Friending, Following, and Feelings

15 Jul

Stranger Danger! “Why are you following me?!” “I don’t know you!” As I’ve been reaching out more in social media, I’ve been reaching out to a lot of folks I don’t know personally or never met. I look at a lot of profiles, get some messages back, and I’m sensing that it’s a reflection of how you react to strangers in real life.

Women: “You’re trying to hit on me, you perv!” Yeah, ladies, you’ve got reasons to be concerned, I know. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that flirting with a woman who lives a thousand miles from me has very limited value, so if I reach out to you, it’s not because I want to send you a dick pic. Of course, I’ve also been married for 15 years, so I’m less likely to be, “God, so she’s so hot!” I also realize that I’m a middle-aged, middle-income guy with an extra 50 pounds, so I’m not gonna bother trying to attracting the hot chick. Waste of my time.

Men: Less concerned about strangers, but also less likely to friend you back. We’ve got a specific agenda, and if your profile doesn’t fit that agenda, men might follow you back… they might not… depends.

Twitter: Much friendlier to expanding, but also, we expect a lot less from the ones we follow. There’s only so many characters to express your opinion, and provides nice bite-sized forms of entertainment. So since there’s less at risk, there’s less worry to follow back.

Facebook: Longer form, so now there’s more concern. However, still pretty friendly to reaching out. Less expectation of entertainment, more cute pics of your kids, pets, food, et al. Maybe follow a link, but usually not. A lot more political minefields to run through.

LinkedIn: This is your virtual resume, but a lot of people (including myself) post stuff socially. I feel like it’s harder to expand your connections, because the stakes are so much higher there (after all, this could mean the difference between getting another job or not). Thankfully, since I was a consultant for six years, I already had a pretty amazing Rolodex (when was the last time you saw those?), so I’ve got a bigger audience. On the other hand, people are less likely to check out links because it takes more effort to follow the feed.

GoodReads: Yes, this is social media, but not a lot of traffic. Second hardest to get friends, and precious little benefit from it. But you never know – my fellow readers are the ones who I want to cultivate. However, it’s not your first destination on the social media stage, so I can understand you might not see my friend request for a… week?

WordPress: Hardest to get followers, but damn, once you do… they are dedicated. After all, these are people who like to blog, so they like to read blogs, too. So do I! 🙂 Since this is my goal to get people to read my writing, I value these followers most of all.

In my opinion, if 70% of communication is non-verbal, then to suddenly be limited to the 30% would make anyone unsettled. Therefore you’re less likely to reach out to strangers. Does this reflect your experience? Tell me your experience in the comments section below!

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