Sunday, March 16

Elitism on Twitter

the known universe

An unfortunate dichotomy is becoming apparent on twitter. It is fast becoming evident that a gulf exists between us common folk, on twitter to enjoy conversation, community and discourse with others -- with ALL others -- and the Marketing Royalty who abuse twitter for their own astroturfing marketing purposes.

Susan Reynolds was one of the BIGGEST twitter snobs around until, hey, she has breast cancer. Thanks to the efforts of fellow astroturfing marketer Connie Reece, they managed to establish a twitter-based hack of a charitable organization, allegedly supporting the fight against Breast Cancer. Suddenly, with the spotlight on, the nose drops down to sea level, and she's Ms. Friendly.

It's sad that people would use such a real, truly needy cause merely to bolster their own reputation, building their list of clients along the way. It's also sad that someone could be such a selfish hypocrite.

I honestly hope Susan Reynolds' fight against cancer is fully successful. At the same time, I also hope she and Connie Reece never see a drop of new business again.

EDIT: GeekMommy/Lucretia, this is for you:



and definition of vitriol: Bitterly abusive feeling or expression.

If you feel there is vitriol in my post, you may need to pop out from under your rock and observe the world as it is.

19 comments :

Corvida said...

I wouldn't call it elitism, but it definitely is a sad thing to see and one that many fail to mention. Fortunately for me, I don't pay attention to these people nor do I think I follow them.

Andrew Badera said...

I was surprised today to be contacted by two different people about this subject, one quite a bit more publicly than the other. And then saw the tweets @jesatiu accrued from similarly-minded persons.

I thought maybe it was just me -- it often is -- but when you get that kind of unrelated, simultaneous supportive feedback on a position you've taken, it serves only to emphasize the correctness of your stance.

Michael O'Shaugnessy said...

As you know Andrew, I wasn't inclined to use Twitter any time in the near future. However, when I saw this post - http://www.calacanis.com/2008/03/15/free-macbook-air-if-i-become-the-number-one-user-on-twitter/ I simultaneously dropped my subscription to his very popular blog and reinforced my belief that twitter is essentially for knobs.

~!jesseloop said...

Michael,
I don't think Jason is an awful person or anything like that at all...i've seen a few references to him and his opinions and watched his stream a bit-i'd say he may get a little carried away from time to time, but all-in-all, I think Jason is one of the many valuable twitter assets.
Andrew, it is very ironic and interesting that I simply awoke deciding to rant to you (which directing at you was because of a tweet about being asked to remove your icon I witnessed a day or so ago) considering that you had been contacted by those "other" people you spoke of. Strange how the randomness of the world occasionally seems a bit more guided...that's all I'll say.
~!jesseloop

cerebreality said...

I've been learning that as well as I change who I am following on twitter. It seems there are a lot of different types of users on twitter, some good and others bad IMO. The marketing wanna-bes do get old, as do the follower collectors = "I have 5,000 followers and never update or respond to comments but I follow you to boost my numbers"

The Susan thing does sound shady. From how it read, it does seem like she was after some $$$. Cancer is incredibly expensive but if the hack of a charitable organization is just that, then yuck! You know, "if you're crappy to people when all is well, don't expect them to be there when you're hurtin."

Andrew Badera said...

@Michael: If you let Calacanis shape your view of ANYTHING, then the entire internet is for knobs. He's everywhere -- like toxic mold in New Orleans.

@jesse: I too was surprised when more than once person contacted me about this very same topic, and the original person was, well, simply surprising, period. Not someone you'd label a complainer. Someone who's kept quiet publicly on the topic.

@cerebreality: I don't recognize your name, welcome.

I think the fund-raising itself was legit, but I think the intent was more marketing than charitable.

Like any social network, there are people out there just to accumulate numbers, to tweak their ego, to show off to their clients, whatever weak reasoning they might have. However, I still rank Twitter far above and beyond MySpace, and yes, even Facebook. Signal:noise is muuuuuch better.

Andrew Badera said...

@cereb/profr ahhh ha saw your pic after I went to the new .com :) howdy!

lucretia said...

Wow.
This post really surprises me.

I'm not sure what happened or why you felt the need to post it - but it's so incredibly different from my experience that I'm boggled.

I didn't know Susan before the cancer diagnosis - and I'm not a "marketing snob" or really anyone of any importance except to my daughter, my family, and my friends.

A friend of mine twittered about Susan's cancer - I followed her - I helped out with the pea fund, and I got to know her over time.
I don't think she followed me back for awhile which was kind of understandable - the woman was sort of dealing with cancer and a sudden mastectomy - somehow, following back twitterers wasn't really high on her priority list.

But over the past few months - I've gotten to know Susan as a friend. She's talked to my 5 year old daughter on ooVoo - she's been there for me and been supportive and caring at a time when I'm surprised she has an ounce of strength to give anyone else.

The Frozen Pea Fund may have been inspired by Susan - but there are a lot more of us working on it because it's a cause we believe in and one that has touched pretty much everyone's life who has known one of the 1-in-5 women who will get it. Not a dime of that has gone or will go to Susan personally - and I kind of think you are really stooping low to suggest something like that.

I'm really blown away that you think a personal attack against someone like this is warranted - let alone needed.

Let's say Susan was this demonic snob you've portrayed her as - what's the point of posting this? To get her to change? To get people to not like her who do? What?

Honestly. It kind of makes me afraid to know you. Wonder how long it is before I become a target of this sort of wrath and vitriol.
:(

aka_Monty said...

I don't really mind too much that Susan Reynolds doesn't follow me back - but she's never once responded to any of my @s, and that DOES bother me. Same with any person, I guess...for me, common courtesy dictates that you acknowledge, at least once in awhile, that a person has "spoken" to you.

She ignores me, which doesn't make her exactly aces in my books.

Monica Willyard said...

I've been thinking about this issue for awhile now. I have a slightly different take on it though. In a way, I'm glad that some of the marketers ignore me or are actively rude to me. Here's why.

I signed up on Twitter for both business and pleasure. I'm responsible for the web presence of my family's small business. I also volunteer for a non-profit organization, and I want to network with other volunteers. I know that I have a lot to learn. What the marketers on Twitter didn't know is that I'm going to hire one of them in May to do some work for us. I wanted to find a person with integrity and who cares about people in general. I have made my decision about who we'll be hiring based on the behavior I have observed over the past month. In the scheme of things, our contract is small compared to a company like Hershey or Cisco. I suspect that small contracts like ours are becoming increasingly common and that Twitter will help to make or break some seo and web design companies based on how these professionals treat the people around them. Their corporate website may looked polished and helpful, but Twitter shows more about the person behind the slick image.

The person I have chosen is someone who responds to people and who has treated me with respect, even though I'm not his equal in technology. I have already sent five clients to him, and will continue to do so over time.

So maybe it's a good thing that some marketers were rude to me or just ignored me. It told me that I didn't want to waste my money by hiring them, and it told me who to send colleagues to for quality work.

I know that marketing professionals can't get to know everyone on Twitter intimately. There are too many people for that. Yet I find that some professionals do work out a way to follow people and respond to them. My parents taught me that if someone speaks to you, it's polite to answer. I wonder if the marketing people, or businesspeople in general, understand that the common folk are paying attention to them and will make decisions based on what we see. Some are so busy trying to tout their latest site or photo that they forget about actually interacting with the people who will pay for their services. That's a good thing though. It just means they are saying clearly that they don't want my business and don't make time to listen to customers.

Francine Hardaway said...

Children, children get over it! I have never seen elitism on Twitter. I met Susan through Twitter and we were friends before her diagnosis. She not only has cancer, but also fybromyalgia, and she had a stroke last tall. maybe she doesn't have enough energy to follow absolutely everyone! Why does it have to be about elitism? Or about you? Or about personality. Twitter is such a poor service for giving you all the tweets of someone you follow anyway that it could easily be a server error.

Life isn't about correctness of stances, it is about love and support. I find Twitter very supportive and loving, but I sure don't expect to hear back from Jason or Robert on a daily basis. Please examine why you are so angry. I follow you, but now I wonder whether YOU are the person I thought you were.

gotbob said...

talk about viral marketing...controversy always drives traffic. I am very surprised at the personal attacks...maybe it's just not my nature.

[shaking head] picking on cancer patients...do you kick puppies too?

lucretia said...

Well thanks Andrew.
It's good to know that my suspicions were on target - I disagree with you, post a rational response, and you meet it with personal attacks.

I misjudged you in the first place... if there's a close-minded snob around here, it's apparently you. Since you seem to be convinced whomever isn't with you is against you.

I'm honored to be in the same company as Susan then - as someone you don't know at all, but obviously hate enough to post about by name.

Unfortunately for you, I don't care enough to return the favor. I only came back because I had a conversation with @jesatiu that made me think perhaps I was judging you too harshly.
I wasn't.

I'll go "back under my rock" now and you can go back to railing on people you don't know at all.

Andrew Badera said...

Sure gotbob, I kick puppies too -- if they're hypocrites and snobs. Fortunately dogs don't seem to have the same capacity for asshattery like this that certain humans display.

Andrew Badera said...

Lucretia, you're big headed but small minded, not to mention thin skinned. I've already bid you good day, but apparently you insist on having the last word. Not surprising, just another echo of your personality.

Andrew Badera said...

francine: the person you THOUGHT I was? I'm the person who shut up about this for months, until Susan's hypocrisy and snobbery reared its head in a proactive fashion one too many times, and THEN I was the person privately contacted (by over half a dozen individuals now) by people who share this view, but are afraid to speak out for fear of being maligned by the Marketing Clique.

Twitter: for everyone, not just for marketers and snobs. If someone ignores ALL @s from us "little folk", if someone makes pointed, public judgments about others' personal choices and speech, they're a snob, and in Susan's case, even a hypocrite.

Soren B. said...

Interesting thread. The comments moreso then the post, actually. I do not know Susan personally (although I posted a blog entry about the frozen pea fund some time ago), so I cannot comment much on her.

However, I'm curious as to why you would call the frozen pea fund "hacked". When I visited the "fund" was merely a re-direct to a well established charitable organization. Perhaps it is just the fact that it is sort of an "affiliate" (although not, to the best of my knowledge receiving any kick back) relationship that bothers you?

Side note: In the connotative terms of our current lexicon (that means: in the words of today) vitriol is a perfectly chosen word for your post . Simply lobbing angry non sequitur's in someone's direction, without substantive support can really only be looked at in this light. Whether you're right or wrong in your accusations, this is still the case.

Anyway, I am quite interested in your response to the question of why you take umbrage with the charity.

Roger R said...

I have no clue as to what twitter, facebook, or any of this other blogging claptrap is all about. In fact this is the first attempt I have made at posting a comment.

I arrived at the initial post by happenstance from doing a Google search on Connie Reece's name. The negative tone caught my attention, so I decided to read the thread that followed.

You have so misjudged the character and intent of Connie Reece. I have known her for more than a half century. There is not a member of the species with purer motives and a genuine concern for others.

The "side note" of the previous post could not have described your post with more clarity.

Makes an "outsider" to this blogging/social network stuff wonder what you are really all about.

Francine Hardaway said...

Twitter is a nit compared to cancer. Both Susan and Connie are fighting chronic disease, they are middle-aged women, and I can't imagine why you think this is a case of elitism. Myself, I follow the people who follow me, I try to answer, but I have work to do throughout the day, so I'm sure I don't answer every @ either. But don't project on to other people, please. Especially when they are sick. FPF is now a legitimate 501(c)3, which takes a while to do because of the IRS, and in the meantime they used what is known as a fiduciary agent to hold the money.