In the real world, we pick our friends based upon certain traits and conditions. We want people we can like who have shared interests and who have a certain proximity to us. The Internet has changed the proximity aspect of friendship, but we still need to be able to interact with our friends in some way to truly be friends.
In social media, “friendship” is more of a way to get votes for your submissions than to interact with others. There are certainly those who make real friends through social media. Some of the people I interact with on a daily basis were people I met on social media sites. Still, the bottom line in social media friendship is “vote for my submissions and I’ll vote for yours.”
There is something skewed about this concept, but we’ll ignore it for this article. Instead, we’ll accept the fact that most social media friends aren’t really friends and focus on how to be a good one, as well as finding other good ones.
Good Social Media Friends Submit Good Content
It seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be stated. I submit stories that I think are worth reading and I expect my friends to do the same. If someone submits the occasional crappy story or self-promotional piece, I don’t mind as long as the majority of their stuff is good.
Good Social Media Friends Vote for MOST of Your Submissions
I remember getting a message from a social media powerhouse one time that said “Vote for all of my s__t and I’ll try to vote for most of yours.” Arrogant, pompous, but hey, at least he was being honest. The idea of blind-voting for all of your friends’ submissions is a flawed one for some sites. Digg and StumbleUpon take the number of stories you Digg or Thumb Up into account when determining the quality of your submissions, so hitting everything submitted is definitely a bad idea.
I have been running an experiment over the last couple of weeks with this, just to make sure that it was true. A week and a half ago, I was putting 1-4 stories a day on the front page of Digg and getting a decent level of stumbles on my submissions. Once I started ramping up my Diggs, hitting everything submitted by my hundreds of friends, I started noticing that it was taking longer and longer to hit the front page. Once I had a great weburbanist submission get 194 diggs in the first 24 hours and NOT make the front page, my over-digging theory was confirmed.
Reddit, Propeller, and Mixx, on the other hand, seem to not mind blind voting. In fact, it helps your status to vote more on Propeller and Mixx. Still, many people watch for blind voters and either sink them or avoid them altogether.
As a general rule, vote for the submissions that are good. If you would have considered submitting it, it’s worth your Digg/Stumble/Upmod/Vote.
Good Social Media Friends Keep Messaging Their Submissions to a Minimum
Sending stories on social media sites is okay if used only when necessary. If it’s really, really, really good, you should consider spreading the word. Don’t spam, and don’t accept friends who spam you. If you’re getting every submission from a user sent to you, send them a message and ask them to slow it down. If they don’t remove them. Don’t be a spammer and don’t reward spammers with your friendship.
Good Social Media Friends Communicate with Each Other Every Now and Then
One of the best ways to really be a friend is to communicate. It may take some time, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of friends, but take the time occasionally to drop your friends a line. Thank them for voting for your submissions every once in a while. Compliment them for finding a particularly incredible piece of media. Just say “hi” from time to time. Some won’t appreciate it and will think you are trying to game them. Most won’t mind it at all.
Good Social Media Friends Defend Each Other
This is a minor point normally, but in some cases, it’s a big deal. If one of your good social media friends is getting bashed by a troll, help your friend out. Bury the troll’s negative comment. Write one in reply that defends your friend. You wouldn’t let your best friend in real life get bashed and you shouldn’t let your social media friend get bashed either.
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The best social media submitters have friends. Lots of them. Making the right friends and working with them the right way is possibly the most important aspect of being successful on social media. Someone with no friends can submit a picture of Elvis walking around in the forest with Bigfoot and it will never make the front page of any social media site. It’s a flaw in the systems, but it’s one we have to deal with for now. Might as well make the most of it.
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Social Media blogs are everywhere. Heck, you’re at one right now!