A few weeks ago Nina Badzin blogged about what she calls the Twitter Thanking Crisis. Her bottom line: “We’re spending tremendous amounts of time thanking people and reading about other people getting thanked.”
While we’re at it, I’d like to add my own two cents about an area where too much social media time is also being spent:
Both the reciprocal variety, as in, “Congrats to XXX for YYY!” and the unilateral variety such as, “Check out this review that says so many great things about my book!”
Not to mention the responses:
“Great to hear!”
“Way to go!”
Everybody has a right to be proud of their accomplishments. Of their book reviews, their readings, their guest blog posts, their moments or eras of glory. And while there’s no harm in sending out the occasional tweet about them or posting them on Facebook from time to time, there’s a fine line between taking a few well-chosen opportunities to do so, and creating a glut as annoying as the miles of *thank you’s* that clog up social media feeds.
Slapping on my publicist’s hat for a moment, congratulations are also just not a good use of air time. Too many can drive friends and followers away and crowd out your more important messages. As a message, congratulations give no information about your book, product or service other than A) “someone thinks it’s great,” and B) “I want everyone to know that someone thinks it’s great.” In our congratulatory culture where Everyone’s A Winner and has so many wonderful accomplishments to share, this simply does not make a book or product or author stand out from the crowd.
What does stand out, however — just like with good writing — are the specific nuggets of detail that make whatever we’re trying to promote unique. A particularly articulate sentence from a review that expresses the heart of a story. A quirky phrase from the story itself.
These have far more potential than generic “congrats” to grab people’s attention, to intrigue them, to make them remember your story and perhaps want to read more.
More importantly (taking my publicist’s hat off now), they also have a lot more potential to generate what we should aspire to above all: the genuine enthusiasm of total strangers.