We all, each in our own way and in the deep crevasses of our minds, have a love/hate relationship with social media.
It is a strange beast. It can drive us nuts with anger and disgust or it can bring us great joy and serious laughter.
With it we can create genuine relationships with people we actually get to love in a strange sort of way. Or it can destroy relationships with people who, even inadvertently, reveal their true colors and we find that disgusting.
We know each other here. And we don’t.
Every so often, if the situation arises, we get to meet in person. This has happened with me a couple of times and both meetings have turned out to be positive encounters.
But for all the stuff that drives us crazy about social media, and on LinkedIn there is no shortage of that, I woke up this morning wondering just where I would be without it.
The Media Part Of Social Media
On the weekend, my wife and I make it a point to have breakfast together. We alternate our conversation about the family and what we’re doing and what the week was like with snippets from Facebook. She will show me some stupid shit that made her laugh and I will read her a post from someone we both know.
We have been doing this for so long now, it seems to have become a part of how we communicate with each other. By sharing. We never really questioned the sanity or insanity of this. It’s just there. And has been for quite some time
And that’s the point.
For many of us, social media is now actually woven into the fabric of who we are.
There are some who would argue that makes us vulnerable to being advertised to in cunning overt or subliminal ways, but I don’t share that belief. Nothing is really foisted on you, because you can always just ignore it or keep on scrolling.
There are some who would argue that there is a lot of scamming going on here in social media, and while I know that’s true, most of us have developed excellent shit detectors and basically just keep on scrolling.
My daughter who is a brilliant writer and my son-in-law who is a great video and film editor, came over for breakfast yesterday and we were talking about social media.
Their attitude is, sure there’s a lot of crap, but there’s also a lot of interesting stuff too. They don’t have cable TV, like a lot of younger people don’t, and rely on social media to keep up with whatever is really newsworthy.
Their attitude is getting their news from Facebook and Twitter saves them all the hassle of having to listen to dopey talking heads trying to create controversy to maintain ratings. And my attitude has become pretty much the same.
And Then There’s LinkedIn
When it comes to LinkedIn, I think we’re all aware of what’s going on here to a greater or lesser extent. What we don’t always understand is the why of it.
I have been intensely curious about this for the past 6 or 7 months, when the wholesale algorithmic changes started happening. And, despite some fairly decent access to the corridors of LI power, I have still not been able to get anything even close to an answer.
When this happens, and in order to keep from going nuts trying to figure it out, you just have to take a step back and say, well, nothing’s perfect is it?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not capitulating. Just trying to put things into perspective.
Having published close to 300 posts on LinkedIn Pulse, for better or worse, I have become connected to at least a couple thousand more people that I ever would have without it.
Would I like to be able to reach more? Sure if they were the right types of people. But then again what writer wouldn’t?
Will I keep trying to get LinkedIn to appreciate the writers they have not designated as Influencers? You bet your buns I will, because I’m all for a level playing field here. I’m a social democrat like Bernie Sanders.
Do I want to be an Influencer? Hell no. And I’m pretty sure that none of you would either. It’s a thankless job. And we all know what the quality of most of that stuff is like.
An Unusual Thank You
So moving forward into 2016, I have to really express my gratitude to LinkedIn for providing me with an outstanding opportunity to connect to an audience that otherwise would have been virtually impossible or at the least, extremely difficult to reach.
It’s not perfect here. But what I see happening is pretty marvelous in its own way. The bonds between people are strengthening as the need to help each other has grown.
People, especially smart people, are stubborn. Deep inside, we all want to beat this game. Build our audiences. Strengthen our networks. And basically just be able to keep on helping people and learning by adding our perspectives to theirs and vice versa.
It’s never going be a perfect world. But if you put it into perspective, you and have access to a hell of a lot more people now than before you got here.
So if nothing else, there’s that.
Happy New Year everybody. Keep the faith.
Jim Murray has been a writer pretty much all his life. For most of his adult life, including now, people actually pay him to do it. They also pay him to art direct a lot of the stuff he writes. He is also a mentor, blog post editor and a photographer. Fancy that.
Jim writes to help people and companies with their marketing and he blogs primarily to help people get better at communicating. In today’s world, that’s almost a public service.
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