Top 3 Anti-social Fakers to Avoid on #socialmedia

Little Red Riding Hood

You know how the famously dim-witted Little Red Riding Hood eventually busts the Big Bad Wolf for being an imposter? “My, Grandma, what big teeth you have!” and all that? Well, if little Red were active on social today, she might say something like this to the wolves she busted online:

“My, Grandma, what a big ego you have!”

In other words, social media is a lot like Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. That is, we may be slow, but we aren’t hopelessly thick. Fakers don’t generally prosper on social.

I was building out a new twitter list this week, to celebrate my peeps in the customer service (#custserv) community. List-building is a great exercise, because it lets you quickly catch up with the latest stuff your long-time friends are up to (new jobs, new books, etc), and it helps you become acquainted with strangers in your circle who will likely make good friends in the future.

…And there’s one more thing list building does, really well: it helps you bust frauds, Big Bad Wolves who want you to respect them when really you’d be wise to just shake your head and walk away instead.

No names necessary. I’m not in the business of trashing individuals’ reputations (companies, yes, but people only rarely). So I’m going to give you some general pointers instead, from the list-building exercise I went through this week.

I started with Vala Afshar’s Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter. I just went through, name by name, and made sure that each of them was on my new #custserv list. Vala is one of us – he has been actively involved in the #custserv community since his first day on Twitter, long before he became a CMO or one of the most popular contributors to HuffPostBiz. In short, Vala knows his people, and he did an outstanding job with this list. It’s nearly flawless.

Nearly. Three folks made the list that I take exception with. Each represents one personality you’ll find on social sites that are like the Big Bad Wolf: fakers you’d be well advised to avoid; people who don’t get what social is all about.

  • The Troll. This is the term we use for a negative polluter of discussions. In the case of the #custserv twitter community, there’s no taming or getting rid of this guy – believe me, a bunch of us tried several years ago, when #custserv was still new. He’s like a case of herpes. The best you can do is ignore each flare-up till it passes. It’ll be back, but hopefully not for a while.
  • The Tool. One dude in the top 100 list has a few thousand followers, but follows only five people. Five. He’s a social media tool: someone who takes himself much more seriously than anyone else does. Don’t be a tool.
  • The Broadcaster. Another dude has a few followers and follows many back, but looking at his tweet stream, all you see is his statements and links. He uses new media as a broadcaster, like twitter is a billboard or a TV station. That’s how we used old media. Not very social, is it?

Wait a minute! Just three people, out of 100? Really? How freakin’ cool is that?? Well done, Vala!

I think that’s a great final point to make in this post, to really drive home the fact that fakers rarely prosper. Out of 100 people, only three slipped through the cracks. That tells me that we humans are pretty damn good at quickly busting frauds and ignoring jerks. (Little Red Riding Hood as one possible exception). Not perfect, granted, but… well, I wish I were 97% successful at most things I try – avoiding junk food comes to mind. How about you?

If you’re a troll, a tool, or a broadcaster, I hope this post helps you to stop… umm… sucking quite so actively. If you’re a social newbie, I hope this information helps you spot these imposter wolves so you can steer clear – in all cases, just ignoring them is the best advice I have for you.

And if you’re aware of another must-avoid personality type I’ve missed, please let us know in the comments below. You’ll be doing us all a big favor.

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • Simple Developer

    Great and informative post! There are so many fakers online these days and if you don’t pay enough attention, you can easily be fooled! Great read!

  • Kate Rubick

    What’s the break point between sharing good/important 3rd party content and broadcasting?

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