Social Networking means you should ‘like’ me, ‘friend’ me, ‘pin’ me, ‘connect’ with me, ‘follow’ me and then let’s ‘twitter’ about it.
I want you to go to my Facebook page right now and ‘Like’ me dammit! Or better yet, ‘Friend’ me. Do this in spite of the fact that we don’t know each other, we’ve never met, probably will never meet and the second you do it, you’ll forget all about me.
Two weeks later you’ll be scratching your head and saying, “Ethan who?”
After you’re finished doing that I want you to go to my Twitter, (I don’t twitter), and ‘Follow’ me. Just keep your distance when I go to the restroom or I’m out on a date. (Yeah, that’s going to happen.)
I’m not sure why you’re supposed to ‘follow’ me or how closely; I just know that the more people there are ‘following’ me, the better off I am and the more successful I am. Hey, at least I won’t be lonely anymore if I have 356, 945 stalkers…, I mean, followers.
Exactly why are you supposed to ‘follow’ me? Are you supposed to hang on my every word, (read Twitter)? Are you supposed to be really that interested in my rather mundane existence? I mean, sure, I’m an author with five books out there and working on a sixth but how often can, (or should), I ‘twitter’ about them without annoying the crap out of my stalkers, er, I mean ‘followers’? Will you care that I stepped in dog poop today or that something fell on my foot and I’ve been limping for three weeks?
What’s with the ‘liking’ and ‘friending’ bit on Facebook? Right now my first grade teacher, Mrs. Peiri, is frantically attempting to dig her way out of the grave with her 12 inch wooden ruler. When she gets out, and she will, she is going to rap everyone on the head who uses the words text, texting, friend and friending as verbs. Then she is going to hunt down everyone who uses Twitter, one by one.
“Twittering is for birds, you knucklehead. Humans converse, face to face if possible.”
This will be accompanied by a sharp bonk on your forehead and then she will throw your cellphone into the top drawer of her desk. This drawer can only be opened by correctly reciting multiple incantations of Shakespeare and writing an essay explaining why learning four other languages besides English will someday be beneficial.
All that aside, I cannot help wondering if anyone else feels the same way I do about social networking. I wonder what good it does and whether it’s a waste of my time. It hasn’t done a thing to change my status as an author and I’m not sure it’s supposed to do that.
Personally, I often feel uneasy about getting a message from my pages on Facebook or LinkedIn that contain a request to go ‘like’ or ‘friend’ a complete stranger. Maybe I’m just old fashioned; maybe I’m just old. How am I supposed to ‘like’ you if I don’t even know your name, what you do, or who you really are? And what am I supposed to do if I go to your page and I, (god forbid,) don’t ‘like’ you? (I will say that I have never solicited ‘likes’ from anyone. Can’t bring myself to ask people to go ‘like me on Facebook’.)
Recently I received a message on my LinkedIn page from a ‘fellow author’. He wanted to ‘connect’ with me, as they say on that site. So I clicked on his profile and scanned the page. His writing was horrendous, even in his profile. His writing samples and excerpts were worse. I had no idea why this fellow wanted to connect with me and, truth be told, I did not want to hit the ‘connect’ button. (I did anyway to avoid being rude.)
Are we morally and socially obligated to ‘like’ you or ‘friend’ you if request it? Actually, now that I think of it, most businesses and individuals don’t ask; they tell, they demand. Many commercials and printed ads now end with, “Go Like Us On Facebook!” Individual people virtually scream at you, “Go ‘like’ me on Facebook and I’ll ‘like’ you back!” What, are we all in third grade?
I’ve been arguing about social networking with myself lately. (You do that a lot when you’re as lonely as I am and you can’t find your medication.) I finally caved in and did the Facebook thing last year. Then I signed up with LinkedIn. Now everyone and every media outlet says I have to Twitter. I don’t want to Twitter. I’m with Mrs. Peiri; twittering is for the birds who are currently fighting it out over the four pounds of bird seed in the feeder outside. (Apparently four pounds isn’t enough for them.)
I actually read an article recently that insisted if I don’t twitter, I cannot possibly hope to be successful as an author. Huh?! Really? That’s all I have to do is accumulate thousands of followers on Twitter? So, rather than working on writing and being a writer who writes well, I should sharpen my social networking skills? I think I’d rather wait for that call from Oprah.
I really don’t think there are thousands of people out there who would be all that interested in the innocuous and often meaningless things going on in my life. Is that what you’re supposed to twitter about? How often are you supposed to twitter? How loudly should you twitter? Are there different types of twittering?
Social networking can cause you to entertain feelings of insecurity too. What if no one ‘follows’ me? What if no one ‘likes’ me? I spent a long time just existing on Facebook without seeking to do anything about ‘likes’ or ‘friends’. It didn’t seem to matter one bit. It still doesn’t. I used to joke that I had three friends on Facebook and two of them didn’t even ‘like’ me. I don’t want to be twittering and blogging to no one.
Why does society in general judge us by how many friends, followers and ‘likes’ we have? Why is social networking directly connected to our success or failure?
Questions, questions. I have more but right now I have to go ‘like’ myself.
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Ethan Holmes is the author of five books. Feel free to visit and learn more about author Ethan Holmes. ‘Follow’ his blog/podcast at http://blog.ethanholmes.com