I’ve recently set about cleaning up some of the social networks and contacts that have stuck to me through accretion over the past couple of years.
My impetus for doing so has really been two fold:
- I am no longer actively participating in a network, the network and I are no longer providing any benefit to one another, or one of us is an unequal partner in the conversation, and
- Dialog is not taking place and I am expected to be a passive customer or consumer.
Pertaining to number (1) above, I could happily go along and reap the rewards of whatever Google Juice is to be reaped by being connected to any given network.
In fairness, by my reckoning, my participation in a given network or community is a tacit approval or endorsement of that community. If I am not actively engaged on a regular basis, and that community becomes something contrary to my beliefs and values, my online rep suffers through the association.
Conversely, by not removing myself from those forums where I am nominally a member, but not really a participant, I am still rewarding those sites, even in the very smallest infinitesimal way, with whatever little influence I might have over swaying anyone. Better to simply part ways as friends and call it a draw.
As far as number (2) above goes, I have found myself connected to and / or “friended” to several people (as many of you may have) that are either simply takers (use your own definition) or simply talkers (guilty as charged in some cases).
After a while of finding myself blowing past their posts or finding myself diametrically opposed to whatever agenda they are pushing I began to ask myself – “why I am doing this? ”
For the influence? Exposure? Because all the cool kids are doing it?
Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t look at Social Networking as some zero-sum, favor bank undertaking (see Thomas Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities). All people are definitely not created equal and there will never be complete reciprocity across the web within our virtual networks.
But there should at least be the mere appearance of a conversation or interaction occurring. If YOU are doing all the talking (or worse, if I am doing all the talking) and no discourse takes place at some regular interval, then what’s the point? You’re not gonna buy what I’m selling and I sure ain’t gonna transact with you (primarily because I’ll never get your attention long enough to say “how can we help each other?”).
I’ve made a deal with myself that I’m gonna try and be straight up and cut down on much of the social media noise that frankly is stealing away moments of my life with nothing tangible being returned.
Not looking to monetize every waking moment; not trying to make money in my sleep; but I am looking to learn, grow, and expand my knowledge every day beyond what I knew yesterday – and hopefully be able to do tomorrow what I am incapable of doing today.
To that end, I’m working on being a conversationalist and not simply another babbling voice among the multitude.
Just hoping that it’s not a soliloquy I’m conducting.