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Social sites and self-promotion

In Social Media Founders on Undisclosed Mass Promotion, Andy Baio is collecting informal, basic policies for dealing with "self-promotion" on social sites. Andy asked the founders / managers of several sites (del.ici.ous, Mahalo, Magnolia, Metafilter, and Propeller, so far) about their policy and design with regards to individuals who submit links (generally, lots of them) for the sake of self-promotion.

I thought this would be particularly interesting to a number of our clients, who, in the context of making their sites more findable on the web, are interested in building word of mouth on social sites and/or getting incoming links from social sites.

There is enough marketing hype around "social media" that the promise of "eyeballs" or "buzz" sometimes gets in the way of recognizing where the value is on social sites. That value is, more than anything, really in the way people are able to connect with each other as peers. At the very least, people connect in ways that are more like friends than like sales people and customers.

And so, it's interesting to see this from the perspectives of the managers of these social sites. They actually need to deal with self-promotion as a potential threat to these "peer-to-peer" connections that make the sites successful.

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