336 Can You Automate Your Way To Relationships? Information Overload & Other Social Media Annoyances

by Cliff Ravenscraft on December 5, 2013

Too much attentionIn this week’s episode of Podcast Answer Man, I asked Erik Fisher to join me for the whole show to discuss more thoughts related to what we started to discuss in episode 335, related to how Twitter seemed to be losing losing sight of what originally made it so useful in building relationships.

This topic sparked quite a discussion on my Facebook post linking back to last week’s episode. You can see that full discussion by clicking here. We used this discussion as a basis of continuing our conversation about what we share on social networks, scheduling automatic updates, frequency of automated posts and so much more.

We are not stating what we feel others “SHOULD” change how they choose to use social media sites like Twitter. Instead, we are simply sharing very real feelings that we have had as a result of what have been experiencing in social media. From the conversations that I’ve had with others, I know that we are not alone in how we feel about Twitter’s evolution toward becoming an “information network.”

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  • JeffBrown

    I really appreciate the analysis you and Erik offered today. Thanks also for the many kind things you had to say about me and my use of Social Media. 
    I respect you and Erik a great deal and the work that you do.

  • JeffBrown I meant everything GSPN said.

  • JeffBrown

    ErikJFisher JeffBrown GSPN Ha!

  • JeffBrown Jeff, I too, meant everything I’ve shared about how much I admire your personal approach to social media.  I love how you focus on building relationships and go the extra mile to encourage others!

  • I suspect that the folks knew you unfollowed them because they use the Social Fixer extension for the Chrome browser, which keeps track of your unfollows.

  • chazzbro Interesting.

  • As usual, another great PMM show. There is a ‘hard truth’ in this show that new comers to social media need to here.   I have a few other thoughts.

    – Where someone is in their life (business and social media wise) will impact their use.  Cliff does much less promotion through twitter than he has previously.  I believe that has much to do with where he is today (business and financially) than where he was 36 months ago.  And maybe, just maybe, his more aggressive marketing through SM helped him get where he is today. 

    – I don’t follow FoxNews to build a relationship, I follow them to get news (a push or broadcast of content).  I also follow Clayton Morris (a Foxnews Host), because I like him a personality and I have interacted with him on Twitter.   My point, there is an opportunity on SM to create cleaner lines interaction.   My new podcast, TalkingDrupal, has a twitter account.  I use that account to post (broadcast) Drupal information a few times a day, but relationship building is with my personal twitter account.  Cliff, do you think there would be value in providing links to podcasting related content on a regular basis through a PodcastAnswerMan account?

    – My Twitter Annoyance – when someone I follow goes to a conference and starts tweeting out 25 things a day related to the conference they are attending.  


  • stephencross Stephen, these are all wonderful points.   

    There is a part of me that would agree that some of my very “aggressive” marketing in Social Media had an impact on my success.  However, even in my most aggressive campaigns, I do feel that I had included a great mix of the “personal” interactions as well.   Also… Knowing what I know today, I think I could have gained some pretty good results with less frequent posting during some of those times when I was promoting stuff.  

    As you know, I’m not opposed to sharing links in tweets and even marketing my own stuff.  Heck, I’m still not opposed to a major push for a product over a week, where I may actually post random reminders of something multiple times per day for an entire week.   However, I do think that I would limit such posts to no more than two or three a day and I would not allow this to be something that is a part of my posting process for week after week, month after month.

    I guess I should have stated that most of what I’m talking about in this episode is where you are following a PERSON on Twitter and that PERSON is using THEIR NAME as their Twitter Handle.    So when I [email protected] [email protected] for example….   I follow you guys on Twitter with a desire to get to know you guys on a deeper level.

    I think it is totally appropriate [email protected] [email protected] to obsessively post links to INFORMATION ONLY.   Yes, even podcasts and such.  I follow a few accounts for “information only.”  Actually, I have chosen not to do so and instead have such accounts on PRIVATE LISTS that I can look at when I am ready for more information to consume. 🙂  But you get the idea.

    I had considered creating an account for my brand only, but I would [email protected]   Twitter won’t allow me to put the “n” at the end. 🙁

    Besides, for now, I am PodcastAnswerMan and PodcastAnswerMan is me.   That may not always be the case.  I can see a day when PodcastAnswerMan is a brand that I oversee. But we’re talking at least two years, or more, into the future.  At that time, I will be in a different place and will create a note strategy at that time.

    I totally agree with the going to the conference people.   I try to always start those tweets with ConferenceID so that only those who follow that account see them and I use the #ConfHashTag so those who are following that tag can see all my conference tweets.  Most people don’t understand these things, and to know how this would avoid tweet overload to their followers.

    Same is true for TWEET CHATS!   *YUCK!

  • Cliff Ravenscraft stephencross

    As usually – Cliff giving 150% on any and all online interactions.   Thanks for the feedback and clarification.  We are on the same page.  There is a place for broadcasting in SM, and that should not be ignored. 


  • stephencross Absolutely!

  • FestivalReviews

    Very good episode again today. You articulated a lot of the things I’ve been thinking about, particularly the amount of links received in Tweets I send, and  receive.
    As you said, who has the time?

    Also, I always enjoy it when you deconstruct your personal strategy for leading contacts through the “purchase funnel,” for lack of a better term. I saw one of your “Black Friday Discount” Tweets mentioned in the podcast. I wasn’t searching for it, but appreciated the discount and purchased a tutorial.

    Although the year over year comparison isn’t scientific, it seems that this year’s “less is more” strategy was successful. Next year’s results could add validation to that notion.
    Thanks for the thought provoking podcast, and the discount.

  • FestivalReviews Thanks so much for sharing your feedback on this episode.  Thank you for following me.  And thank you for the purchase of my product(s).   So thrilled that the conversation got you thinking about your own approach to social media, even on “information networks.” 🙂

  • I just finished listening to this podcast and thought it was great.  It harvested some feelings that I’ve had about Twitter and caused me to just take immediate action.  I have been guilty of trying the follow/unfollow techniques and my stream has been so busy that I really just stopped. I haven’t taken the time to make lists, but I will in the future.  

    I tried Paper-li for a few reasons, but one of them was to have a daily digest for me of some topics that I am interested in, and I thought it would be cool to use the automated autopost feature where it highlighted people’s posts.  

    Turns out that I feel somewhat guilty when they say thanks, and I really didn’t have any real process in selecting their post!!  Back when I started out, and was just doing this for fun, I developed some good relationships with people both in business, and other areas.  

    After this episode I’ve begun the process of taking my account back, and unfollowed almost 400 people so far, and plan to reevaluate how I use Twitter.

    Thanks for the podcast!


  • I also have implemented some of these changes. Last year, I went and deleted a bunch of fake followers. But I still would continue to follow people I didn’t know if they followed me…as long as they seemed to have a feed of reasonable quality content. But, as I am very much suffering from information overload anyway, I am not only following people for which I have particular respect who I want to listen to, or people who at least occasionally engage in give-and-take. I am tired of links to follow. If I follow one or two of someone’s links every few months, that’s not enough to justify their presence in my follow list. I’ve dumped about 30 people so far, and will do more when I have some time.

  • Hey Cliff – any chance you’ll be coming to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX in 2014? I missed you in November and am super bummed. Would love to know when you’ll be in my area again.

  • TonyGElam Thank you so much for sharing how this conversation has impacted your use of Twitter.  I wish you continued success as you bring more of the social back to this once social network. 🙂

  • Charity Kountz I don’t have any plans for Dallas in 2014 just yet.  However, if an event comes up, I’ll certainly be talking about it on PAM.  So sorry we missed each other this time around. 🙂

  • I could not agree more. I listen to your social media segments and find that I do not use social media in a way that most people would find engaging. I use social media for the express purpose of engaging with people of like interests. I like learning from others, but do not feel the impulse to “spam” them with everything I do personally or with my business.

    I do not engage constantly every day. I engage when I have something “real” to say. The use of social media is a great gaping pit that can suck too much time away from doing those things that are most important. I use it sparingly and with a bit of trepidation. 

    I un-follow or simply do not follow those who I feel will try to take my time away from what I need to be doing. My inbox is treated the same way. A little bit goes a very long way for me. 
    I am glad to hear that there are others who are consciousness about how they use social media.  Over connection is not quality connection. I prefer quality.

  • TimothyV “I prefer quality.” WELL SAID!

  • chazzbro Thanks for sharing your experience.  We may just start a Twitter Revolution. 🙂

  • Cliff Ravenscraft chazzbro Hey Chazz – you might look into an app called SocialBro for the PC. It’s made it a lot easier for me to keep my twitter followers “clean” if you will. It helps me see who’s following me and who’s not. But most importantly it tells me who is active and who’s not, which is a critical factor to me. If someone hasn’t posted in the last few months, I block them as inactive to lower my risk of being spammed (a lot of the inactive accounts get hacked). This has really helped me eliminate bloat in my followers/following and lists. It takes a little maintenance (I do it about once a month) but has really helped a lot. Might help you with your feeling of being overwhelmed. Good luck!

  • Charity Kountz Cliff Ravenscraft chazzbro Thanks Charity. Will definitely check that one out! 😉

  • Charity Kountz Cliff Ravenscraft Just used SocialBro to dump another 40 people. Am now down under 200, which is pretty livable for me. I have a bunch of people in the industry in which I work who have exchanged follows reciprocally, or I could probably drop a few dozen more. But I feel like it’s more manageable now, and I can abandon the list on which I’ve depended for awhile.
    I feel like my content is generally decent. It’s all ME and my taste, anyway…so, at least it’s authentic in that sense. 😉

  • chazzbro Charity Kountz Cliff Ravenscraft Awesome Chazz! Glad it helped!

  • Hi Cliff,
    A few (un)related points:
    1. I think that the Social media game has changed (again?).  The early adopters of the ‘content forwarder’ got a lot of traction because they were prescreening the content for there followers.  If the content was screened properly it was adding a lot of value because it saved me from reading the same low level stuff that is everywhere and instead cuts to the issues I need to hear about.  Now everybody is forwarding everything and it is so much noise.  Now IF I go to twitter, I do a search on a hashtag to get to what I am looking for.  Not much different that doing a google search.  For me at least,  I usually have a goal when I am on line.  ie I need info on this.
    2. It is also should be a conscious decision whether to ‘follow/friend’ only close friends, friends, acquaintances, or anyone that could be a customer.  If you follow your brother and you get pics of your nieces and nephews every other day you like it.  If you get pics of my kids every other day you are annoyed.
    3. Why would I want to follow Cliff?  A>He is a Podcast Guru and he keeps me up to date on podcast related news. (products,conferences, books….)   B>He forwards stuff that I generally like although it is not focused on a topic (news, recipes,interesting articles.  C> I want to see pics of his kids, learn about his dating habits….  D>I don’t really read his stuff.  I want to get through him to his network of followers.
    4. Remember when email was for forwarding the latest joke, funny cartoon, or inspirational story.  It was great until it wasn’t.
    5. I don’t think anyone can build a two way relationship with more that 50 to 100 people.  Those are the people that you want to know about ‘their day’.  Usually close friends and family.  If you have thousands of followers then thing are going one way.  I listen to your podcast so I know about you,  But you do not have a channel that goes back the other way.  You probably won’t follow me until you have kids in high school that are looking to go to college.

    I do like that you and Erik are open about what you are doing with social media.  I find helpful when I think about my Social Media strategy.
    Keep up the good work,

  • Misty Gilbert


    I found your podcast very interesting, on multiple levels.  I have several thoughts and my comment is likely to be lengthy, I apologize, but I want to share a few things with you.  My comments and input will be simply my experience and personal preference, and you or others may agree or disagree, this is your option!

    I was suprised you felt you should not have done a podcast on this topic.  I believe anything that is worthy of providing information to us in relationship to business and life, is a worthy topic.  Business and personal lives overlap and to try to keep them 100% separate is asking for us to try to be two different people.  I believe from the response you have gotten, you can tell it was a good topic to have discussed!

    I met you in November 2013 at the Platform Conference.  We never got to talk very long outside of one of the meals at our table, though I had mentioned I wanted to talk further, we were unable due to the time constraints and other conversations already in the works.  Your content and approach to business was very intriguing to me, hence why I connected with you on all Social Media Platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook).  I wasn’t sure you would accept my friend request when I saw you only have a personal page, you do not have business Fan Page, but I sent the request anyways.  I wanted to learn more about you, your thoughts, and the feedback and comments that came from the topics.  I don’t know if a Podcast is relevant to my market and client base, but either way, I want to learn more about it.

    Facebook allows us to have personal pages, with up to 5000 friends, and Fan Pages with an unlimited “friend”/fan count.  Facebook rules technically state you are not to use your personal page for any business or marketing purposes, but it is violated all the time.  The only way Facebook does anything about it (that I am aware of) is if someone reports you as SPAM.  I have both types of pages.  I know some people only accept friend requests from/with people they truly consider “friends” that they want in their inner circle and then you have people who will connect with anyone and everyone.  Personally, I connect with anyone I meet that I feel has the qualities and characteristics I want to have as apart of my inner circle.   If I learn later you are not that type of person or you only want to sell me, I do one of two things, I either delete you (which I rarely do – I have done 3 times) or more than likely will change my settings so I see none of your posts.  If people used Fan Pages to engage with their audience on a personal level it might resolve what we are looking for and the conflict created between personal pages and Fan Pages.  I find people who only have a Fan Page to promote themselves, their product or their service are not looking to get to know their audience outside of creating more material to market to them, hence why it is hard to have a relationship with them.  Relationships are two way streets.  I always ask myself:  What makes you think someone wants to hear you if you don’t want to hear them?  Many times, Fan Pages get so big that they don’t have the time to respond to people, so they then hire people to manage their Facebook page.  When you get to this level, though I am sure it is what they wanted, to me you have lost the personal touch once again.  I will give you two examples:

    Michael Hyatt’s page is a Fan Page.  You rarely see any personal side of Michael on it, it is links to all his blog and materials.  He has Rebecca and others who post for him.  Michael doesn’t comment or like on my comments.  You will only know Michael if you read all his material on the blog, and that will not necessarily be on a personal level.

    Chris LoCurto and I are friends on a personal level and I am also a fan on his Fan Page.  His posts are generally (though not always) are automated and I have to click the sublink to get the full message.  Even though Chris and I are friends on a personal level, he doesn’t comment, like or engage on my posts.  He wants to build a tribe, a following, his brand.  I love him dearly, but there really is not an engaging relationship building of a personal connection even though we are “friends” on Facebook.  Partly because we are states apart, partly because he is very focused on building his platform and business, and partly because he is lightyears ahead of me in business.

    I find Twitter to be a bunch of noise.  I find very few people put their thought out in the 40 character limit and when you make me have to click another link to read what you have to say, you have lost me.  I find Twitter does not build relationships.  It simply is a platform to say what you want.  I can find all the information I want on Google, why do I need to use Twitter to find a particular topic?  The goal of many people is just to get noticed and the more the person Tweets and reTweets the more they feel they are out to say something and get a following.  I use Twitter to get my blog posts out and when I am at a conference like The Platform Conference, I use it to tweet and hope I win something as Twitter is the main social media platform these events pull from and encourage over Facebook (even if that is a peeve of one of your other commenters).

    I would ask:  What is your goal with your Platform?  Are you building relationships?  Do you consider a Fan Page a relationship?  Are you wanting to just share information?  Are you wanting to obtain a following?  I believe a lot of business and society have lost the importance of a personal connection and what that does to encourage someone above and beyond a dollar made.  What we use Social Media for today may change in the future.  Just like life, it changes.  We have to learn to adapt and what isn’t working be willing to stop and say what do I need to change to get the results that I want.  This is what you have done.

    I know I struggle with wanting to support all my friends and people I believe have character and a great product/service.  The issue with doing that is then your news feed becomes overloaded unless you know how to manage it.  I attempt to do this by controlling my settings.  I may or may not want what you have to offer.  It may or may not help me in business, so I will like your Fan Page, but may not follow the feed.  Until recently, you could manage that with your friends posts too by the settings “Show In News Feed” and then filtering by all, most, or only important.  That feature has gone away a week or so ago and you now only have follow or unclick it to not follow.  I have found that just because you choose follow, doesn’t mean you will get the content in your news feed, which is how I learned I had been deleted as one of your Facebook friends, I wasn’t seeing your content even though your settings for each post were set to public.  You are correct that Facebook does not alert you to fact that someone deleted you, I didn’t receive an alert, however the people I want to follow I check up on their wall to make sure I stay connected, not just wait for what appears in my news feed.  I am not into tracking my number of friends, I want relationships with people that I can learn from, be encouraged by, and support.  Fan Pages have a hard time doing this but I believe that is largely because people don’t know how to engage with their audience on a personal level.

    I wish you the best in business Cliff!  It was a pleasure to meet you and hear you at The Platform Conference!

  • Misty Gilbert  Thanks for the feedback with your thoughts related to the topic that we discussed in this episode. My main hesitation about whether or not I should speak about this topic is that there is someone that I follow, that I am very good friends with, who listens to Podcast Answer Man who actually does 90% of the things we complained about in the episode. I simply didn’t want to offend this person.

    I think that the most important thing is that we do ask ourselves “Why do I want to use this social platform” and then also, what impact do I want what I share to have on those I am connected to… Or do I care. 🙂

  • I’ve never used any service to automate tweets, preferring to be a little more spontaneous, and have found this approach grows followers organically.  However, after listening to the podcast, I’ve been paying more attention to the amount of links I post and to make sure I include a brief comment saying why it resonated with me.  

    Thank you to you and Erik for raising these points – a lot of food for thought here.

  • cottageguru It’s amazing how the extra explanation of how it resonated with you adds a “personal touch.”  Thanks for the feedback Heather.

  • Brad Baldridge  Brad.  Thanks so much for your feedback.  

    Have you heard about Dunbar’s Number?  Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number

    Anyway, it says that we max out at about 150 people as far as it comes to the number of “meaningful relationships” that we can have at any one time in our lives.

    On Twitter, I follow 75 people.  Not all of the people I follow reciprocate.  There are a few “celebrities” that I follow that may never have a two way relationship with me.   However, I do occasionally respond to one of the sharks from Shark Tank.  It’s no big deal either way, but I am still inspired by these multi millionaires and billionaires.   My favorite tweets are their personal ones.  Just like what I talked about in these episodes.

    For example, Mr Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary isn’t only focused on “the money.”  He has many interests.  It was through Twitter that I learned that he’s really in to photography.  Check out this tweet… https://twitter.com/kevinolearytv/status/397501030067228672

    I actually have tens of thousands of followers on social media channels and hundreds of thousands of people who have me on their radar.  And you are right, a lot of people have the opportunity to get to know me, pretty personally, through my podcast.  Heck, I doubt that your CLOSEST FRIENDS tell you about as much as I shared in episode 569 of PABL at http://gspn.tv/pabl569.

    You said… ” I listen to your podcast so I know about you,  But you do not have a channel that goes back the other way.  You probably won’t follow me until you have kids in high school that are looking to go to college.”

    To this, I would like to challenge that statement.  

    You recently posted this comment on my website and i have read every word that you wrote, which is well over 140 characters.   I’ve liked your comment.  And I am now writing you this response.   I have already spent at least ten minutes on this so far and will likely spend a bit more as I continue on.

    So this is one channel that you have that comes back this way.  You have effectively reached it and I’m now ignoring thousands of others and focused only on “Brad Baldridge.”  

    Any person with a Twitter account can start a tweet with “@GSPN” and I will be notified and I will read it and I will almost certainly respond to it.  Any person with a Facebook account can add a comment on anything that I post and I read every single comment and respond to most of them.  And I have an email inbox and I get just over 100 emails every single day and I still respond to every person that emails me.

    There will come a time when I can’t respond to “everyone.”  however, I am responding to this “two way” connection with literally THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of people.

    It’s the people who consistently show up on my radar, who send [email protected] the comments on Facebook, the comments on my posts on this site, etc… These are the people that I get to know more and more over time.  These are how many of my online relationships are formed.

    But yeah, I would have to say that there are several channels back to me.

    Now you also said… “You probably won’t follow me until you have kids in high school that are looking to go to college.”  

    This isn’t quite true.  The fact is that I may never follow you then, either.  I have well over 75 VERY CLOSE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS with people.  However, I don’t follow most of them.   Why?  Because I simply prefer to follow the closest of close people that I am connected.   Heck, I even unfollow some of those people because they get too much “business” on me.

    The fact is that when I am looking to do work with a CPA, hire a Financial Investor to help me manage my retirement account, or build a relationship with a dentist to do my twice a year teeth cleaning, I’m not going to go follow those people on Twitter. I am not going to “LIKE” their Facebook Pages.  I am most interested in having a “professional” relationship with these folks.  When I think of “social media,” I think of using it to connect people that I want to know “socially.”

    So if I were ever to follow “Brad Baldridge” on Twitter, it would not be because their is a professional service I need from him.  It would have to be because Brad is a guy that has shown that he’d make an amazing potential friend, that we share a number of similar passions and I feel led to develop a stronger relationship with him.

    Through that, I may come to know that he does consulting and coaching for people who are trying to “Tame The High Cost of College.”  If there is is a strong relationship in place, outside only the purpose of how you might be useful to me one day, then you would likely be the first person I think of when I am looking for advice on funding my kid’s college expenses.

    But no… It’s not what value to do you offer professionally, that gets me to follow anyone in social media.  Instead, for me, it’s how do I feel, in my gut, about the how well I feel led to develop a deeper relationship with someone that causes me to follow them.

    Does that make sense?

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