guest post at search engine land: how to shout on social media sites without screaming

i’ve written a post on search engine land explaining why sharing content is a good idea, and laying down some guidelines to help you share without overwhelming your friends.

no feature that i can recall in recent memory has polarized the social news sphere more than the ability to mass-alert stories to other users for immediate votes. stumbleUpon has the “send to” feature, propeller has “site-mail” and digg has “shouts.” as i’ve said before, the feature is a great one in principle but can be a horrible one in practice. as with any tool you give to people, half your job is to educate them on how to use the feature and set some guidelines so that it’s not abused.

learn how to use the feature without annoying anyone.

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5 thoughts on “guest post at search engine land: how to shout on social media sites without screaming

  1. Adrian67

    Great read with useful tips msaleem.

    Personally I don’t mind receiving shouts, but I don’t really like shouting submissions myself. Having said that though, I do shout from time to time because I feel a lot of my submissions get missed otherwise. I have all my mutual friends in my RSS reader, which I find really useful, but I guess a lot of people don’t do that. If they did, it would leave the shout system free for chatting rather than ‘spamming’.

    Thanks for the useful tips.


  2. Gerard

    you used to shout all the time, then you got better with them. 🙂


    I would expand on some of them. From personal experience — some I shared with Adrian above. Users need to take their time and have patience when they first start submitting to a site. You’ll hit the FP eventually, but it’s important to do so ethically. The following comes from my experience when I first started.

    Make lists to keep track.

    I monitored my submissions and noted down all the users on my friends list who were voting on my submissions without my shouting at them. Usually they were the users who had been around longer. I kept a list of them and refrained from shouting at them.

    Of the users who shout at me, I check who submitted the article they’re shouting. IMO – I feel it bad netiquette to shout your own submits at users who are shouting articles they randomly pick up and find interesting at you. I put them on a separate list. They can help to promote the stories of your friends — and in these times of diversity on Digg, it’s needed.

    Some people don’t shout at all, because they do not submit content. That’s fine. I just shout one story a day at them. Some of these users are causal users and are not on Digg every day. It’s still good netiquette to put them on your friends list if their interests line up with yours. Just because they’re casual and/or don’t submit content doesn’t mean they should be left somewhat on the outskirts of the community. Most users spend their time on the FPs of a site. If one makes a concerted effort to vote in its upcoming sections, he or she should be encouraged (I just went a little off topic here).

    I also used to keep a separate list of users I could shout to more than once a day if needed. I based it off their shouting habits.

    I think you covered this in number five, but I wouldn’t make it so much a “suggestion.” I note the topic/category of what a user shouts at me. It’s just wrong — and not useful — to shout funny cartoons at a user who Diggs/submits/shouts serious political news. Getting personal really shouldn’t be so much an option. It’s what makes a dedicated and responsible site user.

    Again, getting personal is important for other reasons. A lot of the new incoming users immediately go for the shouting system because it’s all they know. Some users choose to simply drop them off their friends list or just block incoming shouts from them. I talk to them. I’ve shared knowledge with a few users on how to track their friends’ submits and when they realize they don’t need to shout at me, they stop.

    If we all shared knowledge on how to track submits with incoming users, we could reserve the shouting system for important stories. We could also share info such as promising new users, fresh and interesting content found in the upcoming sections, etc.

  3. Guy Rosen

    Great job Mu laying out the unspoken etiquette! I sometimes get so many shouts it becomes impossible to keep track.

    Even if all your friends took this word for word, a top-tier user such as yourself would be jammed! How many shouts a day do *you* need to get yourself around?

  4. Arham

    I’m never used shout feature, just don’t like it 🙂
    and I tend to not educated too much on how to use the feature even they know how the generally features work.

  5. dotlizard

    i tried the shout feature a few times, and found it too nerve-wracking to use. so afraid i’d be doing it wrong.

    the idea of grouping friends into “shouts own stuff”, “shouts general stuff”, “just says hi”, and “doesn’t shout” sounds like a good way to make sure one reciprocates the shouting level others have chosen. with all the strong feelings & differences of opinion, i just never want to be rude.


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