When Twitter was launched, I wasn’t a big fan but I’ve sincerely warmed up to the platform in recent years. Consequently, it is frustrating to see the alarming increase of arts groups and artists approaching the medium with as much subtlety and finesse as email spam peddling penis enlargement pills; case in point, @markoconnor35.
The official Twitter presence for violinist Mark O’Connor, @markoconnor35 has unfortunately become the benchmark for social media insincerity.
Now, before going any further let me make it perfectly clear that I have nothing but the utmost respect for O’Connor as a performer, composer, and artist so it would be shocking to learn that the offending Tweets came from his own hand; rather, they exude the telltale signature of lowest common denominator PR diplomacy.
Into The #ValleyOfTheShadowOfDeath
I started following @markoconnor35 a few weeks ago and since then, have been inundated with the latest form of follower mention spam. In these instances, whoever is managing @markoconnor35 sends out pairs of Tweets approximately one hour apart that include @reply mentions linked to a video. It’s like an unsavory Pacific Rim sweatshop production line churning out impersonal promotional Tweets to the same group of @mentions recipients.
They hit the air like clockwork and since I genuinely enjoy reading Tweets from those I follow, it pains me to have my Twitter feed clogged up by this mention spam.
I didn’t want to stop following Mark O’Conner so I sent three separate Direct Messages asking to exclude me from future mentions but each one failed to garner acknowledgement. It would have been just fine if @markoconnor35’s account manager responded with an obligatory “sorry about that,” but that didn’t happen so enough was enough.
I ditched following @markoconnor35 and started writing this post.
@mentions The Right Way
There’s certainly nothing wrong with posting @mention Tweets which point to something featuring you or your organization but you need to make them personal. It is great getting @mentions from friends, colleagues, and even people/orgs I don’t know (but do follow) pointing to something they are doing because whoever authored the Tweet took the time to think about me and why I might be interested.
It is thoughtful and personal; in short, sincerity goes a long way and you or your organization can benefit from the viral nature of Twitter by maintaining earnest social media relationships. There’s nothing wrong with self promotion, just don’t be smarmy about it.
I Hope Mark O’Connor Reads This
I really do. His artistry and accomplishments transcend being represented in social media this way. For the record, I have no idea who manages @markoconnor35 or what O’Connor’s relationship is with the individual or organization; but I hope he takes action to set changes in motion.
Typically, this sort of frustration would be vented through private channels, so I apologize in advance to O’Connor for not reaching out personally before publishing this (outside of the direct messages, which he likely doesn’t read). But there’s something of real value here for the field as a whole and I’ll be happy to post a mea culpa follow up article should things change for the better at @markoconnor35.
Until then, don’t squander your Twitter mojo and remain sincere.