Twitter Etiquette / The value of sustained relationships

So if you haven’t hung out with or called a friend in six months or so, it probably wouldn’t be very wise to call that friend to see if he can give you a ride to the airport. Obviously, that’s very self serving, and most people would agree that is not OK to do.

Apparently, a number of people don’t translate real-world relationship sense to social media. I run the Twitter account for the nonprofit I work for, and there are a lot of businesses, authors, speakers, etc. who interact with us on a regular basis by sending @mentions, retweeting and direct messaging. When those folks decide they need to promote something and seek my help, I do so enthusiastically. 1) Because we have an ongoing relationship and 2) because they promote my nonprofit without solicitation.

And that’s how it should work.

Well, our yearly convention is coming up, and it’s a great opportunity for businesses to advertise to our member base. So I’m getting businesses I’ve never heard of wanting me to retweet them and promote them via our Twitter channel just because they have a booth at our convention. They’ve never interacted with me at all on any social media or email or anything else, and now they want me to push their product? Umm, no.

So, come on people. Get your act together and realize that just because you’re interacting through a computer screen doesn’t mean that you’re not dealing with a person. A person who would love to help you if you’ve made the effort to build a relationship. A person who will scratch your back if you scratch his. But a person who will probably not give you a ride to the airport if you haven’t called in six months.

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