Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social Networking; it’s everything but Social

Example of a scale-free network (courtesy of H.G. Katzgraber)

Because of technology, we’re a highly connected society, yet we’re the most uncommunicative one. When I first started blogging, it was a way for me to get in the habit of writing at least once a week. It was to share whatever’s on mind from life experiences and travels to poetry and book promotions, with people who are interested.  I also wanted to know what other people thought. As of today, I still feel this way. I want to connect with people who want to connect instead of seeing my follower count go up but they’re really not following. In a world saturated with information, news, gossip, YouTube videos, etc. I’d rather communicate more on a personal level than for the sake of popularity. It’s funny because I’ve never gave ‘being popular’ a thought. I guess it’s all about getting your name out there.

And then, as I continued to blog and I published a few books, I decided to join Twitter and Facebook. I have to admit, I don’t ‘get’ Twitter. I’ve never seen much discussion from most of my Twitter followers, even when I ask a question because everyone’s too busy asking their own questions and posting links. When I do venture over to Twitter, which isn’t often, all I see are people posting links with comments such as, “Read my review!” “Check out my blog.” “Huff Post and Amazon!” I’m sure some people think this is a way of communicating, but not me. I'm not saying that I don't retweet and promote mine and my friends stuff, but I don't think that's all Twitter should be about ... or maybe I just don’t get the whole Twitter concept.

But I do get the whole Facebook concept and I refuse to pay for promotion. The one nice thing I have to say about my Facebook page is that people DO talk—they’ll leave comments. I think it’s great to see people giving their input about a particular question or about someone’s success.

What it really comes down to is that for all the different ways we can socialize, we’re not very social. We want our names out there, 15 minutes of fame, but we don’t want to talk to anyone on the way. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud many of you for tackling the social networking sites and really promoting on them. It’s a job all in itself.

Social networking should also be about socializing and discussing our lives along with world events, politics, religion, etc. We should be more apt to discuss than argue because of the many outlets we’re given to express ourselves. Instead, we argue and/or avoid altogether crucial subjects for fear of people not liking us.

What are your thoughts about social networking? What do you like or dislike about it?

Networking and Unsocial,

P.S. One social networking site I love is Pinterest.


  1. My thoughts on social networking and on many things online in general, all go back to the lack of social. We spend so much time lost in our own little worlds that we rarely take the time for conversation.

    My biggest issue comes from comments on blogs (I can be just as guilty as everyone else). It seems a copout to simply put "Great post" or some other claptrap that really feels more like you have just skimmed the writing. Wouldn't it be much better if we have an actual conversation. Think of the writing as a starting point over coffee or a beer and really connect on more than just a superficial level.

  2. That's it, Jon! Writing like I'm pulling up a chair to have a cup of coffee and/or a beer. I agree. I have often been guilty for writing 'great post'. I tend to do it more with blogs I don't read on a regular basis.

    I'll have to keep "Think of the writing as a starting point over coffee or a beer and really connect on more than just a superficial level." as I write my blog posts as conversations with the world. :)

  3. Well put, Denise. I find social networking can be really one sided, too, sometimes. It’s supposed to be interactive, yet it’s not. I think Facebook is way more interactive since you can say more. From your point of view, I totally see why you get Facebook more. It makes sense for authors, like when you post on your page and are getting feedback from readers. Just to think of another author, I came across Cheryl Strayed’s Facebook page the other day and it was interesting seeing her posts and people’s thoughts and she even said that’s why she likes Facebook, reading people’s responses. It’s very true.

    I feel more comfortable on Twitter than Facebook because Facebook is more personal. A lot of family is on Facebook and people I grew up with. I guess because of that, I have found people take things more personal. Sometimes the drama is too much. Also, I guess what I dislike the most is that Facebook is not as private as I would like. It doesn’t really let you fully control what you want private. I do feel I have control on Twitter. Twitter is not heavy interaction either. It is more up my alley because I am more reserved and private. It’s hard enough sometimes putting my thoughts out there especially on a blog because of how super private I am. If I am going to tweet about something, it is pretty meaningful to me, even if it’s something silly. There’s a whole other world on Twitter with people from different countries sharing their stories out there, plus the news, and I love to read about it and the part I like, you only have 140 words so you need to get to your point. On the other hand, it does have its downside where people just want you to follow them and “get a ton of followers.” Dumb.

    So I totally see where you are coming from and agree with you.

  4. Natalie, It's so nice of you to respond. I agree about the privacy thing. I was a lot more private before writing, but I only divulge what I want to divulge in my life. Being in another country, social networking allows me to share with family and friends, meet new people, build an audience for my books, while at the same time keep what I want private. I guess I'm a bit frustrated because of the lack of communication on these sites.

    At first, I was against joining Facebook and I thought it was restrictive and I wanted to hold onto my privacy, but I found that I could post to only certain people if I want and hide from the rest. A Facebook Page for my books was a good way to promote and get the word out there. When I opened my account, I spent a lot of time in the account and privacy settings to make sure I had it setup to my liking. There are plenty of things I don't want some people to read, and I've even blocked some followers so they don't get my feeds.

    I'm sure there are lots of people on Twitter to meet, but I mainly joined to promote my works and others. I have to limit my ways of meeting people so I can find time to clean the house, write, edit, read other blogs, comment, etc.

    Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  5. I'd been using Facebook for a couple of years because I started using Twitter a little over a year ago. Twitter can seem like everyone is shouting "Notice Me!" at times, but there really is a lot of socializing that goes on too. I've made Twitter lists to help me keep track of people who share my interests. That way I can go right to my list rather than scroll through the feed. At other times, I just keep the mention screen on so I can immediately reply to anyone who retweets or wants to chat.

    I too am guilty of posting lots of links, but I try not to overdue it. There needs to be a balance. I think it also effects a person's experience depending on how many followers they have. Facebook is meant to be more intimate, whereas Twitter has been likened to a noisy cocktail party. I like both depending on my mood, but Twitter wins out for the random joy I've found in meeting so many different people.

  6. I love this line, "whereas Twitter has been likened to a noisy cocktail party."

    You are queen of Twitter. You know just how to send, what tags to put with it, etc. I guess I haven't taken the time to look into Twitter to get the full affect. I'd rather browse and read blogs to strike up conversation.

    I guess social sites are there for people to use how they see fit.

  7. I have been using hootsuite ( lately and it makes twitter so much more understandable. I have actually had a couple conversations on twitter because of it.

  8. I totally agree with you Denise. The networking thing takes up far too much time if you get into it wholeheartedly. I guess I wanted to use my blog for trying my hand at writing article type posts about writing thrillers and I never really wanted it to be a diary cum social thing. I love reading posts where I am learning about this crazy world and the people who love to write and the writing process itself...

    1. It's too bad we can't combine conversation with the learning, writing process on an intimate level. I've met some great people, online, so I can't say networking is all bad.

  9. You're a girl after my own heart Denise in writing this post. Connection is what I've always loved when it's real and genuine (that's why I have the tag 'kitchen table stories'). But the connection is different on social media than what I'm talking about.

    I agree it's difficult to have a real conversation in the social media circles today. I think even in regular face-to-face gatherings it's hard to have real conversations other than the normal 'drapery talk' Oriah Mountain Dreamer talks about. It's like we've lost the art or maybe there's more fear in getting that close. I don't know.

    It takes time and trust to really engage with one another but I don't know that there is much interest in taking that time anymore.

    I hope it will revive again - it's so valuable to our culture and the history of future generations. I think it will -- the pendulum swings and balances things out over time. :-)

    1. Your blog is all about connection, which is why I like it. An you're right, face-to-face has even suffered in conversations. It seems we forgot to vocalize our thoughts.