Nearly a day goes by on Twitter without yet another social media “expert” choosing to stalk me. At first it started innocently — back in the day (about a year ago) various techie friends started to declare themselves social media gurus because they decided to hang out on Twitter and Facebook all day. And now an army of their offspring monitor Summize in search of human flesh.
Now the first symptom of this disease was what I call “social media deafness”, a state that occurs when a person’s social graph exceeds 500+ virtual friends. The result is that the person is a mile wide, but an inch deep. Suddenly the friend you use to know develops amnesia like symptoms and starts ignoring your direct messages — what was first simple Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder becomes full blown zombie like state.
The zombies then seek each other: You’ll always notice that of the 5,000 followers that a social media expert has that all 5,000 of them are also social media “experts”. Their only form of conversation is to quote each other and live tweet conferences where they gather. Like any good Ponzi scheme the lead zombies can make a good living feeding the hopes and aspirations of the worker level drones who parrot their every blog entry.
But that’s where the problem starts with us civilians: The drone level zombies then start to stalk any innocent Twitter user they can find. They don’t care who it is or what that person is interested in because their first prize is the “auto-follow”. By finding enough folks who don’t have auto-follow turned off they artificially inflate their number of followers which inflates their “expertise” in the field. Most start out by doing this to each other, but before long they need to prey on the flesh of the living.
If you’re unlucky enough to be followed that’s when the real problems begin: Before long every little quip you put out is met with a useless unsolicited recommendation. At first you might tease the zombie about their hard sell technique, but alas zombies have no sense of humor. Worst yet is that zombies don’t know how to take a hint — and that when my little buddy “the Block button” comes in handy!
Above: Social media and SEO “experts” aren’t human anymore (i.e. they’re undead) so you should feel no guilt at all in shooting them — in fact it can be an act of pleasure once your get use to it.
Now I know what you’re all thinking: Can’t these pitiful creatures be saved? The answer is NO!
My proof of my concept: Recently on a News Gang podcast I witnessed an attempt at zombie intervention and the result was a huge sad failure. Sweet Robert Scoble (now known by his borg name “teh Scobleizer”) had been sucked into some sort of fringe aspect of this cult called Friend Feed. So industry vet Steve Gillmor and action hero Mike Arrington tried to lead a brave (but futile) effort to lead an intervention to save poor Robert, but alas their rational pleas for sanity were ignored. Within minutes Scobleizer was back on the tweets, and this time he was disseminating Amazon affiliate links into his chirps in order to monetize his affliction.
Above: Robert Scoble is the second zombie on the left.
Like drugs, social media can be a good thing in the right hands. But there are too many people out there who don’t know what they’re doing and just get carried away. Sadly most people just lack the good old fashioned discipline to keep their worse instincts in check.
On a related note there’s also a related clan of zombies which are the SEO “experts” — these creatures are a blue collar variation of the social media experts and usually have the term “web master” in their bio. Sometimes the social media and SEO zombies can mate to produce a marketing strategy monster, but most of these are harmless as they don’t use the auto-follow technique.
In closing I’ve given this problem a great deal of thought trying to come up with a solution. At first I had a great idea about trying to have an automated script that would detect the zombies and block them as soon as they spot you. But like Spam I realized that any software solution was useless as the flesh eaters always manage to stay one step ahead of you. But then it hit me! Being a fanboy and having watched too many monster movies I realized that the only solution is to lure the entire population of social media and SEO experts to an island and for President Obama to authorize the dropping of a nuclear weapon.
Above: I know one is tempted to be cheap and just use an atomic bomb, but having watched so many of these movies I know that it won’t be strong enough.