(Small aside: I haven't posted anything in a long time. This doesn't mean that this domain is for sale; I use the server for more than just my blog. And if it were for sale, I'd likely charge something greater than the market rate for it, so you're adequately warned.)
One of the activities I've been getting up to for the last couple of years is advising groups on how to do advocacy and engagement using online tools. I suppose I could say I advise on "new media" or "social networking," but neither seems entirely accurate. Still, if it's helpful for giving an idea of what I've been doing, there are some buzzwords for you.
An idea that's been kicking around in my brain for a while is that I could post a bit on some of my pet peeves with how people use these technologies. And today, I got a couple of examples in my inbox, so let's get started.
Subject: over 2000 people... havent replied on this facebook invite AND you are one of them.... it isnt hard, just click yes, no, or maybe (they offer "maybe" people) ;-) If you are coming, register for YOUR ticket at (link omitted)
Now, there are a few problems with this message.
Let's go a bit more in-depth on these.
Here's what it looks like on my phone:
(name) to you: over 2000 people... havent replied on this facebook invite AND you are one of them.... it isnt hard, just...(reply "n" for next)
I don't recognize what event you're talking about from your name. Facebook's SMS feature is actually very bad about giving context, but that just means that the people who send these messages have the responsibility to get the information formatted properly. If your name doesn't give me enough context (and apparently this message went to 2000 people, so the sender doesn't know them all personally), then mention the name of the organization and/or event in the first 100 characters.
What event are you talking about? (That's visible up above where the message is, but often events have nondescriptive names.) What organization is this event for? (I happen to know it from the name of the poster, but I was actually receiving his messages for a few months before I figured it out.)
All of this information is discoverable with a few clicks, but every time you force someone to take an action to discover something, you'll lose a portion of your audience.
There might be reasons that I think are justified for you to shame me. Not replying to a Facebook invitation isn't one of them. This invitation, as far as I can tell, is being sent to me because I joined a group on Facebook. (I have since removed myself from this group's membership, in large part because of what I'm writing about in this post.) I typically don't join too many groups, but that doesn't mean that the groups I do join should feel free to inundate me with invitations (many of which aren't in geographical areas that are feasible for me to get to). And I'm more discerning about which groups I join than many of the people I talk to who use Facebook.
The fact that this sender seem exasperated with the lack of response makes me question whether he has reasonable expectations about Facebook. And from the volume of messages I've received from him, it's not from lack of experience.
A message that was very similar (although not identical) was sent within minutes of this one. It didn't reach my inbox for a couple of hours, and I wasn't checking my e-mail at the time, so they were part of the same thread. This is really more of an annoyance than anything else: if you're going to spam me, why are you spamming me twice within a few minutes?
I realize this is a bit hard to get right especially in the context of constraining a message to be reasonable for an SMS message, but that's no excuse for improperly using punctuation, spelling words incorrectly, and avoiding capital letters. Contractions have apostrophes in them. Sentences begin with capital letters. Commas are great for getting rid of ambiguous sentences.