When a Thanks isn’t a Thanks

Two words in the English language are sometimes very hard to say. That would be: Thank You.  Now, before you click off to another site because you think I’m going all Emily Post, let me explain.

You see, as we become more social, we are becoming more impersonal. It shouldn’t be that way. Just because we interact on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it doesn’t mean we should forget what it means to actually talk to someone. Quick texts from an iPhone or brief emails from your office desk may say, “Thx” or “:-),” but is it really a thanks?

Example number one: The DM that isn’t really a “thanks.”

Here’s one I received the other day (some words removed to protect the offender): “Thank you for following me. I blog about my life as an (entrepreneur) with insight, tips and advice at (website removed).” I doubt this person is TRULY appreciative of me or anyone else, for that matter, following them. It’s an automated DM. We have come so far that we need to set up an automated tweet to say thanks.

I’ve decided to follow you for a reason. I either saw a retweet on Twitter- and liked what you put in 140 characters (or less) – or we chatted during a Twitter event. In return for my follow, you become a robot. It not only shows you don’t get what social media is about, it proves you are too lazy to appreciate your followers.

Example number two: The stock LinkedIn invite.

You know this one because we have all received it. “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Nothing says I appreciate you more or thanks for connecting with me further, than a stock message that LinkedIn gives you. Think of it this way. Would you send a generic “Thank You” note to a potential employer? No. You’d personalize it. So why not do the same on LinkedIn?

I’m sure to some this sounds like the “Hey Kids… Get off my lawn” type statement. But, it would be so much better if we stopped being lazy with saying thank you in social networking and really put a good foot (or tweet) forward in personalizing and appreciating our fans, friends, and potential “champions.”

What are some good examples of people thanking you on social nets?

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  • Great post Jason, and I agree with you that the nature of social media has precipitated an aura of impersonal behavior, sometimes unknowingly. The examples you point out are blatant examples of willing impersonal behavior but I think you can also liken this behavior to sending the same pitch to journalists and just changing the name in the greeting. Most of us know that the personalization of any communication is the key to grabbing attention, encouraging consumption and eliciting a response. Think of social media as a wonderful part of the digital revolution but never forget that it doesn’t replace the personal touch that all of us – older or younger consumers – appreciate more that a robotic like attitude.

  • “Life is much more pleasant when you deal with mannerly people,” my mother in law, a real classy lady, told me this years ago. It is also so in social media. Good post Jason.

  • Jason,
    Social Media is simply another communication tool and it’s ease-of-use nature shouldn’t equate to a diminished personal feel. If you’re going to use social networks to be social and connect, don’t do it robotically.
    Great insights!

  • This one’s not completely a thank you, but a few weeks back Squishable.com faced what could have turned into a major PR crisis. One of their coupons went viral, and as a result, most orders would be delayed by days. Squishable was prompt in sending out an email that explained the situation, included an apology and thanked buyers. It struck me that, throughout the experience, Squishable’s staff was grateful to their buyers the entire time, and it showed in the communications.

    I had a chance to speak with Zoe, one of the founders of the company, and I wrote about it at my agency’s blog: http://www.cookerlypr.com/2012/06/were-only-human-turning-a-digital-crisis-into-a-win.html

  • I feel the same way when people sign off emails with “thanks.”

    It’s just a strange way to sign off. Sure they are saying thanks, but I feel like that’s the message.

  • Jason, you hit this one right on the nail. Two seconds before I read your post i was complaining about the boatload of auto DM’s I got after following back some people who follow me. And, the stock Linkedin invite is a special pet peeve of mine. Thank you for reminding all of us of the value of simple, practical courtesies. 🙂

  • You have many excellent points, Jason. Thank you sincerely as I did not realize the standard LinkedIn message was considered rude or impersonal. And…I should have. Altering approach immediately. Thank you again, Elizabeth

  • Jen Barthe

    I’ve seen people who have thousands of followers yet they still go through their blog comments to personally reply to their readers. It’s time consuming but it adds a personal touch AND builds a true relationship. Sure people might not become best friends but it’s touching to know that you’re not a number but valued as a person. T

  • Jen Barthe

    I’ve seen people who have thousands of followers yet they still go through their blog comments to personally reply to their readers. It’s time consuming but it adds a personal touch AND builds a true relationship. Sure people might not become best friends but it’s touching to know that you’re not a number but valued as a person. T