At Least ACT Like You Give A Damn

Sean Bohan‘s article, “The 50/50 Rule, Link Love & Reciprocity” starts out like this:

Sean: “The 50/50 Rule is something I started sharing with clients a while back. It’s nothing new or earth-shattering and TONS of individuals and companies are doing it EVERY SINGLE DAY. The idea is simple – to connect in the Social spaces where the users live, you need to spend half as much of your time talking about the users as you do about your brand/product/service/website/effort/whatever.”

This is an intelligent idea. At least ACT like you give a damn. People aren’t being taught this. All they’re being told is that there are new and wonderful technologies available on the internet that they can utilize to make money, and here they come, a-runnin’. I currently have 1,567 followers on Twitter. I’d say I get five (5) new followers every single day. Somebody told these people to put auto-responders on their Twitter accounts.

This means that when I go through my emails and follow a few people, I immediately get a “direct message” from them talkin’ ’bout:

  • Thanks for the follow!
  • See you on line!
  • Glad we’re in contact now!
  • Try my product @ [link]
  • Give me a break. If you can’t personally manage honestly and authentically responding to a couple hundred new followers on a Social Media site over the course of several months, either hang it up or hire someone to do it for you. NO response is better than a fake-ass automatic response.

    Now, I understand why people aren’t being taught what Sean posted about. A lot of “Social Media Experts” wouldn’t know this, because they never meet anybody…. other than clients, marketers and OTHER “Social Media Experts”. When you live like that, there’s no reason to understand the 50/50 rule, because everybody’s pitching everybody. Any time someone opens their mouth, you EXPECT them to talk about their business(es). Unfortunately, when you “network” with people in this fashion, you come off as what you are… a person who’s solely interested in making a buck. *yawn*

    Bill & Sylvia
    How to network properly

    I had a really funny situation happen probably a year ago at some “neworking” party, before the social media crowd figured out what I do.

    I was minding my business… as I love to do….. Enjoying the “sights of the party” and sipping my drink, when somebody that I knew before that day dragged some guy over to where I was standing.

    When I looked at the guy being brought over, I didn’t recognize him, but I *DID* recognize the look in his eye… it was this HOPEFUL look, like “I hope this contact really works out for my business!!! :O”. So I was like “Here We GO!!!” and kept sipping my drink:

    Mutual Acquaintance: “Bill… This is whomever”
    Me: “Hey. How’ya doin’?” *shakes hand*
    Whomever: “Hi” *shakes hand*
    Mutual Acquaintance: “Whomever, this is Bill Cammack, blah blah Social Media”
    Me: *sipping drink*
    Whomever: “I’m doing this startup that blah blah blah”
    Me: *sipping drink*
    Whomever: “blah blah blah blah blah”
    Me: *nodding & sipping drink*
    Whomever: “blah blah blah blah blah”
    Me: *checking out a chick & sipping drink*
    Whomever: “blah blah blah blah blah”
    Me: *feigning paying rapt attention & sipping drink*
    Whomever: “blah blah blah blah blah…….[finishes long, boring pitch]”
    Me: *still feigning paying rapt attention & sipping drink*
    Whomever: “……….”
    Me: *sipping drink & STILL feigning attentiveness, even though he’s no longer talking*
    Whomever: “So…. What do you do”
    Me: “I’m a video editor” *sips drink*
    Whomever: “……….” *INSANELY CONFUSED LOOK, like the end of the movie Se7en*
    Me: *sipping drink*
    Whomever: “So….. Why did I need to meet YOU?”
    Me: *sips drink* “I don’t know” *sips drink*
    Whomever: *walks away, still confused and probably embarrassed*

    See, that’s what you GET when your focus is COMPLETELY on what you’re trying to accomplish and not at all on the *PERSON* that you’re talking to. You can expand that to not focusing on the COMMUNITY or MARKET that you’re talking to. If all you’re bringing to the table is your pitch, you are a walking commercial. You are a pre-roll ad. You’re not the actual show. You are a representative of a company… Another brick in the wall.

    This is why, even if you’re not naturally inclined to do so, you should apply the 50/50 rule, and at least ACT like you give a damn.

    Also, instead of going out like a sucker, like the guy that ran his mouth on and on without knowing a) whether I could/would do anything for his company, or b) whether his company could do anything FOR ME… applying the rule will help you either tailor your pitch specifically to the person you’re speaking to or to SAVE YOUR BREATH when you realize your time and efforts would be better spent pitching someone who will actually be a beneficial business contact.

    On top of all that, the guy clowned himself by walking away when he figured out that I was not directly useful to his business. Way to make yourself look like you’re actually networking as opposed to swooping around like a vulture, trying to make a buck. :/


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    1. Bill –

      Thanks for the kind words. I think the problem is, we still have people using the same mindset with new tools. “Lets broadcast at them”, “users care about our brand”, “what do you mean this is different”.

      This thing of ours (to use a phrase from Tony Soprano) is different. Social Media “experts” are trying to get clients to do something different without changing their mindset – so of course there will be off-notes. Only 16% of the world trusts corporate blogs because they are CORPORATE. They feel corp’y, they feel sterile, they read like a press release, have no “soul” and don’t take the user “behind the curtain”.

      Its sad that there needs to be a rule, and its even more sad that when I define it some clients STILL dont get it (“they dont understand it, so they are buying eyeballs” – hurts me deeply). Does 50/50 need to be a rule in the real world? No. It is something you learn (or don’t) with immediate feedback. . I love the party example above because it is RIGHT ON! The most interesting people at a party aren’t the ones who talk about themselves constantly, but the ones who spend the most time telling stories and encouraging others to tell theirs. If all you do is “me me me me” you will notice NO ONE ends up spending any time with you.

      Its the same with companies and their brands. If every one of your twitter messages, blog posts, videoblogs, Second Life events, are ME ME ME, then the users will get tired and split. If you pay it forward, ACT like you give a damn, celebrate the people out there, then things get interesting, and people will give a damn back. Isn’t that the point?

      Thanks again

    2. You’re welcome, Sean. 🙂

      I think you hit the nail on the head in that marketers are being asked to switch over into a role that they’re not used to. They’re used to their product being the selling point. There was no reason for marketers to have any semblance of a personality whatsoever, because their job was to get the product in front of the potential client’s eyes.

      At this point, as you said, corporate blogs aren’t being trusted, which they shouldn’t, because they have an agenda… which is to get you to buy their companies’ products or services. The “funny” thing is that a lot of so-called ‘networkers’ have merely dragged their corporate blogs out into the street with them. They’re walking press releases. They’re tolerated because, like I said, everybody else is pitching too, so “people in glass houses”.

      I find this stuff so funny and obvious because I go to networking events to hang out with people that I like. I don’t get my business from networking events. I get my business from word of mouth. I haven’t carried business cards in ages. I only started telling people “Google ‘Bill’, I’m on page 1” as a joke, because people kept asking me for cards.

      It’s hilarious, watching people run around like they’re on the clock while I lean back with a brew and some friends, laughing about the day’s events…. I have to wonder… If that “walking press release” got laid off, would we ever see him or her EVER again?…..

    3. What was Mutual Friend’s reason for bringing Whomever over? Was that just a dump off? All the same it’s clear that Whomever has no basic social skills.

      What Whomever should’ve done, given that this is a networking event and not door to door sales, is asked you about yourself and what you’re into so that he can,
      b) Then through continued dialogue determine if Bill “Google Page One” Cammack has a need Whomever can fill or if Bill offers a service that Whomever’s employers might want to know about?
      In this case it sounds like he mighta’ got a little set up by mutual friend but he still could’ve apologized for chewing your ear off and spun it into a joke. AND offered to top off your drink. Whatever happened to building goodwill and playing it cool? If he’d done that right, the next time you saw him you’d be fist bumping and laughing about the gaff and maybe referring someone to him. The way he did it, he has to avoid making eye contact with you all night and pray you’re not telling your other friends what a noob he is.

      BTW – Bill, when I saw you IRL you were hammered and talking up a storm. I’m having trouble reconciling this data. 😉

    4. @Steve: Your comments are exactly on-point and exactly what I would have recommended for Whomever to do. 😀

      Maybe he’s learned by now, but at the time I met him, he was an idiot. He walked away looking just like you said, like a door-to-door salesman. He offered ZERO social value, whatsoever.

      Now, I guess it’s possible that he has his own 1,500 Twitter followers and 1,000 facebook friends and (last I checked) 600-some-odd MySpace friends and 200-300 linkedin connections… Except it’s incredibly unlikely. So, basically, he didn’t know who he was talking to when Mutual Friend brought him over. As far as people’s choice voting goes, I am #30 in the 2008 Silicon Alley 100. Of course, I was omitted from the official list, along with everybody else that I know, except for maybe David Karp & Dina Kaplan, so I don’t know why the fuck they even HAVE voting if they’re just going to pick whomever they like anyway.

      The point is that at that time, about a year ago, I knew 11 people on the People’s Choice “100 list” personally. There’s no telling how many I knew on the list this year. If “Whomever” would have carried himself properly, I would have pointed him in the right direction, because I have direct contact with all these people.

      Being that he carried himself like a drone, I let him run his mouth and went for the big internal laughs with “I don’t know”, when he asked me why he needed to meet me. I can STILL see his uber-confused grill, hahaha. I wish I could remember who ushered him over so I could ask them WHAT IT WAS that they told this guy I did. 😀

    5. I am waving a testifying/praise hand and saying AMEN because your are speaking the truth. I get it, hopefully CORPORATE and everybody else selling/pitching can get it too.

    6. Bill,

      You are absolutely right. The irony of that story is that just because you are a “video editor” doesn’t mean that there couldn’t have been a mutually beneficial relationship between you and Whomever. You are after all “Emmy Award Winning Freelance Video Editor Bill Cammack”. Whomever doesn’t know who you know or the kind of work you’re doing. These folks will always be at networking events and they don’t get it. They completely miss out on the true power of networking.

    7. Kenya,
      Don’t forget, Bill is also an MIT grad and a Dating Coach. Whomever missed an opportunity to get hooked up with a robot or a girl. 😉

    8. @Soulpowr: “You Could Get A Witness!!!” 😀

      It’s just kind of creepy when these “walking press releases” are always pitching in supposedly SOCIAL situations, and then it actually becomes FUNNY when they switch companies, because they don’t skip a beat in hawking some new product.

      It’s like, dude (chick)… Are you REALLY on the clock @ midnight with a drink in your hand? Nice life. :/

    9. @Kenya: Absolutely. Dude limited himself by his own understanding of how his business might have been helped. He came “to the table” with a limited idea of what he could have taken away as a “win”.

      Having said that, “Mutual Friend” didn’t do him any favors by bringing some guy over to pitch me something while I’m minding my business, enjoying a drink and checking out chicks. You’ve got to be KIDDING ME! I didn’t *ASK* anybody to bring me pitchers! 😀

      If he wants editing and he has the proper budget, fine, send him over. We can hammer that out right quick and I can get back to what I was doing.

      I think Steve might have had a point, that the introduction was actually a dump-off, and Mutual Friend was getting rid of the guy at my expense, hahaha.

      Now, if people recognize me from my flickr stream or from DatingGenius, that’s fantastic! I’m always glad to meet people that want to chat or debate about stuff, because a) it’s RELEVANT and b) it shows that they actually KNOW WHO THEY’RE TALKING TO, or at least recognize me and understand the reason why they’re speaking to me.

      The bottom line is, if you’re always selling your product, that’s who you’re going to be seen as… one of those foot-in-the-door encyclopedia salesmen. Nobody’s trying to hear that ish when they came to have a good time and socialize. However, if you appply the 50/50, you MIGHT just make a friend who MIGHT be willing to get your information to people who actually CAN and WILL help you achieve your goals.

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