Quid Pro Quo, #SocialMedia, and #Triberr

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Social Media

When I began doing Social Media one of the first things I was told was that for every tweet sent about myself, I should send ten about (and supporting) others. I liked that philosophy. That is why I write this Social Media Social Good series because I believe we have such a GREAT opportunity to do good via Social Media. And, it’s so democratic. Anyone can do good if they set their mind and heart to it! How sweet it is. Hmmm, that would make a good song title?

Social Media

For me, the “doing good” has included raising awareness on issues via my writing, radio show, and #DadChat. Naturally, my male ego desires to reach as many people as possible so I am eager to get my material read and seen. I have no issues self-promoting because I do believe in the adage that it is okay as long as I’m promoting and helping others.

Prior to the beginning of each #DadChat, I invite everyone to “shamelessly self-promote.” There is a time and a place for it. I know how many people are shy about this so I want to give them the opening and encourage them.

This is why I got so excited about Triberr, when it first hit the web. It’s an aggregate-sharing web site created by two terrific guys, Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo. Tribes are formed by “Chiefs” based on topics and interests, from which each “tribe mate” has the option of sharing every other tribe mate’s posts. All posts appear in a stream and every member/tribe mate has the choice to “approve” or “hide” a particular post.

Triberr tribes on Social Media

                                       Some of the “Tribes” I belong to

The size, variety, and focus of each tribe vary as much as anything on the web. You get invited to join a tribe or you can “follow” a tribe, or you can ask to join. It’s very open and very “inviting.”

As with every new thing, it began slowly and I was invited to join a “dad” tribe. There were about 20 other dads in this tribe and we all pretty much shared each other’s posts regularly. Later, I began my own tribe and over time it all grew.

During those initial months, I was amazed at the amount of sharing and the amount of growth in readership I was blessed to get from Triberr. It was cool plus I met so many people I probably would otherwise never have had the pleasure to know. I loved it.


Now, my “reach” is over 61 million with over 3,000 tribe mates in dozens of tribes. That means that the total number of followers from the 3,000 or so tribe mates adds up to over 61 million people. Got that? However, the sharing aspect is either less or about the same when my “stats” were a fraction of these numbers. About 2 – 3% of those aforementioned 3,000 tribe mates were sharing my posts. So, I began to wonder WTF was going on?

Being the shy, retired type that I am, I posted the following comment – there’s a comment section below each person’s post in the stream – on those posts of people in my tribes that apparently (there’s a stat that shows who is sharing what if you hover over the person’s name) were not sharing my posts. It read as follows:

Please do not take this the wrong way (first name of person), but I’m finding fewer and fewer of my tribe-mates are “sharing” my posts…I know it’s a lot of time/work, but I make a good effort to go through the stream every day and try and approve as many as seem cool and/or appropriate for my community. I think it’s a quid pro quo thing. If we do this right we ALL benefit from the aggregation. I hope you’ll consider some of my posts…BTW, I’m sending this EXACT message to anyone I see that hasn’t been sending out my posts (per the screen I get when I hover over each person’s avatar)…

Social Media

                                                      The Stream…

It IS a lot of work to go through the stream, especially if you choose to read each post before sharing it, which is the ideal and what I did when I began and the stream was so much smaller. Now, I recognize people and judge a post by its title, image, and/or short first sentences that are included. You can auto-post those people whose material you simply know is right for your community.

I thought that my “comment” was respectful and recognized that everyone should and does choose what is right for their community. I don’t expect anyone to simply share my posts because I want them to!

Well, the reaction was so darn interesting. One young woman (and I’m going to judgmental here by calling her “young” because I believe her generation has a different view of many things and she looked “young” in her photo) accused me of “shaming” people into posting my material with my comment. I was floored? Was it as completely tactful as it could be? I suppose not. But, was I shaming ANYONE or demanding anything?

The irony is that some of the “biggest” Social Media people that got my comment reacted with swift and respectful replies acknowledging the need for what I was saying and saying they would “do better.” These are the big shots in Social Media yet they “got” what I was saying, did not take it personally, and responded quickly. I’ve found this behavior consistent with other successful and busy people. Again, how ironic.

Well, a day or so later, I got two separate emails from Dino and Dan – Triberr’s founders and guys I know and like a LOT – asking me to “tone it down” because they’d received some complaints. The comments appear in a stream along the side of the post stream. So, when I put up a bunch of the comments at the same time, it seemed I was unintentionally and temporarily dominating the comment stream and some people complained.

Given my fondness for Dan and Dino and Triberr, I quickly replied saying I’d stop posting the comments but I also expressed my confusion over WHY such a reaction? I will reference the “young” woman earlier when I declare that it’s my observation that there’s hypersensitivity in some circles about ANYTHING that isn’t politically correct or fits a particular person’s (political or other) views.

Later, I went through every one of the posts where I’d placed my comment and saw who had replied and who hadn’t. All but one of the replies were completely respectful and in agreement. I thanked each of them and added some to what they might have said. For all those who had not replied, I deleted the comment out of respect for Dino and Dan.

What do you think? Are some people too sensitive? Was my comment harsh? Was I shaming the person when I posted that comment? Is there a bigger issue here that I’m missing?

  • http://inspiretothrive.com/ Lisa Buben

    Hi Bruce, I think they are too sensitive. Commenting is part of the engagement on blogs, social sites and Triberr. I wish I had the time more to comment on those places myself. I wouldn’t feel offended if I saw a bunch from one person in the stream as long as they were real comments and not just spammy stuff to promote themselves. That would be ANOTHER story….

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thank you @Lisapatb:disqus – I do believe some people are simply too darn sensitive these days!

      • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

        I blame the PC police. We have become so preoccupied with ourselves that we forget others have feelings too. Where’s the compassion? Where’s the beef? Darn.. Now I am hungry.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          @yomarlopez:disqus – political correctness is ONLY inhibiting telling the truth!

  • http://www.unconventionallibrarian.com/ Pammy Pam

    Bruce, I found your comment spot on. Perhaps the folks who thought it was too harsh have been rightfully shamed? I’m finding that fewer people are approving posts. Or at least that is what it seems. I love me some Dino, but did he address that issue? Perhaps it is an issue with the behind the scenes magic of the site? If those of us who diligently approve everyone’s posts get frustrated and stop approving posts, who will be left?

    I don’t believe the point of Triberr is to pick and choose whose posts to approve. I think if you’re (you in general) being too picky then you might belong in a more selective tribe. The whole point of Triberr is to reach people you might not otherwise and it can’t be done if people are picking and choosing what to approve.

    Thanks for listening.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @Pamlovesbooks:disqus – thanks much for your point of view, Pam. Given I have SO many tribe-mates, it would overwhelm my Twitter stream if I approved all of the posts. Perhaps, I should just downsize and then do as you suggest. Dino/Dan suggested that you have to mix it up now and then – drop out of some tribes, join others – that some get stale. That makes sense but I’ve simply stayed in most all my tribes and I “mute” those people who are doing non-stop reviews (for money) with company hashtags, tons of giveaways, and the like because to me that is spammy. Again, thanks for the comment!

      • http://www.unconventionallibrarian.com/ Pammy Pam

        there’s no crime in dropping out of a tribe that doesn’t work for you anymore. it feels a little weird at first but then so did riding a bike.

        • Tonya Cannariato

          I’m with @Pamlovesbooks:disqus on picking and choosing posts to share–if I don’t feel like I can share 99% of the posts I see in the history of a tribe, I won’t join. And I’ve limited my tribe membership to a select few. It’s the rare exception that I hide any particular post, and that’s generally because I’ve already shared one or more from that blogger in that day. I suspect it’s the picking and choosing attitude that has made the percent of people reciprocating drop to such low levels.

          • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

            @tonyacannariato:disqus – your comment makes me realize that the sheer volume of my tribes and tribe-mates is probably counter-productive (for me). Thanks much for making the comment and sharing your thoughts!

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          @Pamlovesbooks:disqus – I agree but my analogy is like quitting reading a book when it’s not grabbing you – uncomfortable!

  • http://dinodogan.com/ Dino Dogan

    All is well that ends well 🙂

    I would only add that the Quid Pro Quo equation can end when someone writes such a kick ass post that it benefits me when I share it. Those are the kinds of tribemates I look for.

    Great write up, Bruce. Thank you for letting it all hang 🙂

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      What I love about you (and Dan) @dinodogan:disqus is that we can communicate sometimes “sensitive” stuff without getting our feelings hurt. That, to me, is being grown up – something my wife says I’ve yet to achieve!

    • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

      Obviously, Dino thinks most of my posts suck because he rarely shares my posts. 😛

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        @faryna:disqus – don’t feel bad, I have a great relationship with Dino and I don’t think he’s EVER shared one of my posts!

        • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

          Same here. Heck I am not even a member of any Dino super tribes and I have supported Triberr since the beginning. Its important to not take it personally. People just have bad time management skills so we lose sight of simple opportunities. ;o)

          When folks say they are “too busy” I say, “When do you go to the bathroom? Man, your life must be impossible!!”. LOL

          • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

            @yomarlopez:disqus – I took a time management class way back before the Internet was invented by Al Gore (Ha!). It was easy then compared to now. The more successful and busier the person, the more I usually can rely on them. Those are the people I count on. EVERY TIME I’ve ever emailed @GuyKawasaki, I hear back within hours. How does he do it? And, btw, he has FOUR kids, too!

  • Cathy Canton

    Bruce you are spot on! I share because that is what I do I am a sharer of information. That gets and loses me followers, but I do it anyways. It is a small handful of people who share my stuff (thanks Bruce you are one of them) and I go our of my way to check the stream if not daily several times a week I actually try to read what I share. I try to share as many people as possible while trying to keep it to content rather than giveaway posts. I have to believe that a negative reaction may merely be guilt and annoyance at being called out. There is a point to Triberr and the idea is to share and be shared, if someone is not into that they should get out. I will say this about Triberr by being part of the tribes there is lots of content I wouldn’t otherwise see and I like that. Unrelated – I met Dino at BeConnected in Ottawa last April and he is indeed a bundle of fun.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @chralex:disqus – your kind of comment/support is by FAR the majority, but like an accident on a freeway, one bad egg can ruin it for a WHOLE lot of people and the complaint and name-calling I got with my comment had that effect on me (a bit). I’m both thin and thick-skinned – with my wife, I’ve learned to have very THICK skin! Lol…

  • Sam Patterson

    very interesting

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @disqus_WDfIqxcC8h:disqus – very interesting “good” or “not good” Sam?

      • Sam Patterson

        Interesting in terms of how the community works. From your posts, to the replies and complaints, to the intervention of the community leaders. I like it and think overall it is good. . .

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          We’ve certainly created a conversation @disqus_WDfIqxcC8h:disqus so that @Triberr can become as effective as can be!

  • http://womeninbusinessradio.com Michele Price

    I’d also add that there is no need for us to drop out of tribes if we liked who was in tribe when we first joined. Then later others joined we were not as willing to share their content.

    One way to view tribes is that it is a choice. I do not throw out the baby with the bath water because I do not want to share EVERYONE’S posts.

    Frankly ( turn away if you are sensitive) sometimes content is so repetitive that I do not have confidence of that blogger. They just talk about the same damn thing that other bloggers already serve.

    Sometimes I just like some post more than others. No one shares ALL of mine either and frankly 90% my posts are promoting other people. People who are going to be on Breakthrough radio #BBSradio. People like Dino! Who is a regular guest.

    Bruce we can count on you to make an observation, state your facts and then wait for people to comment.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks @prosperitygal:disqus – I think the reason we like each other is we are NOT afraid to state what is on our mind, even if it may ruffle a few feathers!

  • paulakiger

    I know you and I communicated privately about this, and I think everything is good between us … I joined Triberr when EVERYTHING AUTOPOSTED and shortly after I joined, the system changed to where we had to select what we wanted to post. I didn’t realize until you said it in this post that we could now put individual tribemates on “auto post.” That’s good to know. As I mentioned to you, every single morning I go through my stream and approve things to post. Maybe I have some tribemates I need to separate from – I don’t tend to approve many “fifty cent coupon” posts and I don’t approve all giveaway posts (although I occasionally do giveaways too so I don’t want to blow them ALL off). I also don’t approve posts that for some reason don’t seem to align with the social media image I am trying to project, and THAT is a very subjective process that has nothing to do with the quality of the post sometimes….. I am glad you asked the question you did because it led to us having a dialogue. I guess the only thing that may have made it different would be to communicate with us privately about your concern as opposed to publicly on the stream, using text that was the same for all of us … but there are only 24 hours in every day so I am sure you were trying to be efficient! Just a few more thoughts!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @paulakiger:disqus – I concur with EVERY word of your comment! Thx for posting it! I’m grateful this dialogue was occurred – good for all of us on @Triberr and for Dan and Dino to look at – and I know they will!

  • M. E. Franco

    I was complaining about this very topic with two other friends who are also on Triberr. We were talking about putting people on mute. There are people on Triberr who never share any posts. I’m not sure why they’re there. I started sharing their posts at first, hoping they would respond, but after a few shares, I just stopped. I can see people being picky and sharing posts that are more interesting to their followers, but it’s frustrating to see people who aren’t sharing any posts at all.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      We completely agree – it’s sort of baffling! @Triberr

  • David Weber

    HYPERsensitive! I see this all the time in my students at the university. I think it’s an early-20-something thing.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus – of course I’ll be called sexist, but don’t you believe – as I do – that this HYPER-sensitivity is more prevalent among our young women? The woman who accused me of “shaming” really was reaching, don’t you think, based on my comment, David?

      • David Weber

        I think she was reaching, yes. She may not have seen it that way; she may actually have believed you to be “shaming” her and others and being inappropriate.

        I would say that for decades, centuries, millennia in the West, more women have been notably sensitive (in many connotations and meanings of that word) than more men. There are any number of reasons for that.

        The point here is that Western young women may today be more sensitive — again, I am using that term very broadly and loosely — than Western men. But Western men of the Millennial cohort are more sensitive than earlier cohorts of Western men.

        It is that difference in sensitivity that leads to even young men today to being sensitive; but young women who are as sensitive as the blogger in the column probably outnumber the men who are equally sensitive.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Sensitively said, @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus…

  • http://twitter.com/therealsjr Stewart Rogers

    I don’t think you’re being harsh Bruce, as I said to you at the time you brought this up on Triberr.

    But, as you also know, I can’t share everything regardless of content, and I don’t recommend anyone else do that either. I curate the stream in Triberr and choose to put out content (like this excellent article) that I know will speak to my readers/followers.

    I do, however, see other content creators that never share. It’s up to you, I and all the other Tribe leaders to manage those situations and remove those people as members of our own tribes. ‘Take’ without any ‘give’ is not cool.

    Keep on producing awesome content. I’ll keep sharing it. 🙂

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @TheRealSJR:disqus – thanks SO much for your comment and your sharing. We are in total agreement. Of course NO ONE expects every post to be shared. I tend NOT to post most of the #ads, most of the reviews, and most of the giveaways. Given I have so many tribe mates, I do mute those that don’t seem appropriate and/or don’t share. Mostly, the latter.

    • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

      I agree.

      It does not seem you were harsh. People who get offended easily need to set the PC police aside or deal with their own demons. Perhaps guilt causes that sensitivity? ;o)

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        This is where each generation looks at things differently. The ONE person who took greatest “offense” appeared to be a young woman – not sure what that ONE person means as a bigger reflection but most of the BIGGER names that responded ALL responded with respect and understand and/or agreement, @yomarlopez:disqus

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    How shall I say what I want to say? How shall I say what needs to be said? Should I bother?

    It remains a mystery to me why Triberr went from automated tweets to manual review. Sure, clicks and time on site feeds the platform’s potential value in the eyes of potential stakeholders and investors. But Triberr’s wow factor suffered considerably and immediately since that fateful policy/feature change. I had also wondered if Twitter had given the guys a warning and, as we all know, Twitter suffers no tom foolery for long. Or was the actual or potential cost of bandwidth becoming problematic?

    I do not demand answers or confirmations to my various speculations. Business insights often reveal themselves when the right questions are asked. Without confessions and admissions.

    Nor do I want to suggest Dino or Dan have made any mistakes. I like what they did and I don’t think the fat lady has sung for Triberr. But there is need for wow and I say that only to inspire Dino and Dan to dream bigger, endure and knock it out of the ballpark.

    Next comment: Quid pro quo

    Before I begin that comment, I’ll take the opportunity to mention Yogizilla’s and my Doctor Who podcast, Timey Wimey Tea Time. We’re still working out the bugs, but that’s not stopping the love.


    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Did I say that I LOVE YOU @faryna:disqus – you’re a kick!

    • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

      The shift from automation to manual review hurt Triberr a lot but that’s Twitter and gang being douchebags about it. Ideally, I would love to see some degree of automation, perhaps rule-based so we only have to check in to leave comments and do the more managed citation like, say, Reddit, StumbleUpon, or Pinterest. 8)

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        @yomarlopez:disqus – we can auto-post any individual we want still – though the change to all moderation has hurt a lot, as we all seem to agree!

    • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

      Mi nombre es Yomar. Me gusts queso. 8)

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    When it’s about manual tasks, Quid Pro Quo tends to fail for the noble-hearted social media maven somewhere between 20 to 100 people – depending on stamina, results, or availability of an assistant or intern. Guy Kawasaki used to emphasize the wonders of having a team of free interns to support his social media act. Generally speaking, remedial social technology (pun intended) continues to fail to solve this challenge. A break through technology would allow us to effectively interact in a simultaneous manner with 3,000 individuals.

    Beyond the problem of scaling up human relationships so that we could have effective reaches in the millions, reciprocity is just not sexy.

    Everyone wants massive returns for their casual effort. That’s the social media kool-aid. The fact is that the direct and indirect returns for casual and serious effort remain insignificant, lackluster and, sometimes, downright desolate. Though some folks will be obtuse and persist in their false consciousness, it doesn’t take long for most people to see that the so-called freeware actually costs more than other forms of advertising and marketing. At least, in time. And, heck yes, the old adage remains true regardless of your present income, net worth and employment status – time is money.

    One of the problems of the disappointing return is that people stop reciprocating and if you continue to provide them link juice, they don’t reflect on the unequal situation as a reflection of your kindness and generosity. They think it’s because they are that awesome. Such is the power of the idic (ref. to Freud). Or they are takers and there’s a lot more takers in this world than givers. Of course, there are some that are just too busy to think about it at all. Or Elvis has left the building.

    Then there is the problem of content. Really? Really! Does the content appeal to their audience or is it crap and an obvious no share? 99.9% of the membership of Triberr are NOT trained or qualified to assess, measure and understand the full spectrum of an audience’s preferences – especially if that audience exceeds 20-100 people. Such discussions, therefore, are nothing more than polite and convenient lies. Either the reluctant curator is ignorant, uneducated, emotionally challenged or all three OR the content available to them for sharing is crap.

    There remains a need for tribal committees to be able to collectively assign content providers according to quality of content in a way that first tier providers get automatically tweeted, second tier providers require manual review and third tier providers are warned and submissions are reviewed by a committee for adequacy for representation in the manual review feed. This won’t work because no one wants to “man up” and be the bad cop and be leaders (wanna be leaders tend to be the most incapable of leadership) – such is the current of our culture of irresponsibility, two-faced dilemmas and leadership-lack. And to quote the Prince in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, ALL ARE PUNISHED.

    Alas, the time it would have taken to say these things with certain kindness and all the appropriate gymnastics would have been worthwhile. Because I have presented myself as a frank-speaking jerk, hereby, and yet I long to be a gentle, patient and loving force. I truly do – regardless of my failure in this ambition.


    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Uhhh, yeah @faryna:disqus – lol, you’re not a jerk but you are a VERY thoughtful guy in a very unthoughtful world! That’s why you connected so well with my friend, Professor @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus who is equally articulate, well-rounded, and always thinks through EVERY issue!

    • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

      @Stan Faryna I bet people would reconsider their expectations if their content was muted or buried deeper the less they share. Imagine the paradigm shift then. The value of creation should be inherent and internalized but some folks just need a nudge.. Or a kick. =o)

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        @yomarlopez:disqus @faryna:disqus – I mute those peeps that post a TON of giveaways or tons of #ads and reviews…and I tend to unmute EVERYONE every few months or so to re-visit how each person may have changed. I spend FAR TOO much time trying to do Triberr right – lol!

    • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

      So if we want to be as awesome as Guy Kawasaki, we have to get some free labor? All right guys.. See ya later. Gonna post some “jobs” on CraigsList. =oP

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        @GuyKawasaki does a LOT himself – when he co-hosts at #DadChat he is quick on his feet and EVERYTHING comes from him. The busiest are the best and the most on top of things. There’s a reason he’s the success he is!

  • http://geekyantics.net Yomar Lopez

    I love Dino and Dan but I will be honest: Triberr and platforms like it serve only one immediate purpose for me: curating quality content for my audience. The ratio of stuff I curate to stuff of mine that is shared currently hovers around 100:1. As such, I check in two or three times a week, share quality content that isn’t purely link bait, silly lists, or glorified ads.. And I leave a few comments.

    At most I get some thank-you tweets and that’s nice.. But I do not fool myself into thinking people will be social with their social media. Sadly, its usually about “me me me” to a number of people. That’s okay. If you have something remotely interesting to share, I will share it onward and in return I only expect that people will find something value there.

    The issues here are not limited to Triberr. Folks worry about conflicts of interest but let’s be honest: they are not comparing quality or even measuring most of the time. They are simply worried that you may take some of their business because we all essentially offer the same services. That’s the issue with any platform where producers and creators outweigh curators and consumers.

    Certainly, there is an air of arrogance that dictates, “If its not my content it isn’t awesome enough!”. This is selfish and provides a disservice to any audience. Not even the biggest media outlets can keep up with the demands of inquiring minds and curious consumers. We all need help… And yet the attitude is “I will share this so that they share my stuff” rather than “I will share this because it interests me and/or my audience may enjoy it”. Its a shame but that is the reality. 8)

    I must say: you see less of the self-serving, piss-poor attitudes in podcasting. Podcasters are all about collaboration because the barrier to entry is so high and that creates an almost immediate respect and appreciation for others. Podcast hosts will even ask you to plug your stuff and perhaps boast a bit. Blogging needs to catch up in a big way or we will just become a community of spoiled kids that don’t know how to play nice with others.

    Screw you guys.. I’m going home.. And the ball is coming with me! ;o)

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      That’s ONE HECKUVA comment @yomarlopez:disqus – and I thought I was cynical! LOL…I do think you’re largely right. I sure hope my ratio is far less than 100 – 1 or why be there at all?