When I decided to set up this site and share my thoughts and short stories with you all, I realised that I would have to ride the social media whore. So, I picked The Facebook and the Twitter thing. The reason I picked them, in fact the reason that I decided to do them at all was to be, guess what? Sociable. Yes, to give my followers (all four of ‘em) an insight into my personality, share some interests and now and again alert people when a short story or blog goes live. But mainly it was to share and see opinions, mine and other people’s. I also believe that provided that I do my research I can learn something. Instead I get bombarded with offers from people trying to sell me stuff.
So here is where the whore gets sloppy. Imagine that you are backstage at a concert, let’s pretend that Billy Idol is doing a gig and you have a backstage pass. So after the show, you get shown to large greenroom there’s a bit of buffet, some booze laid out on a banquet table covered with green baize and people are milling about air kissing and arse kissing. Then you see the lad, his beautiful sculptured face, that peroxide barnet and the leather, ooh the leather. Rock God incarnate! And he hasn’t aged a day (I wonder what his skin routine is?).
You don’t get many moments like this, so you wander over. He smiles and gives you the nod, “Hiya,” he says, all rock starry. You are about to forget your days. Your mind is whirring like a supercomputer powered by AMD’s finest and you are trying to think of the cleverest, coolest thing you can say. Suddenly, he blurts out “I’ve got a book out on Monday and I want you to buy it. Friday it’s the greatest hits and two weeks on Monday the DVD to the gig you just watched is coming out. Buy them all, please. I really appreciate you being a fan, so buy my stuff. Cheers!” And just like that, he is gone. How would you feel? Probably a bit pissed off and very disappointed.
Now the smarty-pants wankers will be thinking well I don’t like Billy Idol anyway. Don’t be a dickhead swap him for someone you do like and play out the same scenario. The things is, a bar, backstage, a club, wherever, are places where we are sociable. That is social media too. The clue my friends is in the title. The reason why I am going around the houses here and the reason why I refer to my social media activity as riding the social media whore is because corporations and any old chancer are selling to me via social media. And I don’t like it. I follow someone and half a second later I get an automated message saying cheers for following me now buy my shit. Well, they can fuck off.
Use social media to be sociable. Point out things by all means, like; hey in three weeks I’ve a book out. Why not listen to my podcast?, but not on first contact. Develop a character, a personality. Give, give opinions, work, entertainment, funny clips and pictures of cats, movie trailers, anything! Just be a normal person, not an automaton that couldn’t make it at Currys. If you share and ask nothing, people may start to like you, and enjoy the things you post and share. They will begin to understand you and your motivation and if they like you, they’ll buy your book, record, painting or car, just to support you. Seriously it works, and automated messages are just bloody rude. So stop it.
I thank twitter for Terry Tyler, Brenda Perlin, Georgia Rose, Stephen Fry, The Green Wizard and a bunch of others who make my day with insights and fun stuff and have yet to sell me anything even though I have bought some of their works without any coercion. Books and downloads, I’ve bought them, because I kinda like ‘em and want to know more about them and what they are thinking.
Nick Mann implores you, use social media to be sociable, and kill the autobots, seriously, they suck arse and not in a good way.