Thursday, November 11, 2010

Memo FR: The "Yr Doing It Wrng" Dept

You remember how to write a business letter, don't you? Your name and address in one corner, the date, then further down, the title, name and address of the person you were addressing.

Your business letter began with an intro - "Hello, my name is...I am writing to in regards to...." It ended with "Sincerely," your name, contact info.

Nowadays, that's all old news, right? No one does that anymore. Email and Twitter means we can jump right in and tell people what we want. Everyone knows that!

Except...that is simply not true. In fact, in this day and age it's even more important than ever before to provide people with context for your communication.

I received an email this week. The person introduced themselves, told me that they were working for an organization I am aligned with and that, because they could see that I was active in Social Media, I should retweet their communications.

I stopped when I got to this line, I admit. Okay, intro, check. In regards to, check. You're getting paid to do a thing, so I should retweet you? I re-read the line a few times, trying to see where the connection was.

Then I backed up. This was an email.

An email from someone hired to do Social Media.

An email from someone who saw that I was active on Social Media.

Telling me to RT their tweets.

I stared at this concatenation and my first thought was to Tweet this response: "Re: Yr email. Yr doing it wrng."

Obviously, I did not. I have not yet replied to the email, either. I probably will not reply, because this person is a professional. You can tell, because they are getting paid for this. I know that because they told me so. This person emailed to tell me that they are being paid by this organization to do their Social Media.

A business letter is more than just a communication - it's a proposal. This person failed in the part three of good business letter writing. There was nothing at all in this for me. Sure, retweeting is a matter of hitting a button, but...why? This is their job, they are getting paid to be the Social Media expert. They were not talking with me on Twitter, building a relationship with me. They aren't even communicating *at* me on Twitter. And like so many people who presume to know what's good for me, they forgot to ask for a favor. They just told me - you like Organization A, so you should Retweet me.

On behalf of all people who have been subject to this kind of ham-handed misuse of Social Media, I would like to offer advice to companies who hire "professionals" who can't be bothered to talk with people and build relationships, who obsess about quantity rather than quality, who build metrics, rather than relationships:

You Are Doing It Wrong.
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