I think the romance, if there ever was one, between me and social media is heading for a break-up. If not a total end, then at least I think we should see other people.
Granted, I administer a Facebook page for work—and I’m still quite sold on the benefits of social media for companies that do it right—which means viewing it as a chance to have an all-cards-on-the-table honest and real discussion with their customers and others. Companies who use it simply as a channel to force down more sales messaging quickly learn the error of their ways. I even have a page where I post my newly published work—so I get the self-promotional aspect of it.
But on a personal level, I have to admit; the whole thing is starting to bore me. I’m happy to know when a friend takes a trip or gets a new dog or finds a really good recipe—but if I were really your friend, you’d probably tell me about that stuff anyway. And the telling would call for a luncheon date or getting together for coffee or a midnight run to Denny’s—actual social events. Granted, I’m just as guilty as anyone, broadcasting extraneous information about my bumper crop of raspberries or the pretty new rose I grew, my wedding photos—and of course, the ubiquitous freshly-bathed dog shots.
It occurred to me last night when I got a friend request someone I don’t know at all that I’m actually pretty circumspect when it comes to my facebook friends. The majority are people I either actually know in the flesh—work colleagues, past clients, people I remember (or not!) from high school, the odd neighbor and some of my love’s family members. There are two former romantic attachments; the only two I wish to still have contact with. There are a few others, mostly from the writing trade that I may not have ever met personally, but I have either vigorously corresponded with them, often for decades, interviewed them or otherwise had some sort of professional connection. So they get to stay. I’m satisfied that I “know” them.
It’s the complete strangers or those who might have read a story of mine (some of which can be a little creepy. The people, not the stories) who want to come aboard that throw me. I don’t understand why my (online) life is of any interest to them. I am, for all intensive purposes, a total stranger.
I feel if I accept them as “friends,” I’m somehow being disloyal to my actual friends. The people who see me through real problems. Find safety pins when I break a zipper. Bring me McDonald’s biscuits when I’m having a bad morning. If everyone is a “friend,” how do I let these real people who make my life easier, better and more fun know how special they are.
My own “home” page consists of my “friends” musings—some of which I turn off with the hide button because they’re just a little too into over-sharing, but I don’t have the heart to unfriend them. Come on, we all do it. There are notices of TV shows I won’t have time to watch. Books and magazines I won’t have time to do more than scan. And announcements of new Fossil bags that let me work up a justification for a new Maddox satchel (in Chestnut!)
Admittedly, I like LinkedIn. I get to keep in touch with the business I worked in for years—to which I’m now only peripherally attached. I know who is changing jobs, who is doing what where and with whom. It’s useful. Never got into MySpace (that was smart), I don’t want to be the mayor of a tavern, so those ones are off the list and Google+ still feels like an empty room. But Facebook, I have to say, I’m just not that into you anymore.
So if you don’t know me—if we haven’t met or you haven’t been in my life in someway—and I don’t give you the nod when you friend me, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just growing a little anti-social (media).