Market Place

Ignore the many red herrings on your social media time line

Ignore those ‘haters’ that continuously appear on your time line and criticise everything you say or share. file photo | nmg
Ignore those ‘haters’ that continuously appear on your time line and criticise everything you say or share. file photo | nmg 

To be human is to err, but it takes technology to really screw things up. Life was simpler before the Internet, when staff could work through power interruptions and still get things done.

Today, when there is a power-cut, a large proportion of workforce will do the mannequin challenge all at once. The mannequin challenge is a viral Internet video trend where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera films them.

The digital revolution has, however, brought about some of the biggest benefits to productivity since the invention of sliced bread.

It has also created a new type of celebrity called social media stars who thrive from reaching audiences outside of traditional media channels.

They create their own content and distribute it through social networks with more of a pull, rather than push, media strategy as people tend to look for them rather than the other way around.

Their value as social media influencers is calculated by the number of fans and followers they have, and not by the quality of those audiences.

In reality, their influence should really be determined by the impact that they have on the ground in regards to the uptake of brands and enrolment to causes.

Enter the red herrings, or those ‘haters’ that continuously appear on your time line and criticise everything you say or share.

From their mode of delivery they appear smart and well educated, even though they spend an inordinate amount of time breaking down your content so that they can poke holes in it.

By nature, these red herrings are anonymous, giving nothing away about their real identities and therefore they tend to flock on Twitter which allows them to swarm freely.

The term red herring came from the 15th century when fugitives would use smoked herring meat to put bloodhounds off their scent.

The social media red herrings have the ability to take you off your agenda based on their sense of self importance that mimics social media stars with large constituencies, but when you review their followers, you’ll find either a tiny number or people with names that sound like complex passwords. No significant amount of real people are listening to them.

Your social media strategy should be based on having long-term effects on your target audiences so that they behave favourably to your brand, and the results will be measured by the impact your initiatives have on the ground.

Short-term tactics that you may employ under the overall strategy require instant feedback from your audiences which help to make multiple decisions quickly, hence the need for social listening.

However, spend time understanding who these audiences are, how influential they are, and whether they truly reflect the perspectives of the masses.

There is an increase of these red herring accounts in Kenya; they appear to be focused on political activity. They pour vitriol on every other politician apart from one.

Before you get entirely distracted, take comfort in the words of Jeff Graham from Twitter who has said that the social network has running initiatives to clean out their servers of fake accounts and robots.

We can, therefore, predict that these annoying ‘haters’ will disappear soon after the polls.