Are we crashing the conversation using social media?

I have to say I felt a bit guilty, reading Patrick Keane’s article in Advertising Age.

His point: Many people are confusing social networking with social media.

But that’s not the part I was feeling guilty about. He then goes on to talk about how there’s a big difference between joining the conversation and crashing into it.

Are you? Am I?

In this space -my blog– I have every right/reason to start and extend a conversation, one that I began somewhere else. Perhaps a face-to-face one, or one on Twitter, or as a comment on someone’s article or video.

But sometimes we use social media to dive in and out of conversations that amount to crashing the party. To use it as a megaphone in stealth mode. Two examples:

  • You may have come across this annoying practice of someone  dropping into a group just to seed an URL to a product or service.
  • Recently a member alerted our online group that a certain individual was up to no good. Basically posing as a member harvesting demographic information for some direct marketing scam.

So what’s the difference between that, and, say sending out a tweet with a shortened URL to one’s followers? I could come up with a reasonable defense of why this is, after all, targeted, not spammy. But the tool at our disposal has made it all too easy to go beyond what it was intended for.

It could end up being the biggest social media party-crashing tool, if we’re not careful.

UPDATED 03/15:

When posting a link, don’t lead people to a landing page for your book, webinar, e-zine or CD series. If you want to “hawk stuff,” go to your local flea market.

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