Monday, January 4, 2010

The Unspoken Rules of the Internet « PixelBits

The Unspoken Rules of the Internet

January 2, 2010 · 13 Comments

“When someone tells you to Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, RT something, you don’t ask questions. You just, do it.”

No one ever told me that’s what I was supposed to do…and apparently there are a lot more rules I am oblivious to. I’m one of those anomalies who started out backwards. Where most people in my circle have been blogging and socially networking since the start of the Internet, I just came out of nowhere. In June 2008, I only had a MySpace, Facebook, and randomly blogged on MySpace and Facebook. I found FriendFeed by accident, and it was over – I got addicted to social networking.

This blog started because of FriendFeed, I connected to a lot of people because of the people I met on FriendFeed, but really? I love technology and I love people. The Internet and sharing what I find on the Internet is my hobby. I blog because I have a lot to say. It’s really that simple.

Doing what I love to do for a living means monetizing. And once monies get involved, it’s a whooole ‘nother world. I understand only sharing finds on the Internet and interacting with people won’t get you paid (unless you’re Gizmodo or ICANHAZ.)

But still. It just doesn’t seem right when a peer or colleague asks for Diggs, Stumbles, and Reddits. Then we Digg/Stumble or Reddit the crap out of something because (s)he asks. Heck, I didn’t even know I am supposed to have five or six accounts. Obligatory linkage is another thing I have a problem with. I’m down with reciprocation but frankly, doing the above out of obligation, even if I didn’t read, agree, or even like the post for that matter, just seems unethical.

I’ve been fortunate to have  worked in the corner of the Internet where SEO isn’t that big of a factor; mainly because these companies and brands are huge, where exposure is more important than garnering niche attention through back channels. Call me naive but when there is something universally good that people like, I truly think people just share. It’s human nature, psychology, like the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy, where something we’ve written or shared, makes another fall in love with something they never knew they wanted to see, listen to, or enjoy. And when those finds cross our paths, whether it be every hour, once a day, or maybe only once every few days, weeks, or months, we just… share.

Take the JK wedding entrance YouTube video for example. I remember after watching this, I wanted to share with the world. I knew all of my friends and family via Twitter, Facebook, and any other sites I participated in would love it as much as me. The people I shared with, shared with other people, and soon this video became one of the most watched videos of all time. It spread organically. Isn’t that how something is supposed to become “popular” or “viral?”

Well, I am idealistic yet realistic. I understand that everything does not work the same. There are things that we, social media professionals must do. Unspoken rules we must play by and support our respective networks by scratching their backs and they scratch ours. My rose colored glasses have been looong off.

Frankly, the day when Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon will become irrelevant cannot come soon enough. The more I learn, the more I understand, the more I am afraid I will end up hating what I love: the Internet.

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