Thursday, October 18, 2012

This is not the way to tweet

The other day while on Twitter, I noticed a graphics company tweeted to me:

“@sierragodfrey Love your stuff! Hope you'll return the follow and follow us. Need anything done? Call and mention 'twitter' as a thank you!”

Well! I thought. How lovely! What a lovely, lovely tweet! Someone I don’t even know contacting me to tell me they love my design work! How random and sweet—especially since I only just recently thought to set up a company facebook page for my freelance graphic design business (go on, like me), and I even more recently decided to set up a dedicated Twitter account (@sierrafong) for my design business (go on, follow me). I gave myself a huge pat on the back for getting positive response through social media for my business.

Then I looked at it again.

They weren’t tweeting to my design Twitter account, @sierrafong. They’d tweeted to my writer account, the one where I don’t censor anything I say and I tweet back and forth with other writers and authors and publishing folks. They were tweeting to @sierragodfrey, which has been around for years, and which has lots of followers, most of whom are authors trying to up their follower numbers but whatevers (you know those types, they're slick looking and they are promoting a recently published book and you don't know them, but they think because you're a writer following other writers, you'll follow them; note that I am not talking about authors who actually use Twitter for conversation), there are tons and tons of people who I love talking to on this account, my main account, which has over 10,000 tweets because I’m really gabby.

So why were they tweeting to my writer account?

I clicked on their Twitter account (I use Tweetdeck) and lo and behold, all they do—every single tweet that gets sent out—is the same exact one. "Love your stuff! Hope you'll return the follow and follow us. Need anything done? Call and mention 'twitter' as a thank you!"

I tweeted back to them, “But you say that to everyone!”

And although everything they’d done so far suggested they were randomly tweeting to people whose tweets popped up in the Great Stream, or were listed on somewhere, and that all they ever had to say was “Love your stuff! Hope you'll return the follow and follow us. Need anything done? Call and mention 'twitter' as a thank you!” like a big massive tweeting magpie, and although this is the worst of the worst business offenses, and violates the whole point of Twitter for businesses, which is to have meaningful, authentic conversations with your customers, and even though tweeting the same thing to people is smarmy and fake, they replied back almost instantly:

“Only to the friends we were following and thought that to be true. =)”

Aside from the fact that this is complete bullshit, I was floored that some human was actually there. (Well of course there was, someone had to follow everyone they could and tweet the same tweet to them all.) Another check on their stream revealed that when people tweet to them, they actually respond back right away with a “thanks!” or something similar.

All the same, I blocked the bastards. We both knew we weren't "true friends" because they'd never heard of me and I'd never heard of them. And therein lies their mistake.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but when you tweet the same fake things to everyone, regardless of who they are (because it was pretty clear these guys didn’t know about my designer self), no one wants be to be your friend. It absolutely amazes me how many people—especially published authors, who, granted, might be told by their PR people to go blast vomit all over Twitter in the hopes that some people will think they’re being sincere and buy their book—these people are not genuine. And even though you can see right through them every single time, they persist.

For that, I’m thankful. Some spam and nasty marketing is hard to spot and fools lots of people, but fake tweets like that—they’re pretty clear.

So what about you? Have you noticed these fake tweets and what have you done about them?

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