Why are you using Plurk? Are you an angry teenager who wants to show off to his friends with his karma score or are you an internet marketer, engineer, designer, consultant or enthusiast? Are you looking to for another ego stroke that does nothing for you or are you looking to make new connections and create?
Connections are what social media is all about in my mind. Everyone that I know on Plurk now was always online; I just never knew how or where to contact them. Now it’s easy you simply join their conversation and if you feel like it even add them as a friend. That’s how relationships are built; mutual respect.
What kind of stuff can go down through social media? Here’s an example; you run a large resource in a niche and find someone else with a similar one. You talk a bit over social media then go straight to the phone. The result? A new collaboration between two companies that work well together. Another example; meet some people from your niche who are an authority. Just because you aren’t known yet doesn’t make you any less competent. Connect with these people and give them something of value for their site and in return you get added exposure. This is through networking; making friends.
The problem with fans is you’re basically saying I don’t think I’m on your level but I want to follow you. How is someone going to treat you as their peer if their first encounter with you is as a fan? No mutual respect there.
I’m writing this after the wake of the DoshDosh friend list; brilliant idea. Frankly I wish I had come up with it. Imitation is a form of flattery so I made one specifically for bloggers. Basically the letter said looking for friend come here add your name and add the people then replurk. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Being in a hotel room without much to do (convenient as I would of done it anyways) I added everyone that was on the list. My network grew ~120 friends. 100 of them was in the first hour; the additional 20 happened over the course fo the evening while I slept. Not to my surprise my karma went down. Why? I’m sure many people on the list did this to many others which is instead of accepting a friend request they fanned the people to build their karma. Ironically my karma went down. I guess it’s not cool to meet 120 new people in one day? Also why would you add your name to a friend list if you don’t wanna be friends?
What has karma ever given you? What will it ever give you? Carpal Tunnel? Thinking deeper maybe I’m not the type of user that the developers of Plurk had in mind. I heard somewhere it was meant for teenagers and it even says “share your emo-ness” on the main page. Emo’s aren’t known for being overly extroverted. When I hear emo I think of some kid with hair over his face, acne, a striped scarf and stocking on his arms…
Now to the issue of karma; what am I really getting beside an ego stroke I don’t need? More emotions to be abused? Maybe one day being in the top 10 interesting plurkers which might I add I think is ridiculous. It’s not interesting people; it’s who has the most karma. Supposedly your karma goes down if you plurk over 30 times. What’s a plurk? Is it a new plurk or a plurk response? Each one of them is actionable by clicking “PLURK” so I have no clue. Should I worry though?
My beef with karma is there is too much importance on it; it’s just another totally useless web metric that people use to assume value or influence. Alexa is the best comparison I can think of to compare karma to. People post all the time on webmaster forums about how can I increase my alexa. Why do you care? Why aren’t more people asking “How can I meet new people”, “How can I increase my reach”, “How can I generate more sales?”. You have to make a decision in your online life much like your offline one; what’s important to me? Why am I spending time doing X when the rest of the alphabet is open to me at any time? If it’s to build karma or alexa it’s an exercise in futility in my mind. The fantasy is better then the reality; trust me I’ve been there. I remember before the latest algo change to Alexa I was having days as low as 11,000. Wanna know what’s funny? My traffic was way higher when my alexa was higher. Reason being it only calculated traffic based on who was using the toolbar; this is totally out of whack with reality. Same applies for Karma.
When you add someone or think of adding someone as a friend on Plurk do you hessitate about your karma? Don’t! Who cares if you don’t have a dancing banana or a guy whose eyes light up with money signs. That being said I do think the rock and roll one is pretty cool.
So make a decision on why you are using social media. If it’s an ego stroke go for it but if it’s to generate discussions, make new associates, poll your peers or further your reach online focus on what matters and that’s making genuine connections with new people in this social space. Finally I think fans are creepy; why would you want to follow me with never saying hello or interacting? Are you that introverted that even online you don’t want to talk to someone you find interesting? If I’m not interesting why are you fanning me? Some of your best friends tomorrow could be someone you meet today. Many people I speak with everyday now and do business with to some extent or another I met on social media in the last few months. You’ll never know unless you try; what matters to you?