There was a time when I didn’t trust social media. I’m still not entirely confident.
I avoided Facebook like the plague, viewing it as a parasitic force that sucked all the time and energy from one’s life and spread it out like fecal matter to the viewing public. Blech.
I jumped out of LinkedIn when it was first launched because I didn’t like that it wanted access to my email contact list which includes many people I’ve worked with during investigations. No, no, no.
Thanks to public outrage and a few recent amendments to company policy, Facebook and others have cleaned up their acts. Moderately. Enough, at least, to give me back the control I wanted.
Usually, appropriate quantities of caffeine pending, we view ourselves in the mirror before stepping outside to greet the public world. There is a distinct difference between what we perceive as ‘indoor’ appearance and ‘outdoor’ appearance (granted, there are some people who don’t seem to have this mechanism). For those of us who do, releasing our email contacts list to a third party is akin to stringing up our underwear drawer for the sunlight to clearly show all the holes and stains of our very human existence. No one likes to admit they’re human. We’re all perfect little drones and we’re all called some version of Jones.
Sometimes those contacts are not stains on our pristine lives, but are, instead, much cherished relationships. Social media — email included — tends to devalue our connections. We now groan at the sight of 50 emails in our inbox instead of jumping for joy when we receive a single posted letter at our door (see The Tipping Point for more on this). I do not want to devalue these much-cherished relationships by reducing them to a post on my Home page.
It has taken some time, some peer pressure, but finally some desire to market and promote my work for me to give up living medially and use social media to branch out laterally. I am following the bell curve on this, regrettably. However, it is proving worthwhile.
I am now spending a significant amount of time establishing contacts on LinkedIn, posting on Facebook, and updating GoodReads. I can easily spend 6 hours on a Saturday morning, numbing my butt, while attempting to make and broaden my connections. This has been rewarded with increased traffic on this blog. I would like to think that I am doing this to reach out and keep in touch with my community, or develop a community. I like talking to people. I like the almost tangible connection you can get from a well-established relationship. Yet this tends to fly in the face of a Facebook invite asking me what I’ve been doing for the past five years (how the hell do you respond to that??).
It is a learning process. A journey. I hope to meet some of you one day, to establish that kind of relationship that can only, truly be done through a face-to-face conversation. Until then….comments welcome, as always 🙂