There’s a lot of hand-wringing and woe is me in social media.
At times, it’s like watching a therapy group from the sidelines, except the therapy group shouldn’t really be called that – it’s more like a “woe is me, how unfair this social media thing is to me” group.
Thing is, it’s not. When something’s unfair, or annoying, or any other emotion that doesn’t fill you with unicorn-flavoured Kool Aid, much of it can be attributed back to the person doing the hand-wringing.
For example, making a public song and dance about unfollowing everyone on Twitter because of all the spam you get in your Direct Message box. Hint – maybe following over 130,000 people in the first place had something to do with it.
Are we really missing the point that, in social especially, we make all the choices that come back and upset the apple cart later on?
No, we don’t deliberately ask for spam – but every single person we take “onboard” has the potential to be a spammer. So, it makes sense that the more we connect, the more the potential.
There are also options available for countering spam.
For example, I’ve seen Twitter profiles that clearly state, “I don’t answer DM’s anymore, but feel free to @ me or email me instead.” Then simply adjust your email settings to stop DM alerts coming into your email Inbox.
Or – less ideally – set your Twitter profile to private. That way only the chosen few will be able to DM you, and you can soon see who the spammers are that way.
Or, simply click Delete and Report Spam – Hootsuite is great for this approach.
Note – all of the above options also mean you don’t flaunt Twitter’s Terms of Service by running a script to mass unfollow.
But the same goes for offline.
We see ads on TV that we don’t want to see. We hear radio ads we don’t care about. We receive flyers in the mail that we have no interest in. But instead of telling all our friends about it, we just change channel or throw in the bin and move on. No big deal.
The point is, all of this is our choice to make. We can all follow hundreds of thousands of people and deal with the inevitable bad eggs; or we follow less and be less visible.
We can’t have it both ways, as much as we’d like to think we can.