Will Social Media Analytics Create a New Media Paparazzi?

Hollywood stars, sports celebrities, and even those with their 15 minutes of fame, are too frequently descended upon by the paparazzi as those people try to capture or record some sighting, try to get a rise out of someone that they can record, and look for that titillating response which will make what they’ve snagged salable to the National Enquirer or its online equivalent.

They’re so hated by the stalked (specifically celebrities) that some European countries have laws about their conduct and there was even a movie made about these people that are the photography and video equivalent of spammers.

As I consult with clients who are trying to identify influencers and embark on campaigns to reach them — like many organizations are doing right now as they view social media “channels” as being cheap while still being hard to quantify and measure results within — I am already seeing the emergence of social media analytical tools (like those Lee Odden covered) which will make this process more efficient and bring with it major impact for any of my client’s initiatives.


Then I have my own experiences with PR and marketing people spamming me and finding me on Twitter. To top it off, I then read stories like this one about the #3 most-followed UK Twitter guy, Jim Connolly, and how he’s quitting Twitter. Over 22,000 of his 23,000 followers were, in essence, using him as a channel of message distribution. The “social media paparazzi” if you will:

Most of the Direct Messages I get on Twitter are people asking me; please share this link with your followers Jim or asking me to look at their blog / website and give them some tips.  I’m also getting stacks of spam sent to me via Twitter Direct Message.  This all takes time to review, answer or delete.

The thing I’m watching out for is how these new social media analytics tools will be used and to ensure that my client’s “engage with them for good, instead of evil.” If they’re too easy and cheap (which many are already) then every schneeb in the world will enter “social media paparazzi-dom” and the noise level will become deafening…and a lot of us will just walk away from Twitter and services like it.

Since any quick-buck artist can signup for a Twitter account and follow someone — or increasingly find ways to contact so-called influencers in whatever area any of us happen to cover — I fear that management tools for we social media users won’t keep pace with the capabilities of analytics to feed campaign management systems and make the whole process of outreach so brain-dead-simple that you and I will be stalked.

Note to self: Don’t wear that thong to the beach next time.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.