Karma and the Social Media Ecosystem

I believe in social media Karma. I also believe social media is an ecosystem of content and ideas. Like any ecosystem, there is a delicate balance that must be maintained to sustain the healthy state of the system. As we use social media, be it a blog or some content in Facebook, a Twitter we are putting things into the ecosystem. The more good and valuable things we add, the better the ecosystem is. Adding things of no value or worse toxic things (spam) the ecosystem and everyone in it suffers.

Some tips that I think help maintain a healthy ecosystem.

  • Don’t think promote first: If everyone simply promoted all the time, a take, take, take strategy, the social media ecosystem would be sucked dry. Think about giving first before you try to take. If you are a good social media citizen and keep adding value, social media karma will eventually kick in and start paying you off.
  • Be helpful: One of the best things about the Internet is there are so many smart people from all kinds of professional fields you can learn from. There are lots of people with different levels of expertise many of whom are looking for help or answers. If you can help people with your knowledge or advice or with a connection you can help them make, that’s another big deposit in the social media karma bank. One of my all time favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar is “You can get everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Never has it been so true and never has it been so possible but with the connections that bind us on the Internet.
  • Don’t be a troll: The opposite rule to the previous one. Trolls are toxic to the ecosystem. They are individuals who seek to cause harm and damage to all they run into. A nasty comment on a blog, a vicious review on Yelp. Trolls want to tear down people and companies for no good reason but their own folly. There is certainly room for spirited debate and disagreement on the Internet, but be careful you don’t cross the line into personal or unsubstantiated attacks.
  • Care: I call this the Gary Vaynerchuk credo. One of the best things Gary always says as one of his secrets to success is to care. Care about your customers, care about your prospects, the people you work with. Care about the ecosystem and everyone in it.

My job as a social media professional is to help companies and individuals primarily outside the ecosystem interface with the powerful tools within the ecosystem to better run their business. If the ecosystem becomes damaged or dirty, my job gets harder. Please don’t poop in the pool.