The timing of Ben’s thoughts and Chris’ response have me wondering how many others are dealing with a similar issue of how to control – and express publicly – their social media consumption. I have been contemplating both my usage and the perception of my usage in this arena for some time now.
Where I Network
I make no bones about not being on Facebook. I’ve spouted a number of reasons over the years but most of it boils down to about three things:
- 1. I don’t trust them – the shady nature of their data-practices is too hard for me to overlook.
- 2. I don’t dig the forced, two-way communication it is formed around.
- 3. If we didn’t get along in high school, what makes you think we should buddy up at this point in life?
I’ve heard everything from “you just don’t get it,” to “you’re failing your clients by not being a part of it,” and a few other things in between. None of which I’ve bought into yet.
The concept I understand, and the draw of connecting with others, I empathize, but they’ve hardly done enough to get me to open up my personal digital-trail for the long haul. (You do realize once you’ve signed up you can’t ever actually delete your profile/info, right? It’s in the Terms of Service you didn’t read.)
Conversely, I am a huge proponent of Twitter. Twitter allows me the same ability to make connections with people around the globe but the part I dig the most is that it allows me to do it on my terms. If I have an interest in what you have to say, there’s a decent possibility that I’ll follow along. At that moment I have invited you into my daily intake and I will fully invest some time into nourishing that relationship.
How I Network
Here in-lies my personal problem, [within reason] I read everything in my timeline. If I’ve been offline line for a period of time, there’s a good chance when I sign on I will go back and catch up with all that I’ve missed. Twitter, for me, is more than just link sharing or RSS replacement (though I value that aspect too), it is my investment into a small portion of people’s lives that I have an interest in getting to know better at this time.
This type of Twitter usage can’t be done on a large scale unless you have no family/job/responsibilities and thus my personal need to keep my follow count under control. Even with a plan in place, I struggle in the fact that my decision can have a negative affect on how others feel when I don’t automatically reciprocate with a follow. I struggle because I know exactly how it feels.
I have sat (and currently sit) in that seat a number of times, wanting to strike up a bi-directional relationship with another Twitter user in hopes that they will see that my insight and wit is one they are greatly missing. But yet, they haven’t. And I can’t really blame them. I know that the potential is there that I just rub them the wrong way but I also realize the fact that there is only so much one can consume on a regular basis and I currently fall outside of that bucket.
I Like Networking
With all of the above in mind, I intentionally keep my follow count in check. There’s no magic number I aim for but I have a good feeling about where the tipping point is and once I pass it I usually end up scaling back.
My hope is to not offend. If you follow me but I haven’t returned the favor, I am humbled by the fact that you care enough to let me into your daily stream of consumption. I do enjoy networking with others and I am fairly certain you’re a top-notch guy/girl. If you care enough to reach out to me with something I will continue to make an effort to follow up the best I can.
For me to enjoy the medium, I have to keep a decent handle on my stream. Since I have no set number of those I follow, there’s a decent chance that I might add you to the list one of these days. If that day comes, I trust that you’ll be worth my time and I promise that I will give you an honest attempt at becoming a part of my everyday life.