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7 deadly sins of social media

November 17, 2008

James Clark at Room 214 recently released a must-read white paper called “The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media.”

  1. Pride: What Clark calls the “grim reaper of social media sins,” bullishly defending your stance even when you’re wrong. Or worse, trying to put spin on your mistake. Clark’s suggestion: walk the talk or your audience will rebel.
  2. Gluttony: Trying to do too much, too fast. Overwhelming yourself with social media engagement is a useless endeavor. Clark’s suggestion, and I think this is the most important lesson anyone will ever learn about social media: “Remember you are present to add value to the communities you join, not to push messaging in those communities.”
  3. Sloth: Not participating in the conversation. Participation is a 2-way street—give, don’t just take. Clark’s suggestion: remember you have something to add, and passion for your subject will help you maintain your diligence.
  4. Envy: Believing you’ve done it first, you deserve the credit, or others receive undue attention. Clark’s suggestion: build your network and make sure you are participating in the conversation.
  5. Greed: Clark refers to this as a “deliberate betrayal for personal gain” and most hated sin. He describes two types of greed—fakes and flacks. Fakes deliberately mislead or hijack the conversation for their own (or employer’s) benefit. Flacks flood the conversation with coordinated fodder for campaigns. Clark’s suggestion: Follow the 80-20 rule. “That means 80% of the content you are commenting on, tagging and submitting is not yours or related to your clients or company.”
  6. Lust: Don’t inappropriately follow or hijack the conversation from experts. Clark’s suggestion: Practice some self control and make sure your contributions are substantive additions to the conversation.
  7. Wrath: Always avoid flaming and ranting. Do not call out a detractor in the public space of social media. Clark’s suggestion: Take the higher road, don’t personalize anything and foster constructive conversation.
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