It's inevitable, when something becomes popular, someone else will try to rev it up artificially, like social media. The problem with gaming social media, however, is that the whole stream could become inflated with phoniness, making it harder to winnow "real" followers and sources from phony ones and making the Web social scene a chancy one.
That would be a shame. Wired is doing a service by warning about "Gaming the system: How Marketers Rig the Social Media Machine." We'll leave the gory details to those interested in them -- at least you should be mindful of what's out there in terms of anti-social promotions.
But Wired's bottom line is worth keeping in mind: "Marketing has always been a crucial, necessary part of the media. On one hand, why shouldn’t it be part of social media? On the other, the social fabric of social networks -- precisely the element that makes them valuable to marketers -- will deteriorate if we can’t trust the people and numbers we see there."
We hope you'll build followings one by one, based on shared interests and personally experienced insights. Doing so can keep social media strong for valid public relations goals -- building worthy relationships. Online or off, relationships need to be genuine, or at least invited on a genuine basis.
It's all about trust.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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