Bowery Mural

Anti-socially too social?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I think we are. This is something I've been thinking about for a while. These days we're all connected in approx. 7.3 kinds of different ways. That's not scientific, just my own conclusions. We're on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, Path, Flickr, Instagram... the list could go on. But yet we're all a bit anti social aren't we?

Admit it. When was the last time you actually wrote on someones Facebook wall? You actually took the time to go to their page and write on their wall. When was the last time you tweeted someone (that wasn't an @ reply) just to say how the hell are you? We're all guilty of this. Being socially anti-social.
Is it to do with the overload of information available? I mean we can all see from Facebook if our "friends" are adventuring/having fun/getting married/engaged/announced a pregnancy/been on a date/got dumped.... It's like we're immune to them now. Endless status updates provide these little insights. But in reality they're only a tiny window into someones life.

There was a story (true) of a guy on Twitter who had over 100,00 followers and indeed he followed about the same amount. I always found that bit daft, i mean you can't really keep up with that many people in 140 characters. It must just look like a constant stream of social noise. You can't really be forming any sort of relationship with them all, some yes but certainly not all. Anyway this guy was seen as a bubbly figure, a nice guy, a guy who outwardly it appeared didn't seem to have any troubles. And yet he did, sadly. But how many of his 100,000 or so followers actually noticed or took the time just to send that one tweet (that isn't an @ reply remember) to say how the heck are you? Believe me it can make all the difference.

I'm currently sitting at around 41,000 tweets. I used to feel ashamed by that but I figured at least I'm actually talking to people, getting to know them, forming some sort of relationship. I try to reply to everyone's @ replies too. (Don't you just hate it when people don't reply?). Because to me this is the way that I'm social - I don't get out much. It has brought me some great offline banter too. You could very well do yourself a favour if you work for a brand and actually spoke to people - Engagement Currency? Sometimes a simple little tweet of acknowledgement would suffice.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that we all get too caught up with being on the latest new social play thing that we're there all present and correct, yes, but are we really listening and taking notice of people we are supposed to call friends (or indeed we are trying to sell our clients' product too. Think about that). Don't get caught up in the numbers game. Having been on Facebook for four years I've only just hit 100 'friends' and there's even some people on there I'm thinking of taking off. Having forty squillion (or at least a few hundred) followers on Twitter is nothing if you're not actually having any dialogue with them and by dialogue I mean actual conversations, not you tweeting out the link to the latest cat video or blog post or... well, whatever. Those snippets are all well and good but if you aren't actually (and I'm going to have to use that word that I hate) ENGAGING (cringe) with people, then what's that actual point?

So, go, tweet someone you haven't for a while, if only to say hello. Write on their wall. Comment on their check in at the local sandwich shop. Smile at their Path. Write them a letter. Before it's too late...

Angela x


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