I consider myself to be a very tolerant person, so there are not very many things in social media that irritate me. Of course all the mafia family, twit validation and auto DMs immediately get deleted each day, but that’s not really annoying. It’s more like simple housekeeping.
One thing I’ve noticed more and more though is people sending me tweets asking me to follow them back. The strange thing to me is that I go into Twitter every morning and follow back my new followers. Anyone that sends me that tweet hasn’t even waited a full 24-hour cycle in which time they would have been followed back anyway. Does that happen to you? If so, what do you think about that?
It got me thinking about our social media asking in general. Whether we are asking people to follow us back on Twitter, asking people to “like” our Facebook fan page, asking people for retweets or asking people to vote in online contests, we ask a lot in social media, don’t we? Does all this asking take away from the credibility of it all? Are we so full of ourselves that it’s just become one big popularity contest? If it simply comes down to whoever has the most followers or friends to help them out, what’s the point?
On the other hand, I am a fan of supporting each other in social media. What’s wrong with asking each other for help? Isn’t that what friends are for? Shouldn’t we be supportive of one another? We wouldn’t be offended if someone called on us the phone and asked us to like something on Facebook, so why do we have to be so sensitive online? As you see, I can understand both sides of the argument. Sometimes it reminds me of middle school. There was a popular lunch table where all the cheerleaders and football players sat, and there was a much smaller quieter table for all the introverts and shy people. I’ve sat at both tables before. I’ve lived both lives. I remember always wishing they would come together and be friends, but that never happened.
According to Alterian, a new study completed by Sarah Evans, social media consulting and owner of Sevans Strategy, looked at these social media asks and determined a few things. First of all, we ask in social media a hell of a lot. Secondly, we are asking our friends to do so many different things; it’s starting to be ineffective. People and brands are inevitably going to have to come up with more creative strategies to reach their goals than just asking.
Next, you’ll notice that a lot more asks take place on Twitter than Facebook; however, keep in mind, a lot of Twitter asks are asking people to like something on Facebook. Alterian used the data and research from Sarah Evans to compile this infographic below. I want to point out that even though there is a little bit of a breakdown by states in the U.S., these numbers are worldwide. You can read the specifics of the research to see exactly how these numbers were derived at Alterian.
At the end of the day, I come down on the side of asking. I’m happy to help my friends in social media, and I would be sad if they stopping asking me. I occasionally ask for myself. We are all one big happy social media family, and I like that we can ask each other. However, just like in real life, make sure you are asking friends. In other words, you have to engage and build the friendships first. Give first; ask second, that’s how it works in social media and in real life.