Why is it that everyone feels that they are either part of the conversation, on the outside, or being slighted, by the activity on social networks? Let’s say you have 1,000 friends on Facebook and I have 20. Clearly, there is an understanding you have those friends that I will never have. Perhaps some of the 20 friends I have are part of the 1,000 you have. Perhaps some are not. If you have 50 times as many friends as I have, I will always feel left out regardless; whether or not I actually engage with your 1,000 friends because they aren’t my friends, they are just casual acquaintances, and our relationship with you is the glue that holds things together.
This is the reality of social networking. Some people are more charismatic than others. Some take time to get to know than others. I could make friends on social networks, but I am not honestly interested in doing so. I could care less if you follow me or not. I would rather have an interesting conversation with an acquaintance, or someone I do not care to know, than to have a boring conversation with someone I’ve known for 20 years. The boring conversations at the social account will be converted into interesting one with cheap instagram likes. The rates of the likes will be under the funds available with the person.
Facebook requires us to know about every single person that is following our activities. We have a list of friends with whom we are supposed to have this reciprocal relationship with. The only problem with Facebook, is that relationships are not always on a reciprocal basis. You could be my friend on Facebook and never say anything to me. You could be my friend and get upset when I talk to your friends (but don’t talk to you). You could be my friend and ignore all of my attempts to converse with you.
People can “like” things on Facebook and they can “poke” people. These are the dumbest tools in the world; I honestly do not care what you like and do not waste your time poking me if you do not have anything to say. Poking has to be the most passive aggressive means by which to interact with Facebook; you say nothing and the only appropriate thing that other person can do is poke you back because chances are you aren’t going to respond to anything else but a poke. It is utterly ridiculous. Sure I’m shy, but say something to me, and say what you mean.
Google Plus has circles, which is a cool feature. The only problem with the feature is that I cannot get people onto Google Plus! I have thousands of friends on Twitter and around 30 on Facebook, I could care less if any of them are on Google Plus because these people rarely talk to me as it is! To bring them onto Google Plus would mean that I am bringing the same people that do not talk to me from one network onto another. The only impetus to do so would be the functionality that circles provide, which is to post some updates to some people, others to other people and some to everyone. If I have something to say to you, and no one else, I will just email you or call you on the telephone. The entire point of social networking is to broadcast to the world.
In fact one of the problems with social networking, is that we want to replicate real world relationships online when we should be using social networking as the marketing tool it was intended to be. Social networks should be a place where you market your own personal brand, not a space on the Internet for you to have intimate conversation with someone you should be texting. Now Twitter is a great service for this, except that a lot of people that aren’t using Twitter in that way get upset with you. One of the problems with Twitter is that anyone can follow you, for any reason. If I have 6,000 friends, my experience is not any richer than it is for you with your 30 friends. I rarely talk to any of the people I follow on Twitter.
All of the social networks offer rich tools for engaging and interacting with other people in those networks that no one ever uses. Google Plus allows you to create a Hangout, which is a video conference in which you and several other people can actually talk to one another instead of typing away. Facebook Groups allows you to meet new people and have interesting discussions. Twitter always lists their top ten topics that are trending on the site, so when your friends are not talking about anything interesting you can click on a topic and see what the majority of the people on Twitter are talking about. People might actually respond to your tweets when your friends do not. Google Plus lists their top topics as well, although I have yet to see ten topics actually listed for discussion. Both Facebook and Google Plus allow you to share a calendar of events with your followers; Google takes it a step further with a “Party Mode” inside of Google Events that allows you to share pictures of the event outside of your regular time line. Yet no one ever uses any of these tools. People still rely upon services like Skype and Facetime when there are services integrated into their favorite social network. People still search engines, when Google Plus allows you to search the Internet from within. There is a lot available on social networks, if you are willing to look. If you are still upset about what happened on a social network years ago, it could be due to the fact that you are exploiting the network in a unique and creative way …