Friday, May 16, 2014

The Line Between Self-Promotion and Ticking Me Off

Alright. So I’m pissed. You need to know I’m pissed because I’m about to go on a rant that will bitch about certain things that many people do at many different times. And those many different people and those many different times did not tick me off. Which is a long way of saying, if you do any of the following, you’re not necessarily an idiot. Just this guy is. Bear with me. I’m in a mood.

I follow him on Twitter. Or he followed me first. I don’t know. It’s hard to say when you’re being trigger happy. He sends me a message asking me to look at his blog. I do, because I always do, because the fun part of seeking out new authors or artists or even bloggers is to look at their stuff. Seriously. If you want me to like a Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, or read your blog, just ask. I don’t feel inconvenienced. I enjoy it. But this one takes me straight to a video. I don’t do videos. I don’t watch videos and I don’t watch Podcasts. Er... listen to them. Whatever. If it makes noise, it's not gonna happen.

For one thing, I don’t have the attention span. My reading process is similar to my writing process and I will often read something until I’m bored, go back to writing until I’m bored, then go back to reading, then dance around for a while, look at myself in the mirror, find my headphones, and go back to reading. This is harder to do when you have to consciously press pause. Then you’re far more aware of your scattered-brained brain. Also, I don’t like the noise. There’s other people in my house, including my cat, and I don’t need them judging me for whatever I’m watching. I’m exactly the reader on Cracked.com that needs a transcript below a video link because I ain’t playing shit.

So I ignore it and I move on. He then direct messages me, basically saying the same thing. He tells me to “Tell him what I think.” Yeah, like that’s going to happen. If I like it, you’ll think I’m lying. If I hate it, I’ll have just alienated someone. Nope. I’m keeping it to myself, thank you. If I wanted to be an asshole, I’d go review things on Amazon.

None of this rhetorical request bullshit. Seriously, stop asking me questions you don’t want answered, and trying to get me to look at your stuff under the guise of “feedback.” If you don’t want feedback, I don’t have to give it to you, and honestly, it’s easier for me. Because, such as this case, I just want to scream, “YOUR INEXPERIENCE IS SHOWING.”

I didn’t actually mind the multiple requests. I have a high tolerance for people pitching their stuff to me. So, no, not mad yet. Just not convinced either.

It was his third message when he said, “You’ll be a fool not to give me two minutes of your long day,” (Although, the spelling and punctuation is mine) that I decided to claw my face off.

Oh. And then smiley face.

Okay, I see where he’s coming from, and I feel bad for being so pissy about it because I do not see malicious intent. He’s trying to be over the top and funny—as indicated by his : ). I don’t care. I have to be of a more rational mind set to give people their benefit of the doubt, and he’s worked me into a fury. My rationale has taken a backseat to getting rid of this unadulterated anger.

Do you understand how many pitches I get in a day? How many people ask me to go to their Facebook page and read their blogs and subscribe to their Youtube channel? Understand just how many people on Twitter are trying to do the exact same thing as you and you’ll figure out why you seem inexperienced when you suggest that my time isn’t valuable. No, two minutes isn’t a big deal. But I’ve gotten eleven requests to look at people’s websites since I started this blog. (Okay, okay, a part of that is that I stop writing the blog to go to these other websites. Shut up.) That’s 22 minutes of my time, according to you. That’s an entire T.V. show I could have watched. That’s also more than a page of writing that I could have gotten done.

As for the “You’ll be a fool,” thing? You’re telling me I’d be stupid to not explicitly trust the advice of a random stranger on the internet (giving me a pitch nearly identical to hundreds of others that I’ve gotten), and not waste my time with it? Sure, I’m looking at your blog for my fun, and hell, sometimes even learning experience, but statistically it’s unlikely. One out of every six blogs I read is interesting to me. Vaguely. One out of every twenty says something I haven’t seen before.

I have absolutely no reason to think you know what you’re talking about. And, okay, I know—I KNOW. You weren’t being entirely sincere, and I should just drop it. If I had heard your tone of voice and saw your body language, I probably would have been able to laugh. Hell, it might have even been charming.

And maybe I should be laughing, even. That one line revealed your lack of experience, so to have you suggest I’m a moron for not trusting you in the same line that makes me not trust you, is kind of funny, isn’t it?

But your whole thing is about giving marketing advice. Marketing is all about getting people to trust you. And I have to say that from everything I saw of you, your whole page—Twitter, website, whatever—reads to me like an issue of trial and error.

You want to know my marketing tips?

1) Put a Goddamn person in your profile picture.

Actually, I know you followed me first for this very reason. I usually follow authors, and I tend to skip people who don’t have personable photos. Why? Because non-human photos often spam you more. Hint, hint, hint.

I don’t trust you, and I don’t feel any connection with you. When I see the face behind the author asking me to buy their book on Amazon, I’m going to go to the page and take a look if only to help out another human being.

In fact, the only non-science fiction/magic based books I’ve ever bought, I bought because I liked and/or wanted to support the author. Personalization is key.

2) Your first ideas have already been tested and found wanting, my friend. BEFORE you suggested them.

You know that game show Family Feud? And the host asks a question in which the family has to guess the top six most common answers? It’s like that.

When you first come up with an idea, there’s a good chance that it’s the first idea everyone else has come up with too.

So when you think that the best way to market is legitimately to post your link on Youtube videos, what I hear is, “I’ve never actually tried this but…”

Do you know which website is notorious for having some of the cruelest people in the world posting comments? Youtube. You want to have twenty-thousand people screaming at you for self-promotion? Youtube is exactly the place to do it.

Now, I’ve never posted my link on Youtube, and the main reason is enough people have done it I've seen the reaction it causes. I have posted comments on other people’s blogs, and while people are kind, and it does have an effect, the amount of traffic I get from it is rarely substantial. Posting it to Twitter has had more of an influence.

But you’re supposed to be the experienced master, so shouldn’t you know that? Shouldn’t you be giving me an idea that I hadn’t already thought of before? That I hadn’t already tested out for myself… when I first thought of it?

3) Be more experienced than me at picking up scam artists.

I rarely pay for things anyway, so recognizing scams has never been a necessary skill-set of mine. And yet, I’m exposed to them enough that there are certain tells of when you’re dealing with someone who, I don’t know, writes a self-help book about marriage and then goes to murder his own wife versus someone with actual credentials.

People promoting their expertise in things don’t always have it. End of story. And everything you did tells me you don’t, sir. From your profile picture to the actual commonplace tips, I had a distinctive feeling you were one of those people who knew less about their subject than even I do. AND THEN, low and behold, I find you’re charging 500 pounds for a workshop on how to market. That’s what? One thousand dollars American?

Screw you.

If you’re going to be a scam artist, you need experience being scammed. I understand preemptively believing you’re proficient enough that you should start giving out advice (believe me, I understand.) But once you start wheedling people out of money, you need to kick it up a notch.

4) If it’s a battle of who’s the idiot, I’m always going to be on my own side.

Here’s the problem. I’m a great bullshitter. But only to myself. What that means for you, my condescending friend, is that the reality of who’s smarter doesn’t matter as much as what I want to believe.

You say I’ll be a fool if I ignore you, I’m going to start looking for reasons why I would not be a fool. Which means me actively seeking reasons why you are the fool. Which, in this case, was not so hard.

“Two things I really like people to know & learn is – how to get traffic – and how to convert traffic into buyers, please concentrate on this.”

Where’s your pipe, Sherlock?

“Deliver high quality content every time. The benefits are so rewarding.”

I’ll get right on it.

“Use a premium theme – free themes are free for a reason, they just don’t work as well.”

I’m assuming you’re referencing themes on webpages. That only applies to a few from the myriad of options when it comes to page design. Like, say, hiring a professional, buying a package, purchasing Front Page or similar software, learning HTML yourself, or using any of the other website hosts that don’t refer to them as “themes.”

“Stop spamming people with sales in your emails you’re sending, your emails must give value to customers.”

Ahahahahahahaha.

These quotes, by the way, are in full. I am not taking them out of context. That’s all he has to say about it.

5) USE FULL WORDS.

I know it's Twitter, but seriously, talk like an adult if you’re interacting with me on a professional level. I’m not wasting my two minutes dealing with someone who can’t write out the word “you.”

But, hey. I just spent four minutes of my time bitching about you. I examined your site more closely, read your actual tips, and you definitely got my attention!

Yes. And that is all you will get from me. You better not have wanted a subscription, money, respect, or a longtime fan.

I mean, in all honesty, I’ve calmed down now, and I’m not nearly as irritated as I was an hour ago. I can be more rational, even. But, at best, that puts him back at square one. Most likely, however, if he messages me again, I have a feeling my rage will immediately pike to ten.

Sure, I have, and will make many of these mistakes, and right about now I’m really hoping karma isn’t a thing. But now that I’ve said it, compartmentalized it, and all without doing it in a means to hurt his feelings (because, honestly, he’s not going to be reading this blog anytime soon) I am far more able to understand why I felt the way I did and how not to make the same mistakes later.

And besides, as I went to close out of the webpage, I saw another piece of advice that makes me reconsider—Maybe he does know what he’s talking about:

“Please remember that some people online will and love to try bring your success down to make them feel better. Trust me when I say this as I see them everyday. And yes you’ll probably meet more over the years.”


Yes. Yes, they will. And thank you for offering that service. I do feel better. Asshole.