The Bad Manners Of Demand Reciprocation In Social Media

Demand reciprocation is bad manners, what do I mean? Its where unknown to you, someone does an action in social media and then contacts you demanding that you must reciprocate in equal to their unsolicited action to you. Another example is how someone follows you on Twitter and since you didnt read their mind because you have a life, when you dont follow back they flip out. It happens with Endorsements, Follows, Recommendations, Likes etc. I get emails all the time, especially now with LinkedIn’s mindless gamification Endorsement system. “I endorsed you, now go endorse me back.” Some of the emails are getting rude and insistent as if I’m obligated to a contract they have thrown on my unwilling self. I call them Social Media Shakedown Artists. We all get the notifications of endorsements, if you send me an email on top of it, its unprofessional, ignorant and poor manners. It says “I’ve blackmailed you into guilt reciprocating.”

Not only is it bad manners its morally corrupt and unprofessional. There is no integrity in doing stuff for others just for the sole purpose of getting something back. Repeat: There is no integrity in doing stuff for others just for the sole purpose of getting something back. Whats worse is someone is using it as leverage following up with a sh*tty email demanding reciprocation or when a person uses it like a blackmailer calling you out publicly because you didnt follow back on Twitter. It always reminds me of the movies “throw momma from the train” which was ripped from 1951 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Strangers on a Train. “I’ll do your murder if you do mine.” The other guy gets locked into a unwilling contract with a nut job. Sadly in the terms of LinkedIn Endorsements, its clearly mindless gamification as I wrote about on another post that endorsements are worthless (click for link). Its even more funny that LinkedIn caps the numbers you have at 99+ so getting a whole bunch will impress no one of a smart mind.

To prove this when Endorsements started we put up as a joke, one of mine as “Unicorn Herder.” 6 people have actually endorsed it as a skill I evidently have. A friend of mine put “bed wetting” down as a skill and people mindlessly endorsed it.

I dont know where this behavior of expectation comes from. Early on in social media there were some Prophets that said it must be a 100% reciprocal process ignoring the fact that the model ceases being possible past a certain business size of scale. The CEO of GE cant possibly handshake or retweet everyone who buys a freaking light bulb. Those prophets found hypocrisy as they couldnt keep up either. Some have suggested its a generational thing but in my discussions we found that many older generational folks on LinkedIn are doing it.

In the end it needs to stop. If you like something or someone and want to say something about it, do so without expecting something back. If you want me to exchange follows, endorsements, recommends, Likes etc. talk to me about it first. Keep in mind I come from a place where these have to be EARNED. I cant recommend or endorse someone I’ve never worked with or dont know. I have better things to do all day than play social media games.

Heres the thing, put out on your blogs and feeds a continuous output of interesting content. Leaders dont become popular by whoring for fans. They do great work and the fans come. Steve Jobs didnt sit around blackmailing endorsements, he did great work. Be a leader and expert in your field and blog about it. If you’re successful at impressing people and building a REAL audience, you wont have to go about blackmailing people to endorse you back. Theres a whole lot more value in that.