I claim thee, social media, in the name of…Ow.ly?

December 14, 2009 at 9:18 AM 4 comments

OK. I’m a bit torn on these online tools like Ow.ly and StumbleUpon.  And yes, I know that they have been around for some time now, but I didn’t really understand my distaste for them.  Now I think I can put it into words.

When I open up a link from Twitter or someone’s blog and it brings up a banner at the top of the page indicating that someone else has tagged the page using one of these tools, it makes me feel as though they are claiming it as their own.  It’s like trying to stake your claim on the Internet.

That’s so not what social media is about.

I understand that it’s a great tool to track where posts that you write or like, and it definitely has some potential to be a basic measurement tool.  You know me, that part, I think, is great.  But what happens when I open the link and then send it on to someone else?  They open it up to see the person’s banner at the top, and suddenly the other person gets the credit even though they didn’t pass it along themselves.

Maybe I’m missing the point entirely.  Is it all about trying to see how far your own reach is?  Look how far I can get this post to travel?  Is it a way to track what posts you liked?

Most of the time I find it’s just one more thing I have to close out (like those annoying pop-up ads that somehow infiltrate my pop-up blocker).  And it just seems silly to me to try to claim responsibility for a post you didn’t write.


Entry filed under: Measurement, PR metrics, Social Media. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tim Jahn  |  December 14, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    Hm, that’s an interesting take, Rebecca. I’ve never seen those bars as someone “owning” the page. Rather, I see them as simple tools people are using to discover and pass along new content.

    I use Su.pr to share content as well as track it and it’s super useful. Su.pr places a small toolbar at the top of shared pages, but it’s small and unobtrusive (in my opinion). The bar also lets you further “stumble” the content along, and share with others.

    Interesting take, Rebecca!

    • 2. Rebecca Denison  |  December 14, 2009 at 9:26 AM

      I know that’s the purpose, but lately those toolbars have just been bugging me. Maybe I’m just being ornery about it!

      It does have some awesome benefits, like being able to track your links and find other content, but when I click on someone else’s link, I almost feel it’s inappropriate to share it as my own, you know?

      Like I said, I may just be ornery and thinking too much about this.

  • 3. Melissa Cafiero  |  December 14, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    You do have an interesting take on the subject! I never thought about it that way.

    Instead, it always annoyed me to click on those links because I couldn’t see the original, long link without the hassle of closing out of the shortened version. I like to share much of the articles/posts/pages I come across, but I don’t want to just pass on the shortened link because I want people to know what they are clicking on (this is in terms of e-mail and IM sharing).

  • 4. Matt Cheuvront  |  December 14, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    I see what you’re saying Rebecca, but for me, like Tim, a tool like su.pr is a relatively painless way to have an article you’ve written extend to a new network of readers. I honestly haven’t seen any HUGE benefits from using these link-sharing tools. But even a few new eyes-on is nice, considering it involves very little effort on my part to share on su.pr as opposed to a general link-shortener.


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