July 25, 2014

How Do You Feel About Submitting Your Own Content to Social Media?

Submitting your own content to social media sites is a bit of a controversial issue. Many bloggers primarily use social media for the purpose of driving traffic to their own site, as opposed to using social media to find interesting content from other blogs and websites. The feeling from some passionate social media users is that submitting your own content is essentially spamming the community.

I think most of us as bloggers had the approach of submitting our own work when we first discovered the power of social media. If you’re a website owner or blogger it’s only natural to want to use the resources that are available to gain exposure.

Here are my observations on the issue of self submissions:

  • The Digg crowd is especially sensitive to self submissions, although most users seem fine with digging your own content once it has been submitted by another user.
  • Some StumbleUpon users are sensitive to the issue, some are not. There seems to be more of a variety here, and even amongst those that don’t submit or give a thumbs up to their own content, I have rarely read any negative comments towards others who do.
  • Most smaller social media sites and niche sites are not sensitive to the issue. In many cases, if you do not submit your own content to these sites it’s not very likely that someone else will.

Here is my experience with self submission:

  • My primary blog (Vandelay Website Design) has been around for about a year and has only been on the front page of Digg 4 times. Two of the times the popular post was submitted by me. I haven’t submitted one of my own posts to Digg in months, and I doubt I ever will again. I had no negativity directed towards me for submitting my own content (that I’m aware of), but I would rather wait for someone else to submit or approach a friend to do so.
  • Stumbling your own posts too much causes less results over a period of time. From my observations, the algorithm clearly seems to give more weight to a thumbs up from someone who has never given a thumbs up on that domain before. The more thumbs up you give to your own site, the less impact it has.
  • While I don’t give a thumbs up to posts on my primary blog, I have done so here at Traffikd on several occasions. From my perspective, this blog is new and sometimes I’m trying to give a post a bit more life. At some point I’ll stop this completely, but I don’t know exactly when that will be.
  • I also submit my own posts (I do a bit of freelance writing) that are published on other blogs. I see this as being a little different than the typical self submission because it is not on a blog that I own.
  • I submit a good portion of my posts on my primary blog to niche social media sites, but I do make a conscious effort to be sure that it is appropriate for the audience before submitting.

My own personal conclusions:

I have no problem with someone submitting their own content as long as it is appropriate for the audience of that specific social media site and as long as it is tagged in the proper category. I feel that it’s important for anyone who submits their own content (myself included) at any social media site, large or small, to also be an active user by visiting and voting for plenty of other submissions besides just their own.

What do you think?

Please share opinions in the comments.

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

12 comments

  1. I read a case study that someone did on StumbleUpon a while back and he had an interesting finding about self-submission. Too bad I can’t find the link right now.

    In a nutshell, the finding was that for SU self-submission isn’t the issue. What is an issue is how many times a Stumbler stumbles the same domain regardless of whose it is. Self-submission is just a specific case of that. This fits in with the other points you make above.

  2. Jacob,
    From my observations this is definitely true (an upcoming post will cover this a little bit). On my primary blog I can quickly get a bunch of thumbs up on a post, but if it’s just people that have given me thumbs up many times before it has very little effect. When I have a bigger day in terms of SU traffic, there’s always a lot of people that I don’t recognize that have given a thumbs up.

  3. Nice article, thanks. Stumbled and added to my bookmarks.

  4. Steven, while this used to annoy me, I now consider it one of SU’s best features. It’s not difficult to get together an SU group that will follow your lead but this feature incites site creators to work harder to create content that will bring in ‘fresh blood’. Which will only benefit us in the long run anyway.

    Plus, this feature also prevents SU from being locked up by an elitist group like other social media.

  5. I have always been of the mind it was a bit self righteous to ‘vote’ or ‘submit’ your own site or post. And that the sites themselves would penalise you for doing so.

    Bit thankfully I am seeing and reading that this practice is common and relatively accepted. I guess with everything, as long as it’s done in moderation and that you are equally active in promoting other ‘none your’ sites.

    I guess I may just give some of my more ‘cool’ posts a Thumbs up from time to time, but frankly, I am not overly bothered by this drive for feed subscription domination and high society status… least not yet. :) Am working on it though.

    But thank’s for the heads up, Im pretty active in recommending other sites, just not my own, maybe it’s time to change.

    Evolving Ideas to Print & Digital Media

  6. Jacob,
    I agree. I think it’s a pretty strong feature. It challenges you to keep finding new readers and new stumblers rather than relying on the same people.

    Graham,
    To me it’s all in the approach. I think it’s funny when someone gives one of their own articles a review on StumbleUpon and they say how great of an article it is, rather than just summarizes it or making a point. I guess part of the reason it doesn’t bother me is that 1 vote won’t really get you anywhere on 99% of social media sites. You still have to create something that will interest others or it just won’t go anywhere. The only time I really get put off by self submission is when someone submits their own stuff and doesn’t take time to vote for others. To me that kills the community aspect of social media. I’ve never seen anyone have real success that way. It’s like the social media gods realize you’re trying to manipulate the system and they fight back.

  7. I have no shame in submitting my own content. Of course it didn’t take long to realize that just submitting my content without paying any attention to the community I was submitting it to would backfire. Now I just focus on two social media networks and actively vote as well as submit other sites besides mine. I still submit mines though to get the ball rolling for those two networks. I don’t submit it to any other site.

  8. I rarely submit my posts to any social media. On occasion I do ask others to submit them for me, but even then, I do this sparingly.

  9. Vinh,
    I think that’s a perfectly acceptable approach since you are active in the community by voting and submitting others as well.

  10. I’ve done it before, but on posts I was excited about. I don’t see a huge difference between doing it yourself and asking a friend to do it, either. I guess I’m somewhat ambivalent about it because if everyone promoted their own stuff all the time, Digg and SU would be useless, right?

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