A social marketer’s worst enemy may be….

So for those who Tweet, the last day or so has been interesting.

For about a day the ability to follow conversations between those you follow and third parties was temporarly removed…you follow?

These third-party conversations are sort of integral to the Twitter experience since they can help Twitterers decide who else they want to follow….still following?

It wasn’t removed by a glitch or a virus, it was removed by the folks who RUN Twitter.  They said, following those third-party conversations, was likely annoying to most.  So they decided to take that away.  Without telling anyone.

Now, you can imagine the furor that set off in the Twittersphere.  After folks bombarded the Twitter leadership with messages coordinated with the hashtag #fixreplies, the leadership, over the course of the day, backpedaled and then relented.  They say they will try to come up with another fix.  Twhewwww….

This brilliant move comes on the heels of the oft-discussed redesign of Facebook, its streams, Fan pages, etc.  Again, the Facebook folks deciding to do all of this without much pre-feedback from its audience.

What does all this mean for us who try to counsel our friends, relatives and of course paying clients on the best way to use these platforms?

It means we have to be careful, as our worst enemy may be the people running the platforms themselves.  We have to remind ourselves that as Roy Schieder said in the bad “2001: A Space Odyssey” sequel, “we are just visitors in this universe,” or something bad like that.

We may not be able to hitch our full marketing wagons to these shiny new bikes.  We will have to be able to adapt quickly to the changes, not those brought on by external factors, but by those running these enterprises who at the end of the day are business people just like us and who will do things designed to optimize their products (and profits?) at the expense of those who got them there.

Your thoughts???

Jon Newman

In 2002 Jon cofounded The Hodges Partnership and has helped to grow it into one of the country’s largest public relations firms (based on O’Dwyer’s annual rankings). Jon has taught communications as an adjunct professor at VCU, speaks regularly at conferences and meetings and blogs and tweets about public relations and marketing issues.

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