The headline screams loud…
“Social Media Is The future!”
Yes, the hype sounds good on paper, er uh, I mean, electronic media. After all, I can strategically locate, contact and then woo people I barely know or have never met. Of course, this is all on the Internet, so it’s not like watching them window-to-window with a telescope.
Certain friends of mine envision a great horror-suspense movie, begging to be produced. But…what about the articles that quote otherwise?
“Such a simple and effective way to network.”
“Never leave the basement. Stay in touch while you lounge in your underwear, sip Red Bull and munch Cheetos.”
Okay, it does sound creepy. But still, there is need to examine…
Not so long ago, it was difficult for many folks to start a conversation. Awkward social skills, isolated home sites and simple laziness has blocked more potential friendships than the NFL..
So—along comes this abundance of online venue to jump right in with a clever blurb or two. Seems to have broken down the walls. People like you and me can now say “Hey!” or “What’s up?” to folks who live in a world we only dream of.
Let me give you an example…
Anne Rice, the author (The Vampire Chonicles) is one of my Facebook friends. I have never met her, but nonetheless, she is someone I admire, therefore it made sense to take the opportunity to gain exposure to her “personal” side.
Two days after she accepted my friend request, I commented on a post she had written. My prose was drooly, complimentary and yes, long and drawn out. “This’ll get her attention,” I confidently thought.
Well, imagine my delight, when nine days later I receive an email from Facebook. The subject was, “Anne Rice commented on your wall post!”
OMG, I thought. The Great One has recognized me.
Had to take a moment just to gather myself. Wildly rotated my head, just like high school drama taught so many years ago. With chants of “Aumm…” and “Bluda bluda bluda,” I was soon ready to open the mail and reveal the sacred words of my big time celebrity friend.
Shaky fingers typed that familiar user name, “getalife,” followed by the password, “no.really.” I gazed excitedly, as the site began to emerge from an endless pack of third-party ads. Soon, there it was; emblazoned in lower case font:
“She likes me, she really, really likes me!” I shouted.
“Probably just her assistant,” said one downer friend of mine.
“No! She said in her profile that she doesn’t use an assistant for Facebook. It was her! In fact, I’ll bet she read my post over and over. Probably saved it and shared with her really important author friends. We connected!”
Seriously now…It is my experience that a good solid human connection should be made face to face. Shake hands, hug, kiss, make eye contact, talk, listen, laugh, cry—all that old fashion stuff from back in the day.
Second best is a phone call. Whether landline or cell, it’s all good. Same as above, sans handshake, hug, kiss and eye contact. Still a live engagement.
I’ll bypass emails, letters, greeting cards and smoke signals to move right in to Facebook. So much has been said about its virtues, as well as the dark side.
Lots of validity for both.
The way I see it—just as it was somewhat “unfashionable” to shop at Wal-Mart a few years ago; so many folks (Maybe you?) said, “I never go there.”
Um hmmm. Like the Yogi Berra quote, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
Let’s put it out there. Just about anyone who owns a computer and has Internet connection is exposed to Facebook and has likely made a choice to join, or not to join. A recent Experian Simmons study said 66% of all Americans participate in social networking—much of that through Facebook.
A Rasmussen report states that 69% of Americans prefer to shop at Wal-Mart.
There’s an old joke, told way too often by stand-up comics… “A recent survey showed that 80% of people masturbate…and the other 20% are liars.”
See the point?
So, what does Facebook do…really.
Some say it’s to “Keep in touch with friends and family.”
Sounds reasonable enough.
I say though, it helps to avoid that overdue phone call or drop-by, and instead provide pseudo maintenance to a lazy personal or business relationship.
Of course; on a phone call, you can blabber away and it’s mostly all forgotten by hang-up time. True, but—you connect. With Facebook, on the other hand, you write a few clever sentences, then change your mind and word it all differently—again and again; till finally you have arrived at just the right blurb. Thank God for the backspace key, eh?
Your “wall friends” will read your post and then sometimes reply in kind. And don’t forget—those same words will stay on your respective walls till the end of time. Try that with wasted talk on a call or personal visit. Did someone say, “Feed the OCD monster…”?
Others may troll Facebook, simply for the fun of it. That’s great—if you consider stalking a hobby.
Where else can you peek at intimate testimonials or “accidentally” discover who “friended” whom. Many a domestic battle has been waged on the hallowed grounds of this site.
Still others may say their reasons are to “express my views.” I suppose that makes some sense. I wonder though, if you choose this venue because no one really cares about those views in the flesh and blood world. Write an awkward quote penned by you—or worse, steal something from a buzzword poet and call it your “inspiration.”
I’ll say it again, “No one cares!”
Well, I take that back. Someone may pretend to like your verse, rhyme or libation. Perhaps they want to connect with you in the real world and that is all they have to go on. Not so different than the flesh and blood cutie I see at Starbucks now and then. She defines the core blonde stereotype. Some of the lines she utters may create a moment of confusion for me. What the hell though, she’s a doll and I unabashedly compliment her most “unique” point of view. Shoot me for my hormones.
Alright, I’ll come back from that digression. What if someone was meant to cross your path, but wouldn’t have a shot, save for social networks? Could h/she use this new avenue to build an online relationship—then take it a step further with email or a phone call. Perhaps meet sometime for coffee? Could end up as fate—your soul mate, business partner or just a good friend?
I’ve ranted my piece. Made light of Facebook and certainly myself. I too participate in the hubbub, and despite the negatives, find it a refreshing and simple means to shrink our world to a smaller neighborhood.
So—next time I write a thought or muse on my wall, you have every right to pummel it with thoughts of how you really feel or you can be extra nice and say it is cute and clever. Just don’t ignore me. Several hundred friends who don’t pay attention to something I took so much thought to say…. blah, blah, blah…well, that’s another blog…