics was hazardous to one’s hiring chances.

All you have to do to know I have some kind of “Klout” is to look at my account. I talk about mundane things, I swear a lot, and I have 4 followers for every one person I follow, and I’m on about 500 lists. Now, either I’m doing something right, or I’m quite convincing at spam. It doesn’t take a lot to put two and two together.

Sure, Klout’s a bit more complicated than that, but what I’m saying is — you don’t NEED Klout to figure out who might have something to say.

And does Klout tell you about the time I simply reported on Twitter that I bought some homeless guy a fast food sandwich on the way to work, and three people told me at the end of the day that they also bought homeless people food that day, all because I mentioned doing it, and they thought it felt great, and would start doing it regularly?

Now that’s the kind of clout I’m proud to have. That means something to me. It means people respond to the simplest of gestures, even online.

Instead, these yahoos like the Klout folk are measuring what’s tantamount to masturbation.

The system can be, and is, gamed by those who constantly “retweet” their replies to people. You know, someone says “@smuttysteff So how was your day?” and instead of replying to them, the Alternate Universe Complete Asshole Steff would reply publicly like this: “Well, except for that bad coffee, it was great! RT @RandomTweeter @smuttysteff So how was your day?”

Why is that a wanker move? Because you raise the number of times your name is mentioned. Kinda like a twofer dealio on data-stacking. Oh, look, says Klout — @smuttysteff just got TWO mentions! Wow! And, by replying to the person indirectly, you’re increasing the odds of yet another follow-up reply from them, thus again increasing your mention count.

But that’s why I try to keep it a little more genuine most of the time, with direct @replies to the person in question. I don’t need to falsely stack my mentions, because I don’t give a fuck what the metrics have to say.

It’s like everyone’s saying: High school is back, and it sucks more than ever. Thanks, Klout!

Social media’s gonna be a whole lot less fun if these fuckwits have their way.

Like it’s not often already a world of asshats saying what they think other people want to hear, of ass-kissing and back-slapping, of circle-jerks and compliment-orgies.

Uh-huh. Amping THAT up sounds like a good time to me.

Seriously. Stop believing in these stupid tools. Stop looking for validation. Stop worrying about the numbers.

Like the old adage goes — say what you mean, and mean what you say. That’s how you get real clout. That’s how you get relevant.

You can game your Klout score, but you can’t fake relevance. Good luck trying.

How Not To Do Social Media: The Rock 101 Way

In a parallel universe, I’d love a career in radio. Unfortunately, the way things are going, it seems like some of the folks running radio stations don’t have a clue about how to survive in a New Media World, and who knows if Radio As It Is will continue well into the future.

Especially if folks like Vancouver’s Rock 101 keep fucking up the new media mix.

Being a part of the Corus Radio Network, I suspect the aging rock station’s social media work is being done by Jumpwire Media, who aren’t from Vancouver, but I’m not sure, and investigating that just isn’t important to me. So, let’s be clear that I’m unclear on who the Social Media Moron is in this scenario, but we’ll let their tweets do the talking.

So, about three weeks ago, I check my Twitter stream and there’s all this NOISE there. Seems someone has the CUTTING-EDGE GENIUS idea to try and boost their listening audience through Twitter, because suddenly there’s all these awful [ON AIR NOW] tweets from Rock 101.

Their Brainchild? Tweet EVERY SINGLE SONG played by the station. Every single song. And each song tweeted had no value added trivia or factoid, just the song and artist.

Even more awesome: The autofeed wasn’t working, so you’d get the song title partly cut off, like in the hilarious instance of [ON AIR NOW] Reilly, The Who. I asked if that was a song about Baba O’Reilly’s more conservative cousin, with less guitar. That took 2 or 3 days to fix, with hundreds of spammy tweets preceeding the fix.

And, like the rocket scientists they are, Rock 101 decided to be even more douchey by using the #Vancouver hashtag in every tweet, which one should use for interesting local content, not just wanking off for business purposes. When I called them out on that, their reply was that “lots of spam uses the #Vancouver hashtag already.”

Oh, so now you ADMIT you’re spamming me. That’s pretty awesome. Go, you!

During all this, I was vocally pissed about their “new” use of Twitter, and said much in public to my followers, while always using the @ClassicRock101 tag. This led me to having some private direct message conversations with whoever was behind the Twitter account too.

When they asked about another idea they had in the hopper — that of unfollowing the 2,000+ followers they had, choosing a “select” 101 accounts to follow — I replied as you see in the included screen shot here, but what I really wanted to say was that’s fucking elitist and dumb.

Why? Because they’re supposed to be a ROCK station. Rock’n’Roll was about telling THE MAN to FUCK OFF. Rock’n’Roll was about challenging long-held societal ideas, speaking out, getting involved, snubbing the system, and being your own man. Rock’n’Roll was Grace Slick singing about red pills that make you small. Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.

Unfortunately, Rock 101 has decided to BE THE MAN and forget the little people, and this Fucking Dumb Idea is now their modus operandi, as they’re following the world’s most baffling 101 people, from Axl Rose to a couple little local bloggers. Apparently their fix was to “list” all their followers, but most Twitter users don’t even use lists or think they’re relevant.

Rock 101 have stopped their made-of-fail “ON AIR NOW” attempts, largely due to most people being pissed off about it (thank god). They’re full-steam-ahead on the Following 101 Not-So-Movers-Or-Shakers. And the result? They’ve lost 100+ followers in a couple weeks.

Here’s the thing.

Twitter is about engaging, not putting up walls.

I’m a personal tweeter. I’m not in it for the money or the glory, so I don’t follow everyone back and I really don’t give a shit what you think about my tweet stream — whether I’m swearing or angsty or goofy or what — because the minute I start caring about your thoughts is the minute it becomes a drag for me. When I start to please the people I would normally not attract, I start being less authentic, and set myself up for mass unfollows in the future.

In fact, when I become a Happy, Well-Balanced Tweeter, I attract more people that I know will unfollow me when I’m “myself.” And when I finally get bitchy and do a mega-rant, I get affectionate tweets from people who’ve followed me for a long time, saying they’ve missed my angst. Those are the people I want to keep around because they like me at my most uncensored, and that should be what it’s about.

But when it’s a radio station, your job is to address your audience, be relevant, have interesting content, and to engage. You’re not there masturbating. You have a chance to actually LISTEN to the audience you’re trying to make money from, and what do you do? You don’t follow them. Worse, you UNfollow them. Genius!

When Rock 101 asked me what I thought they should be doing, I said:

Be edgy. Have interesting rock trivia. Don’t kiss celebrity ass. Embrace the lack of CRTC regulations and SWEAR some. Establish that you ARE rock’n’roll, not just some corporate sell-out station that plays music from the ’70s. I’ve included a screenshot of some of what I’ve said.

And, when I said “be edgy,” I didn’t mean to have typos and improper capitalization, Rock 101.

Radio needs to get the internet right. If radio today wants to exist tomorrow, they need to figure the web out.

I find that The CBC and News 1130 Radio are two accounts getting it right when it comes to radio. The CBC itself, not so much, but their personalities, whether it’s radio reporter @TheresaLalonde or the On The Coast man himself @CBCStephenQuinn, really announce their content ahead of time, engage their audiences, and keep their Twitter accounts very relevant as a personal way of getting to know the big network. As for News 1130 Radio, I’d say it’s much the same — their reporters are all very engaged and present. The station itself retweets followers and follows 60% of those who follow them, they always announce who’s at the news desk, they reply to comments, and they’re just plugged in. As far as both these examples are concerned, they believe Twitter’s a valuable part of their audience. News 1130 even held one of the best tweetups I’ve attended, and that’s a great way to thank your audience.

When it comes to media today, they have a chance to listen to real people and engage with their public. Want to be successful? Do that. Listen, engage, make people feel heard.

When someone like Rock 101 comes along and thinks, “Hey, fuck the 2,500 people we’ve been following, let’s whittle that down to 101, let’s broadcast everything the station’s doing, literally, and let’s start being newsy,” they can’t be surprised when their following starts dwindling, and when the few who stick around really aren’t dialed in.

Unfortunately, Rock 101 has no idea who they are. They’re tweeting news about lattes, traffic, and other silly things that I would be turning to other sources for, not a rock station. And, judging by the corporate approach on Twitter, they’re not even much of a rock station anymore.

Rule Number 1 in social media, man: Know who you are.

Rule Number 2: Know who you want to engage.

Both counts, Rock 101? You fail. Better luck next time, kids.

Note: During the simple hour it’s taken to write this post, Rock 101 has lost 2 more followers. Now that’s a social media strategy with results… just not the results they want.