That’s the person who tells you they “will not do X if you do Y.” Or, “Unless you stop doing X, I will not do Y.”
It could be anything from not following you on Twitter unless you stop checking in on FourSquare …
… to not following you on Twitter (because you make so much “noise”) but they’d like to connect on LinkedIn anyway, because that will benefit them) …
… to not commenting on your blog because you use a particular comment system (but you should comment on their blog because, oh, just think of the link backs you’ll get!).
The list could go on.
And I’ve thought a lot about this before deciding that, in essence, people who behave like this are social media bullies. To make you engage in a behavior simply to make them happy, and pride themselves on how “influential” they are.
You might quite reasonably ask, “What’s the difference between a social media bully and the right to one’s own, albeit differing, opinion?”
I strongly believe everyone has a right to his or her opinion, including whom to follow on Twitter (or not), whom to friend on Facebook (or not), which blogs they choose to comment on (or not, as well as the substance of their comments), and so on.
I don’t follow everyone who follows me on Twitter (and I don’t care if people unfollow me); I don’t accept all Facebook friend requests (or LinkedIn connections, or add everyone who adds me to a Google+ Circle, etc.); and I really don’t care if they do the same. That’s my prerogative, and it’s just as much theirs to not follow, friend, connect, Circle, etc.
But it’s also my prerogative to use social media the way I see fit, to test new platforms as I figure out how they can work for me, my clients, and for the bulk of people I’m connected to, unless I see a sensible reason not to. Which is the collective voice of my community, not just one or two people.
An active community is a powerful thing.
For example, personally I’ve received feedback from Marcus Sheridan (when I didn’t even know him) that led to me figuring out how to increase the font size here on WUL. Community conversations led to one of my favorite posts yet (and, I think, yours) on social media barfshiners. A comment from someone I don’t know made me rethink how I format my blog posts.
I’ve also had disagreements with people I like and respect on certain aspects of social, be they a viewpoint or tools (for example, my friend Kellye Crane and I have different opinions on Triberr). That’s ok – and a good thing, because how boring would it be if we all agreed on everything, all the time? And we both respect the other’s right to that opinion.
Those are just a few of my personal examples, and I bet you have your own. If your organization, or clients, have nurtured their communities, they’ve probably seen the power of “community in action,” as well as healthy and respectful disagreement.
On the other hand, the schoolyard bully says:
“If you don’t give me your lunch, I’ll beat you!”
“If you don’t stop making friends with So-and-So, I’ll give you a wedgie!”
“If you don’t [updated; thanks to a friend for very courteously pointing this out!] invite me to your party, I’ll never never NEVER be friends with you again!”
Are you more likely to do something when someone threatens you with the consequences if you don’t do it?
Me, the minute someone takes it upon themselves to inform me that they will not do X unless I stop doing Y, my internal brakes are engaged. My brain is shocked enough to stop in its tracks, and my commonsense tells me this is simply bullying.
So, Dear Social Media Bully:
I’m glad to know that you will not do X unless I do Y (or not do Y).
You have enlightened my consciousness and, for that, I am truly grateful.
But what I do, or don’t do, depends on me, my community, and what works for us collectively. And that’s the beauty of social media; that we are all free to experiment with what works, or doesn’t work, for us – individually, and collectively.
You should absolutely keep doing, and behaving, the way you see fit. And so will I.
But as far as what you want me to do for you … because it only serves you and no one else … Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Out of curiosity, how can you claim you're doing what's best for your community when you dismiss members of your community because they disagree with you and your behavior publicly? They have every right to say they won't follow you if you check in on 4square all the time or engage in equally obnoxious behavior to them. Take is as community feedback. Decide if you really care about what they have to say or not. And then shut up about it and go on your way doing what you want to do about it (even if that's nothing). Be grateful you're getting the feedback at all. It has value. For every one person complaining to you about something, there are probably even more quietly unfollowing for the same reasons. You can't claim to care about community when you rant about dissenters in it on your blog (without mentioning them as individuals) while patting your friends on the back with public mentions and links in the same post. You embrace the entire community equally or you should stop throwing that word around.
@queryfreewriter In my opinion (which is what my posts are), there is a difference between reasonably (and politely) pointing out a difference of opinion, and hitting someone over the head with it. I completely agree with you that everyone has a right to say they won't do this or that. But so have I.
@Shonali That's the difference then. I don't think declaring someone a "bully" because you don't like their opinion or way or sharing it is polite in the slightest. And yes, do you have a right to your opinion. You just lose a little credibility when you say that and share yours while the point of your post is to criticize others for doing the same. You don't have to like how they say something. But that's between you and them. The "polite" thing to do (if you're really concerned about that) is to leave it that way.
Hello TulsaTalkin.. I don't use FB myself anymore.. Twitter is so much cooler, informative and impersonal. That's how I like it!
I stopped using Facebook because it became FB High School and I'm way too old for that. I'm new to Twitter but hoping it will be different because I am not personally involved with my followers and I don't mind blocking or not following anyone not relevant to my interests. That doesn't always mean I don't care what they have to say, but I can only read so many tweets and following everyone is impossible. Give me a reason and I will want to read your tweets. Happy tweeting, I hope. I do have a problem with the porn followers. Is anyone monitoring? Seems to be so many and so obvious. @bdorman264 LOL I'll remember the offer.
@TulsaTalkin@bdorman264 I just block/report the spammers immediately. Time was when I would check through to their profile, etc. Now, with HootSuite, I can tell almost immediately from their avatars, and if I'm not 100% sure, I click through to their timeline. When I see the same link sent to a gazillion people, I know they're spammers and poof, out they go.
Nope, I've had no experience w/ social bullies thank goodness. I mean, I'm the invisible one, most people don't even know I'm here (or care).............doh..................I'm sure they are out there, but I'm not confrontational by nature and certainly haven't written anything to evoke anger.
Nobody has pressured me to follow/unfollow, etc. In fact I don't get any requests..........pretty sad, huh?
I did have two stalkers on FB that it wasn't too cool and made me lose interest; but I think they have gone away.
You just let me know if someone is bullying you; I'll take them out even if I am non-confrontational........hope you have a great weekend.
@bdorman264 You're so sweet, thank you.
One of the many things I like about you, Bill (given that I haven't met you, but I think I *know* you), is that you have such a great sense of humor. That is probably an even better "weapon" than being confrontational. Also, I suspect you're the "still waters run deep" type of person. Don't know why I'm trying to analyze you here... but you just strike me as someone so full of substance, unlike many others once comes across.
Btw, it's time you changed your "invisible" handle, because you're definitely not invisible.
FB stalkers? Well! That's a new one for me. What did they do... keep sending you friend requests?
@Shonali Oh yeah, that was a very nice thing to say. It's true, but don't tell anyone because my persona is a very simple person who doesn't go very deep and that is why I sleep so well at night. Kind of easy to do when you have a blank slate, huh...................:)
@Shonali I'm still trying to talk Brian out of Extremely Average.........
Every single time I would sign on FB they were trying to chat, send me messages, etc. They were both old elementary/jr high girl friends; why weren't they diggin' on me like that back in the day, huh?
@shonali anytime, nice of you to call it out. Needs to happen more often, its happening a lot across platforms these days
@timepass Thank you for sharing. That kind of thing drives me nuts.
The only thing I'd add to your social media bully examples is the person who uses their clout (not to be confused with Klout) to demand you publicly apologize for something you never said, but they perceived you said.
I LOVE professional discourse and I love the example you use with @KellyeCrane because it's a perfect one. There is nothing wrong with it and, you're right, it opens up your mind and provides more context.
But the people who have thin skins and let their communities fight their battles by behaving like kindergartners is getting old.
Not that I have an opinion on it.
@Shonali I'm glad you highlighted our exchange as an example of a healthy disagreement between friends. Strong relationships can certainly survive a difference of opinion, and I'm like you -- what a dull existence it would be if I only surrounded myself with homogenous people and points of view!
One source of conflict I've seen: some folks' need to assign nefarious motives to those who do things differently. If you find someone overly promotional or engaging in social media in a way you dislike, does that mean they're a bad person? Of course not! Is someone who writes a post disagreeing with a person or tool only doing so to pump up their traffic? Um no, they might just simply disagree. Yet the bullies often seem to jump to these conclusions.
I believe these conclusions are what sometimes divide the social media world into cliquish camps, and -- as I noted in my response to Jen -- that helps no one.
@KellyeCrane I'm so glad you didn't mind! I almost checked with you first, but then I thought, she's a *real* friend, she'll get it. So thank you, Kell.
I don't understand the "it must be done 'X' way, or you're doing it wrong" mentality that seems to be de rigueur in social media. Have we learned nothing in the past 5/6 years? Chip wrote a post about these "rules"...back in 2007. (Anyone interested: http://www.mediabullseye.com/mb/2007/12/throwing-out-the-social-media-rulebook.html )
Shonali, you are familiar with my recent run in--apparently, I'm not allowed to write about Klout unless I'm obsessed with my score. Whatever. I hadn't seen that rule before.
Of greater concern to me is the virulent community backlash, the most recent episode of which has been alluded to in several of the comments here. I'm flabbergasted that adults feel the need to attack others when they perceive that a blogger they follow (idolize?) has been challenged. It is unnecessary and unbecoming.
I'll admit right here: I have had posts either in mind or written that I've opted not to publish simply because they challenged something written by a popular blogger and I didn't want to have to deal with the potential for community backlash. There's something really, really wrong with that. I shouldn't need to self-edit, but frankly I don't have the time to deal with the energy vampires that could result. Bullies, indeed.
Jen, it is tragic - and I'm not being a drama queen here, it IS tragic from a free speech point of view - that someone like you, who has, IMHO, opinions and views that are balanced, extremely smart and thought-provoking has held back on posts because of the potential backlash. There IS something very wrong with that.
I love the phrase "energy vampires," btw!
@jenzings You've articulated perfectly the reason we all suffer from bullying, even if it's indirectly. When wise voices are silenced because they don't have the bandwidth to suffer through and respond to the gang-up that might happen by speaking out, the "us vs. them" mentality does its greatest damage.
When I was growing up, we had the old mantra "treat others as you wish to be treated" drilled into our heads (lots of other stuff too but this was the main one). Today it seems people feel that if they tear others down and act assertive, they will be more successful. I hope that's not true because we will definitely only improve as society if we treat each other wish kindness.
I am so sorry people treated you this way and hope they are reading this post and feeling horrible. We need to work together to have a positive impact on society. If we don't listen to each other and share advice we are all doomed.
Thanks for calling out these bullies.
@mdbarber Oh, I got over it real quick! It's not just me, clearly it happens to a lot of people, as I see reading through the comments. I get that people have different opinions, and I like that. But it's the compulsion to MAKE everyone else behave the way you want them to that drives me nuts.
@TheJackB It's not just bloggers - at least, that wasn't the focus of my post. It's the general attitude of some people, on how they think you should behave, what platforms you should use, etc. If I ask for someone's opinion, that's one thing. But when I don't, it's just rude.
@Shonali No it is most definitely not, but it is where I tend to notice it most. If people do it on FB I simply unfriend. I find it easy to ignore on Twitter, but blogs are different.
Boy, I keep referring to me, talk about narcissistic. I blame you for that though. You forced me to return here to clarify my point. Just remember, this will end badly for you. ;)
Damn, that has become one of my signature lines. Got to stop...somehow.
Back on a serious note, I am waiting for someone to start up on one of the hangouts. I developing the perfect app for that. When they get obnoxious I am going to hit F5 and water will squirt from their keyboard into their eyes.
@TheJackB That's true, it's more noticeable on blogs, because you can tune 'em out on FB & Twitter.
I can't wait to see your app, heh! Does this mean that the next time we Hangout, I'll have to keep my mouth shut? ;)
ICK! This stuff gives me the creeps!! Thanks HowieSPM. for pointing me to DannyBrown. 's recent post (it was on my list hadnt gotten there till now).
Like I said over there...What is wrong with people these days??? It is a big part of what is wrong with the world today! Why oh why cant we respect each other and our opinions? Why cant we disagree but still be friends or at least cordial? Take HowieSPM. & I for example I am Blackhawk fan and he is *shudder* a Islander fan...but we can trash talk each other and still respect each other! ;p
I posted on Twitter a few months ago about a public attack I endured after replying to a design firms tweet for development help. This said holier than thou designer who asked for "development" help went on to publicly attack our designs (many of which were not ours, but our programming) and say we were not worthy of working with them because of it. I replied you asked us for programming not design, we never claimed to be designers. We went back and forth a bit and his final nasty dig was to say the following
"I'm not going to have a flame war with you because I chose to say you guys weren't a good fit. Nor am i going to have a mom from the suburbs tell me that I don't know technology. That's absurd. Ha. Good luck"
Seriously, why get so nasty??? It scares me for my kids the way the world is going sometimes!
@sydcon_mktg W.O.W. Someone actually threw that "mom from the suburbs" line at you? I simply cannot believe that. How RUDE. But you know what, when people say things like that, it reflects more on their mental make-up than anything else. But it's still hurtful.
i don't know why people get that nasty either. My theory is that it's inversely proportional to how much power they have, or think they have, over the situation. So the less power (I suppose you could substitute control), the nastier they get. Because, after all, if you DO have power/control, then you don't need to be nasty to get your way, do you?
I'm so sorry that happened to you. What a horrid experience.
@Shonali I was stunned...and he had the nerve to say "I was douching up social media"! Funny I have checked in on him occasionally all he does is attack other peoples designs or work and tell them he can "Fix it". Are their designs good...yes, the best ever, no. But in my opinion your first impression on a prospective new client or associate should not be attacking publicly.
@sydcon_mktg No, I agree that that's a bad first impression to make. Way to go to set the stage to get new business, LOL. I think that's a good rule of thumb when discussing other vendors/partners with clients as well (e.g. you're the new agency). There may have been a lot of things the old agency did wrong (in your opinion), but attacking them right off the bat isn't a really good way to go, and it's not professional either.
I am such a small fish that no one really cares what I do or say. I saw both sides of that recent bullying issue. thankfully no one cares what I do yet - but I am just now getting some attention. Someone actually tweeeted to someone else that I need a "follow button" on my blog.
I do have one. If you hit the 'recent tweets" its right there. Plus I don't know how to add plug-ins myself. I need skilled help for things like that.
I got off topic I think. I had too much coffee!
@NancyD68 I hear ya baby; I don't think anybody could give two squats if I have anything to say. One of these days maybe we'll be rich and famous and somebody will care other than our dog...........:)
@NancyD68 Um. I care.
@NancyD68 Let me just say this: you are NOT a small fish. Who's to say who's "big" and "small"? My dear, if you get what you need done, people help you out/do what you ask, when you ask, that's all you need. I won't get onto my favorite soapbox (ok, one of them) about influence being relative, but it really is. So you are not "small."
What help do you need with plugins? If it's self-hosted WordPress, I'm not too bad at that. Just tell me and I'll help you out as best I can (I'm still a learner myself, but FWIW, I *could* be of some help).
Drink some more coffee and come back, please. :)
@Shonali actually, I am working on getting myself moved over to the self-hosted site. I had to start on the free one before I came up with more excuses not to start. Now my blog is getting good traction, and it is time to move.
I will be back later to make fun of Howie's bad taste in baseball teams!
@NancyD68 Yes, your blog IS getting good traction, and I'm very glad for that. Well, just let me know any time you want to talk plugins!
Obviously @dannybrown reacted to a bully with his post yesterday. Which caused me to react to the bully.
I luckily don't experience any of this. But I would bet Mashable feels I am a bully because I incessantly call them out on their BS. I bet Guy Kawasaki might of felt I was a bully for teasing about him whenever I can in response to finding out he was a paid tweeter who never told his 'flock' he was sometimes shoveling paid tweets their way. Still to this day I refuse to know who he is and then explain to people why. But in my view I am just forcibly pushing for transparency and accountability. Because someone has to right? 8)
But I know bullying goes on, people have ego's, they feel slighted over dumb selfish reasons. But I take your tact @Shonali which is I ignore people like this. Even in the real physical world. My experience has shown nothing pisses off a bully more than ignoring them. Because in the end it is attention they seek. And being a Scorpio I tend to feel I can help them just a bit to enlighten that we all are equally important in this world...and yet none of us are that important when it comes down to it with very few exceptions.
So if you want to have fun send all social media bullies my way please because I love to go 'all gangsta on them' and send them home crying to their momma until they learn to behave hehehe
@HowieG PS - I was re-reading Danny's post and, honestly, that whole situation is over and more than enough has been said about it. To me, though, that's more about the civility of discourse... no? Certainly, there is an element of that in what I'm talking about as well, but what I mean is the ultimatum people give you if you do/don't do something. That is just ridiculous.
@HowieG The way you after go Mashable, I'm not surprised. Ha! But then, you wouldn't be you, would you? And we love you the way you are.
I think you're absolutely right about the ignoring approach. Also thank you for the offer... I might take you up on sending some bullies your way. They won't know what hit them, LOL!
Thank you! I've grown weary of the messages from users that come across as bullying in nature. It certainly feeds the "[social media tool] is like high school" concept as well. It makes so much sense for communication professional to test and experiment with the platforms in a variety of ways to see the various nuances for future reference. I also think it's wise to disagree and discuss the in's and out's of platforms so that we can all learn from successes and mistakes. And like you said, "...how boring would it be if we all agreed on everything, all the time?"
@Richie Escovedo Exactly. I really don't get the mentality of the people who feel that everyone just HAS to be like them, do exactly what they do, blah blah. Boring.
What is even more interesting is that they feel the need to tell you this. The very fact that they do that, I think, shows that they want you to notice them and their reaction, as @HowieG says. And ignoring them is the best way to deal with it, I think.
Awesome. For me, because I tweet a lot, or used to tweet a lot, I had people comment about it, or just unfollow me, because they couldn't figure out how to filter me out. For me, I follow a lot of people. Do I read them all? no. ONe person unfollowed me because he doesn't like baseball and I talked about the Phillies a lot. And this is a friend. His loss. Because I rarely talk baseball anymore, and my Twitter presence is less than half of what it was. Maybe a third.
I'm going to be me. Take me or leave me. I've got thick skin.
@KenMueller I am SO tired of the people who go, "I'm not going to follow you any more because you tweet about X so much." Um, ok. It's going to negatively impact my life... how, exactly?
It really is their loss. I'm learning to grow a thicker skin!
KenMueller see that is your problem Ken! The Phillies!!!!???? GASP! How can you be a Phillie fan?OK here is what you need to do. I have written down directions to heaven for you. Please don't tell everyone this is just for you 8)
Philadelphia, PA 1. Head east on S Penn Square/State Route 611 toward Avenue Of The Arts 0.2 mi 2. Slight left onto John F Kennedy Blvd 253 ft 3. Take the 1st right onto N Broad St 0.3 mi 4. Turn right to merge onto I-676 S 0.5 mi 5. Continue onto Vine St Expy 0.5 mi 6. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-95 N/Trenton and merge onto I-95 N 17.3 mi 7. Take exit 40 to merge onto PA-413 S/Veteran Hwy toward Bristol 2.1 mi 8. Turn left onto US-13 N/Bristol Pike 1.9 mi 9. Take the ramp to Penna Turn PikeToll road 0.8 mi 10. Take exit 359 to merge onto I-276 E toward New JerseyToll roadEntering New Jersey 1.3 mi 11. Continue onto New Jersey Turnpike ExtensionToll road 6.6 mi 12. Merge onto New Jersey Turnpike NToll road 8.7 mi 13. Continue onto I-95 NToll road 38.0 mi 14. Take exit 13 to merge onto I-278 E toward Goethals Bridge/Verrazano BridgePartial toll roadEntering New York 26.0 mi 15. Take exit 40 for Broadway toward Roosevelt Ave 0.1 mi 16. Sharp right onto Broadway 0.1 mi 17. Take the 1st right onto 72nd St 397 ft 18. Take the 1st left onto Roosevelt Ave 2.6 mi Citi Field12001 Roosevelt AveQueens, New York 11368
I will cover your tolls don't worry. 8)
@HowieG Ah. a Mets fan. I know your type. And I feel sorry for you. Very sorry.
@KenMueller LOL enjoy it my friend while you can! And being an honorable upstanding baseball fan I will admit that Philly has done an incredible job the last few years with the team. Next 3-4 years the NL East should be strongest Div in Baseball.
But I am petitioning Selig to require Hamels piych every game against the Mets for now on. Waiting on his call back. Anyday now he should respond.