Ok, so this is a bit off-topic for SEOno, but I’m wondering how long it takes before MSN UK realise the stupidity of what they’ve done and make the relevant changes…
This morning, I logged out of Hotmail (yes, I still use Hotmail, and yes, it’s on my to-do list to do something about it) and saw this on my screen:
(As an aside, I’m loving the juxtaposition of the Sky ad – “dim the lights – for full effect…”)
O-ho, a video! “Car crashes through front of supermarket.” Like William H. Macy’s character in Magnolia! Brilliant. I’m sure it’ll be… hang on…
Are those people in the way of the car, including a woman with a pram?!
If you are sadist enough (like me, apparently) to go beyond the homepage and actually watch the video, you’ll see it happen at normal speed and as well as about 4 different rates of slow motion. Tasteful.
You might also notice this:
Can’t see that? Let’s zoom in…
Category: “Funny Videos”?!
Oh, MSN… That’s pretty bad taste. Turns out 10 people were injured, including “3-month-old baby Tyshawn Davis, who was in the stroller visible in the video and escaped with minor injuries.”
It’s always funny until someone gets hurt…
And then it’s just hilarious!
At closer examination, it turns out that that “Funny Videos” link is at the top of every video on the MSN UK website, regardless of the content. But still – I was fooled by it, so how many others would be? I’d say this is a big user experience factor: that maybe MSN should consider not showing a link that says “Funny Videos” on a video that clearly isn’t funny, even if said link isn’t necessarily associated with it…
“Having the most followers on Twitter is akin to having the most imaginary friends, the biggest Gamerscore, or the world’s longest e-penis. In other words, what does it mean in the real world? Precisely f*** all.”
A friend of mine wrote that on his Facebook profile a while back. He was annoyed because a friend of his was paying a lot of money to see a social media professional for social media training. This professional’s big, bold unique selling point was that he had a lot of followers, the most in his chosen field and area of expertise, apparently. So he must know what he’s talking about and be good at what he does if he’s that popular, right? And fair enough, he did have a lot of followers. I saw his profile and he had about 100,000 followers on Twitter. Nice!
The only problem? He was also following about 100,000 in return. His Follow Ratio was pretty much 1:1.
Why do I have a problem with this? A few reasons:
Quantity can be gamed: Auto-follow tools such as TweetAdder make it easy for someone to obtain a large number of followers. Set it to automatically follow people based on various criteria (e.g. their location, keywords in their profile’s Bio, etc.). Eventually, as you’ve gone to the effort of following these people, some will follow you back – and you can even automatically unfollow those who do not reciprocate after a certain amount of time. Rinse, repeat, and after a while, voilà: you’re “popular” (read: you look more popular).
Why do I say “look more popular” when they could be genuine followers? Well…
You could be preaching to following the choir: What if the 100k that you’re following – to get 100k people to follow you back – are doing exactly what you’re doing? Then it’s purely a numbers game – you’re not reading their tweets, they’re not reading yours.
…And why do I say that? Well…
It’s impersonal: I think it’s pretty safe to say that if someone is following 100k people, they’re not actually reading the tweets in their Twitter feed. I follow 200+ people I genuinely care about as I type this, and I struggle to keep up! In fact, at an event I went to a while ago, one of the speakers – who gave a talk on Twitter – said that you should just follow lots of people from your business profile, and use a separate/personal profile or a Twitter List to follow the people you actually want to keep up-to-date with. Umm… no thanks, that’s not for me.
Quantity isn’t everything: Social media isn’t necessarily about having lots of (or the most) followers. As I’ve said before (point #12), I’d much rather have 10 followers who care about what I have to say than have 10,000 followers who don’t and who only follow me so that I follow them back and beef up their stats. As always, quality trumps quantity.
And at the end of the day…
It’s snake oil – it’s tricking potential customers/clients: I know all this, and I’m assuming most other online marketing professionals reading this know all this, but does your average Joe Bloggs – who wants to learn how to use Twitter for business use – know to watch out for it? Probably not. My friend’s friend didn’t.
So why is Follow Ratio (FR) important? Well compare the above gent’s ratio of 1:1 (followed by 100k, following 100k) to someone who truly is an authority. If someone is followed by 100,000 people but is only following 100 in return – their FR being 1:1,000 – then it seems a lot more legitimate that this individual is genuinely being followed because people care about them. The person doesn’t have to follow people back and they will still follow him/her.
Fortunately, contrary to what I’ve said above, I think people are gradually getting wise to this. SEO has had a similar problem: it seems logical to think that the people ranking at the top of Google for a keyword like “SEO agency” are the best at what they do, but what if they’ve gotten via dodgy/spammy means, or it’s a keyword that looks good but doesn’t even get much search volume? Meanwhile, Twitter does have Klout as a metric, but then it isn’t exactly accurate (and I believe Klout doesn’t currently take followers into account)…
To me, what’s important are things like reviews, testimonials and word-of-mouth. Fair enough if this social media trainer with a 1:1 FR is actually really good at giving social media training, but in my opinion, they shouldn’t use “I have lots of followers” as a USP when such a thing can be easily manipulated (and – judging by his profile – probably has).
Funnily enough, as I was going to publish this post, someone on my Twitter feed complained about how people he knows are falling for follower numbers. Using StorifyWakelet, I’ve included the tweets and @mentions between me and two others: @NeilCocker and @tombeardshaw. (More people and tweets were involved in the discussion, but as some of the tweets went a bit off-topic and became quite negative – pin-pointing a particular individual guilty of the practice – I’ve only included a few of them.)
In my last post, I said that SEOno would be on hiatus until June. However it looks as though my circumstances have changed, with my CAM Diploma deadline moving from May to September, which should give me some time in-between in order to blog on here again.
Due to other commitments, I have made the difficult decision to postpone blogging on SEOno for at least 6 months.
In September, I was put on the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing for work. With the way things have worked out, a colleague and I have only 9 months to complete all 3 modules, whereas I believe most people have at least 1 year. For my current module, I have 4 weeks to do the 1st drafts of 3 assignments, which has me just a teeny-tiny little bit scared (read: absolutely petrified). Throw in a full-time job and attempts at hobbies and a social life to stay sane and I’m starting to enter ‘juggling-too-much’ territory.
To be honest, since starting this blog about 9 months ago, I feel as though I have not given it 100%. For a start, I’ve hosted it on WordPress.com and not .org, which means I do not even have full control over it for SEO purposes – and someone talking about SEO who doesn’t even have an optimised blog is a little bit… well… bland. (Even though my area of expertise is off-site SEO and not on-site SEO, but regardless…) I’ve also not written as much content as I’d like – I wanted to write a post every week, but at the moment I’m lucky to write one post per month, if that.
Once my course is over, I should have more free time on my hands in order to write for SEOno once again. In the meantime, I still plan to make the move to .org – with the help of the mighty Andrew Isidoro of SEOfosho – plus I will be guest blogging pretty heavily for Liberty Marketing and also writing for their corporate online marketing blog. I also plan to keep attending the wonderful Cardiff Blogs, even though I won’t be blogging in a personal capacity.
So… Thanks to those who’ve read, linked, tweeted and commented my posts so far. Godspeed and happy blogging!
The second is a YOUmoz post, which is the UGC (User-Generated Content) section of SEOmoz, one of the world’s biggest SEO resources and my personal favourite. I’m a massive SEOmoz fan (read: I’m a massive geek), so it’s an absolute pleasure and honour to have had my post accepted. It’s about the word limit affecting the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, which could majorly affect people’s SEO keyword research, especially if they’re looking into short terms and phrases.
In the pipeline, there’ll be more content for the Liberty blog, another YOUmoz post and a guest article for Fresh Business Thinking. I’m also hoping to do a post for Cardiff Blogs (@cdfblogs on Twitter), after having attended their most recent event last month. If any of the above come off then I’ll be sure to link to them in a future post.
News about the blog
The main reason I wanted to update was to say that this’ll probably be the last post on the SEOno blog for a good month or two. The reason for the break in blogging is simply due to the fact that I’m getting married next week!