Thursday, November 04, 2010

When "Like" Can Make You Unlikeable

As I sorted through my email there it was - another fricken request from this "friend" to "like" some other restaurant she's apparently fallen in love with. It's the fifth such request to "like" something she's sent me in as many weeks - most of which are places, companies or people I've never even heard of.  Which begs the question - how in the hell could I like them if I don't know them in the first place?

The like feature commonly used by Facebook to give us the power to like someone's comments, recently added photos and now everything from the latest release of toothpaste to the newly formed group of secular lettuce worshippers is downright spammy. The like feature capability at first was interesting but now getting about a dozen recommended places to like a day from my Facebook friends is bordering on a full-time job just to keep my inbox clean. And for those power likers who seem to like everything under the sun, they are beginning to make me rethink whether I should like even be connected to them in the first place.

Apps like the like feature (no pun intended), the vote this or that feature, or the just check-in feature on some of these social networking sites and services is beginning to feel overwhelming.  Sure I realize and understand that this is one way that a company like Pepsi or National Rent-A-Car feel like they are properly using those social media budgets by suckering some of us into mindlessly promoting their wares. Let's face it, for the company it's an excellent brand building effort and in some (very rare) instances their latest product, service or new location opening might go viral which means huge return on investment for them. But at what cost to those friends who consistently like things out to their social network of friends, family and colleagues? Might they be damaging their personal brand?

I have a friend that has entered some sort of popularity contest to take a role on a reality series. He has for the past three weeks sent me no less than 25 requests to go to a website and vote for him and additional 10 or so requests to like the fact that I've voted for him on Facebook. He's put requests out through Facebook, Twitter and has even hit me and his other professional network up on Linked In. It's beyond ridiculous and has seriously undermined his credibility to me.

What do you think his boss thinks of his effort? Over the past few weeks it seems that he's plastered us all with these requests and can only assume what I would be thinking if I were his boss. Because clearly this contest seems far more important to him than his job - especially since most of his requests come during the day.

My entire point in all of this is you as a user of social media have to be careful. Just because someone has accepted your friend request doesn't give you permission to forcefully promote anything to them.  Perhaps the rules and proper etiquette has yet to be defined but how about a little common sense? Think before you make suggestions out to your network. Is this something really valuable? Is this so important that I am willing to take a risk of possibly annoying those friends and colleagues of mine? Am I so committed to someone else's cause that I am willing to possibly implode my credibility with others who may not agree?

Here's the thing, social networking sites like Facebook are a great way to stay in touch and to play a part in other people's lives.  Like you, people got on this this platform for a specific reason - to stay in touch, communicate out important happenings in their lives and to be connected. Suggesting I like the latest You Tube Video by Beyonce or suggesting I join the Chapter of People Who Waste Their Day Playing Words Free isn't adding value to our relationship. In fact it diminishes and cheapens it.

Remember all these social media tools, games and the like are truly truly powerful. Just make sure that power doesn't ended up working against you and forever damaging your reputation. It's a painfully thin line that we walk and all I am saying is be careful.  Crossing that line too much may just create some big negative Ripples for you in the hearts and minds of others and that you won't "like" I can assure you.

Just something to think about.

Ripple On!!!

1 comment:

Angie Lay said...

I'm right there with you on this one!

Recently, I accepted a friend request from someone and soon after I started getting messages for several different Facebook events from this same person almost daily.

Usually 4-5 at a time. Can you imagine how quickly I ran to "de-friend" this particular person?

Now if what they have to offer outweighs their "recommendation faux paux" then I can deal with it. However, if you feel like you're an outsider at a Spam convention, then it's time to head for the hills.

I totally agree with the fact that it "cheapens" their credibility.

That's one reason I am hesitant to recommend things to others on there.