Most social bookmarking sites like Sphinn, StumbleUpon and Digg dislike, actively discourage and sometimes actually punish participation in bookmarking groups. They argue that these groups game the system and distort the natural, egalitarian flow of their voting systems.
These systems are designed around the idea that superior content will always be recognized and rise naturally to the top with the positive votes it receives. (Can't you here the angels singing?) The problem lies in the fact that most of these sites use an algorithm that requires X number of positive votes in X amount of time for the article to reach superstar status. While a few users may sit around hitting the refresh button on the "New" or "Upcoming" page, most users can't remain on constant alert for the awesome article because, you know, they have a life.
Marty from AimClear wrote an article last week that got me thinking about the natural progression of things from a marketing point of view. In the article Marty discussed the the social bookmarking sites', specifically Sphinn's, problem with and dislike of bookmarking groups or alliances as well as his justifications for their existence.
The article is quite in depth but his point is basically this, If the content is great and folks want to vote for it, what difference does it make how they heard about it?
What Do These 3 People Have In Common?
- A fantastic musician struggling to pay the bills while working on music row.
- An awesome artist barely getting by painting portraits on Jackson Square.
- A creative writer posting to a blogspot blog with 35 subscribers.
Answer: A lack of promotion.
Most successful people, at some point, had the help of a well connected individual or two who recognized their talent and used their connections and influence to promote them. Social media sites have the ability to create instant notoriety for an author that can, perhaps, be the big break of discovery they need.
- If you feel you have written an outstanding article, why is it not acceptable to alert your friends and ask their help in promoting it if they feel it is worthy?
- Why is it not OK to share what you feel is top-notch content with a friend you think would appreciate it?
In Marty's article he asks, "Social media is the new PR, but is there no PR in social media?"
The fact is, social media promotion groups are simply the natural progression of the Web 2.0 environment. Web 2.1, if you will.
Demanding social media users not form promotional alliances requires an active suspension of common sense and is akin to demanding that members of Downtown Whoville Unlimited or the local Rotary Club not exchange business cards or contact one another away from meetings.
What To Do
Anyone who sits around in the present proclaiming, "We are the future and we make the rules!" is bound to find themselves ruling the past.
- Ad Tracker
Instead of trying to stamp out the inevitable, social media sites should try to find ways of accommodating this move to Web 2.1.
StumbleUpon has made great strides in this direction and is providing an example other sites would do well to duplicate through "Groups", the "Stumble Their Favorites" button, individual RSS feeds and the "Send To" feature on the tool bar.
Is it not the ultimate irony that Sphinn proclaims itself to be a hub for "Internet Marketing News" yet frowns on the most basic of marketing principles?
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