Those who knew me in my younger days would definitely not have pegged me as a “smooth talker” in the pickup department.  Now, let’s be clear, I have never used a line like “Is your father a thief? No, then who stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes?” but it might have been better than the strategy I actually employed of…well…just saying nothing. However, as I’ve aged, I have improved and now genuinely consider myself to be a good conversationalist. I base this on the fact that my mom tells me I am and I once got invited to a dinner party.

But social media has thrown me completely back to my much younger, much more awkward days.

William Joseph has an ongoing calendar campaign where each month we celebrate an oddball holiday.  It is a chance for our designers and web-geeks to work on cool projects to build and show off their own skills.  For each of these months, we aim to use social media to engage the relevant community to simply share our creations with them.  This is not a sales project.  We are asking for nothing in return.  We genuinely want to find the people who are passionate about that funny day and see if they will enjoy what we have created.

Well it is my job to track down and contact these groups.  Seems simple.

Step one: search twitter and facebook to find the people and groups dedicated to the cause. Check.

Step two: make contact.  Uh…but…um…I don’t know them…how do I say hello?

So, bravely and stupidly, I just jumped in.  What a disaster.  I was awkward, cheesy, and frankly a little creepy.

For example, here’s what I posted on a facebook wall.

Hey Left Handers… Left handers day is coming up. We are developing some fun stuff that celebrates you lefties and your special day. Send me a post if you would be interested in sharing with your community.

Response? None, and reasonably so.  I wouldn’t have replied.  “Who the h@ll are you and what do you want” is the only reasonable response.

And Twitter…

Hey@LefthandrsUNITE@lefthanders@ LefthandersIntl your day’s Aug13. Check out other days at williamjoseph.com how can we help you celebrate?

Uh, you can help me celebrate by leaving me the h@ll alone, you creepy social media stalker.

Clearly, this was not the right approach.  Even though I knew it at the time it was confirmed by the engagement we got from it.  Retweets: 0. Facebook posts:0

All of a sudden I was thrown back to those terrible days of rejection.   Some people think the anonymity of the virtual environment makes engaging with others less scary.  I, however, think it’s way worse. can’t virtually blush, say something clever and slink away.  No, there is just dead internet silence.

So, what should I have done?  How do you make initial contact with someone in this new environment?  If you can help me improve my social media “pick up” skills please do!

What is the right way to contact someone you don’t know on social media?  Is it different for facebook and twitter?  Help a lonely little social media wallflower.