People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post are exactly that, and all based on my own experiences in social media and the other place called the real world.
About 6 months ago now. I took down my Facebook account. I wrote a post about it, citing my reasons at the time, the foremost among them was the incredible proliferation of bullshit by people I didn’t really know and their creepy friends.
I had about 2200 ‘friends’ on FB at the time, the vast majority of whom requested me to friend them.
One day, with nothing better to do, I did a rough count of the actual number of those people with whom I was interacting. That number was just over 100 people, many of whom I knew personally from my 3-D life.
Then I looked at the number of people and companies who had snuck in there, and were posting crap and that I had no interest in and that added up to another hundred or so.
So then I asked myself; what about the other 2000?
At the time, I didn’t think to attribute any sort of quality to them. But the question remained. I mean, how could I have accumulated 2200 friends on the world’s biggest social media site and never actually hear from about 90% of them?
But this morning, when I was out riding and thinking about what I wanted to write about today, the thought occurred to me, that it could very well be that these people are nothing more than apathetic.
It’s The Same On LinkedIn
Because I blog a lot and have developed channels of distribution beyond the hopelessly cluttered, notification challenged confines of LinkedIn Pulse, but I still manage to get at least 4-6 link requests a day.
My connections have grown from about 300 when I started blogging here to more than 1400. Since I have never been big on quantity v quality that’s actually quite a lot for me.
But what I have dubbed the “Apathy Ratio” is still about the same as it is on Facebook. 90% give or take.
So I am starting to see a trend here.
Is Social Media Really All That Social?
Social Media. Two words. One of them is social. Yet the vast majority of the people I am allegedly connected to are nowhere to be seen or heard from. Very unsociable to be sure.
So the question then becomes, what the hell are you doing here? Or are you here at all? And if you’re not here at all, meaning if you don’t really have any presence besides your half baked profile and a few connections, do you really count?
Does this make LinkedIn’s powerful boast that that they have more that 425 million active members and Facebook’s even more grandiose boast of a billion plus nothing but bullshit? Could be. Stranger things have happened.
Apathy & Bullshit…The New Online Dynamic Duo
I do have a certain amount of sympathy for all the apathetic people out there. For many, participating on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn is really a lot of work. And it’s not for the feint of heart.
There are bullies and trolls and assholes everywhere just waiting to rip you a new one. There is the potential for embarrassment from not being seen as interesting enough. Or articulate enough. Or whatever enough.
But the fact that you’re here, even if you’re not here, makes you a stat that the owners of these sites can market. And they do. And this really does create the impression that these sites are happening places, when in fact they could be nothing more than a bunch of relatively networks of people who are active and have found each other.
Otherwise known as the 10% side of the Apathy Ratio.
What Can We Do About Apathy In Social Media?
I’m not sure there is much that will work to drag these huge numbers of apathetic people out of their comas.
So in my opinion, all you can do you can do is nurture and support your own networks. Because at the end of the day that’s pretty much all we have here.
And don’t feel bad about deep sixing anyone who you are linked to but have never heard from in any way shape or form. They probably won’t miss you anyway.
In a way it’s kind of like life, where you can count yourself lucky to have a handful of good friends.
I count myself lucky both here (with a small group of talented active compadres) and on Facebook too (down to 100 ‘friends’ all of whom I actually know).
Needless to say my Apathy Ratio is getting better all the time. But it’s certainly a lot of uphill work to achieve that.
I am a communications professional. Through my own core skills as a strategist, writer & art director and with the help of a select group of insanely talented associates, I work with primarily B to B clients, large and small to create hard working communications in whatever sector of the marketing universe their strategy dictates the need to travel through. I am also a mentor, blog post editor and a pretty decent photographer.
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