One of the things I like about social media is that it is getting businesses and people to communicate with each other. Twitter is a great example. On Twitter, I can have a conversation with someone or several people. It is not a normal conversation where there is an immediate feedback on what you have tweeted, but it is a long-term conversation. Sometimes there is immediate feedback with the RT's and DM's, but for the most part, it is a long-term building process.
Old media is nothing like this. Businesses who use old media advertise at us instead of communicating with us. They interrupt us. Commercials, ads in newspapers, billboards, radio ads, etc. all interrupt what we were doing. We were constantly being interrupted when watching a program on TV, reading something in a paper or listening to the radio.
Unfortunately, some people have not realized that social media is NOT old media. It is not something that should interrupt my day. This morning when I opened up TweetDeck to join in on some conversations I was being interrupted by old media types. Reading things like "3 steps to Make More Money - $125 in 24 hrs Guarantee" or "Who's interested in working part time to earn a few thousand to several thousand dollars a month working from home?" and "I just become a member of this AWESOME site that gets you TONS of followers." I felt like I was reading my junk e-mail inbox!
To those of you doing this: please stop! Stop using social media to promote yourself this way. All it makes me do is un-follow you. I want to be in a conversation with you, not be a target for advertising. Trust me when I say I am not the only one. Brett Duncan at Marketing In Progress has also talked about this in his post "Stop Shouting on Twitter." Johnathan Thomas of Presentation Advisors also posted about it and did a great job of tying it to giving a presentation (which I didn't realize until he added his comments - thanks John!).
Our advice is simple: start communicating and then we'll listen to what you have to say.