There. I said it. A lot of you already know it. I know some of you have talked about it, so let’s bring it out in the open. My attitude towards social media changes more than my underwear during any given week. Sometimes I feel like everything is so damn fake and I want to delete everyone I don’t see personally within any given month. The remaining people will be declared my close inner circle and everyone else is persona non grata. Then other times I want so many followers I find myself turning into my own little version of Jim Jones. There used to be no rhyme or reason to my whims. One day I’d have 400 Facebook friends, then whittle it down to 100, then get off Facebook altogether for months at a time. Actually that’s how the whoring started.
I think it was last summer when I decided I wasted too much time on Facebook. It was all Facebook. I had a Twitter account but never used it, same with LinkedIn, no Google Plus, no Tumblr, no Instagram, no FourSquare…all Facebook. And I was quitting. And then I replaced that addiction with what? Reading? Exercise? Cleaning my house? Nope. Twitter. If Facebook is crack then Twitter is crystal meth. It’s a faster pace, more immediately gratifying, and it will get you hooked INSTANTLY. My personal Twitter was ok for a while, but then I started the blog. And I needed a Twitter for that, which has now pretty much totally replaced the personal Twitter. Then I rejoined FB because of the blog.
THEN I GOT A JOB AT A MARKETING AGENCY WHERE EVERYTHING IS SOCIAL ALL THE TIME, ALWAYS. I feel like a diabetic working days at Krispy Kreme and nights at Baskin Robbins. And the thing was, I didn’t expect people to be friendly. I didn’t expect people to give a crap about what I had to say…but they did. And that’s the biggest high of them all. People kept following me and I felt obliged (on Twitter) to follow them back. The more I followed, the more people followed me, and doesn’t this sound like the intro to an episode of Intervention?! It snowballed. I became friends with people. We connected on LinkedIn and then Facebook. Yes, most of this was me friending people, but some of them friended me! I swear!
And then there was Klout. OMG for someone as bitchy and judgemental as myself, it was nirvana. A quantifiable way to determine someone’s “cool factor” as it were. First my score was 54. Then I linked all accounts to it that I could find and friended everyone and their dog catcher. I watched with glee as it slowly crept up. It lingered on 65 so long I thought I was going to have to screw George Takei to get it any higher, but higher it went. Past the scores of people that I liked and respected and just knew had more real clout that I do. It went all the way to 68 and I loved it.
Then, I began to see the cracks in the Matrix. First off, LinkedIn is about as useless as a third nipple with regard to “clout”. I have recommendations from people I have never met. Because my world is somewhat HR-centric, I am an open networker on LinkedIn. Taking any and all requests. I know a lot of recruiters and if strangers connecting with me can help my recruiter friends find a candidate, great. But when a random boat captain (what?) started endorsing me for all kinds of skills, it became a bit silly. Really? Do you just expect me to endorse you back? For what, boat captaining? I do not feel qualified to give that reference.
Then, Twitter got ugly. I was following about 3000 people because I had largely felt obliged to follow everyone who followed me. I was up to 3800 followers and was very grateful, till I realized they mostly don’t give a shit. I can’t keep up with following 3000 people. You might be able to. Congrats. I can follow about 350 and get genuine, good info that I can use. Any more and my brain will explode. I unfollowed about 90% of my 3000 and 1100 followers went away within a week. If you are one of the ones I purged, I am sorry. It’s not that I didn’t like your tweets. It’s that I probably never saw them. I’m thrilled that 2700 people stayed with me – that seems way high. But I’m also sad that 1100 people were evidently only following me to get me to follow them back.
Remember when social media was supposed to be fun and helpful and not a spiteful high school popularity contest? Yeah, me neither. Still. It’s getting to be too much.
I purged the Twitter. I’m keeping the Facebook but using it less. The blog is down to once a week (for the most part) because I’m busy with school and work this summer. My Klout score is down to 64 and falling fast. I’m ok with that. I’ve decided I’d rather have a few good friends and colleagues in this industry that I really get to know vs. being Jim Jones with my brain falling out. I’m still super friendly and awesome. You can still find me on LinkedIn, but I’m no longer keeping score. In my mind, that means I’m winning.