Social Media Rejection

rejected stamp

Twitter’s new lists feature offers users a much-needed way to organize who you follow and group them into custom categories. And since you can see what lists others have placed you in, it’s also a fascinating and useful way to see how other tweeters think about you or your brand.

I discovered this rather rudely when I checked to see what lists our business school account (@UTexasMcCombs) were included on. Most people listed us under categories you’d expect—MBA, business school, colleges, Austin, UT.

But one list name stood out above the rest, a glittering display of social-media brute-force honesty:

“Ignore but not unfollow”

That shattering sound you here? Yeah, that’s my ego.

After I went through the five stages of grief (and of course tweeted about it), I decided to be a grownup and use this as a learning opportunity. So here, in no particular order, 5 lessons from being snubbed by Twitter lists:

Numbers aren’t everything. Since launching our Twitter account in August 2008, we’ve gained 2,418 followers, more than some entire universities. We’re over 1,000 fans on Facebook. SO WHAT. Just because you have a large audience, it doesn’t mean they’re actually listening.

Different strokes for different folks. Plan and strategize all you want, but people will relate to you on social media on their own terms, not yours. I’m not sure why this person is bothering to follow us if they’re intentionally ignoring us, but she’s got her own personal motivations, and that’s her call.

You can’t please everybody. Numbers aren’t everything, but I don’t think we’d be steadily gaining followers if we weren’t doing something right. We get thoughtful interaction on both Twitter and Facebook, awareness seems to be on the rise, and feedback is generally very positive. We are genuinely trying to communicate and engage from the standpoint of being helpful, informative and relational. Is everyone going to love what we do? No. But hopefully we’re not too far off the mark with most of our audience.

There’s always room for improvement. This falls under the What-have-you-done-for-me-lately? category. While we’re not going to completely overhaul our social media approach based on one weirdly negative Twitter list, it’s a good reminder not to rest on our laurels. How can we up our effort, create more compelling content and practice innovation?

Don’t take it personally. I’ve put a lot of hard work into the McCombs Twitter account. I love working on it. It’s my baby. So when I saw this list title, it sort of felt like overhearing the cute boy at prom talking about what a dorky dress I’m wearing.

But if you’re going to engage in or even just monitor social media, you’ve got to develop a thicker skin. People will post negative comments, complain about your organization and sometimes just be downright rude. It’s easy to get emotional or defensive, but that’s only going to make it worse. (This post on Chris Brogan’s blog contains good advice about responding to negative comments.)

Examine the situation, respond (or ignore) as needed, don’t be jerky, learn your lesson and move on.

Have you had to deal with social media rejection? How much weeping was involved? Did it actually end up helping you?

Image source: sundesigns

2 Responses to “Social Media Rejection”

  1. jonilee mueller Says:

    i agree keep up the good work

  2. Scott Schneider Says:

    Well said: “Ignore but not unfollow” was my favorite part of your article. You are in my “Dont ignore or unfollow” list…thanks

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I write what I know (and love). Mostly higher education, writing and public relations.