Informal poll: How interesting are your friends’ Facebook pages?
Let’s try an experiment. Compare your “real” friends’ Facebook pages to those that belong to the social media douches in your network (you know who they are). I’m going to bet that your normal friends have far more interesting, diverse pages that contain actual conversation, jokes, and the like, while the douches’ pages are filled with @ replies and retweets. Am I right?
It’s also my guess that, the more your wall is filled with these douches, the more of a douche you are yourself. Your network is people who are tied to you in a weak way, offer little in terms of real friendship, and won’t help you move your couch.
What matters in any conversational space is that there is not just the veneer of participation, but the real thing. Like when someone isn’t really listening in a conversation– it may convince you at first, but eventually you can begin to tell. You’re adding to their conversations, but they’re not adding to yours. Feel familiar?
A lot of what we do online is phoning it in– we’re trying to leverage too much, and it results in sending out messages that are inappropriate to the venue, that annoy, etc. It’s like the separation between means of production and consumption; you get none of the results of actual engagement. In the end you don’t actually get to enjoy what you’re doing.
You may not think so, but you probably do it too. And what’s interesting about this is that we often need to decide who we’re trying to speak to: the normal users of a network, or the power users (douches) who are having a massively disproportionate number of the “conversations.” As we try to impress more of the latter, our actual friends lose the ability to understand us.
I associate this with the complaints people commonly have about SEO. Like people writing for machines instead of humans, the douches seem to have lost sight of the fact that they need to convert people along the way, instead of piss them off. Start spreading your conversations too wide and you’re talking everywhere, and you really end up speaking to no one at all.
The real method still seems to be to engage people in proper conversation, which requires actual attention. We need to have our eyes on the prize, sure, but if we’re not at least faking humanity across the way, we’re not going to get a lot of places. What goal is it to get 100,000 friends/followers if they don’t really believe in anything we say?
BTW, quality of engagement also comes from quality of followers. If I DM people directly after they add me, those that keep following me will be the morons, and along the way, I’m losing the power users. The sneezers vanish, and I’m just adding the lowest common denominator to my client base. Then again, the lowest common denominator does tend to be profitable, so maybe that’s the right way. I don’t know.
Isn’t it bizarre that those who successfully reach the masses are heavily rewarded by popularity, but they impress themselves less and less along the way?
So here’s the real question. Would you rather do great work in obscurity– or would you lower the quality of what you do to impress more people? Killah Priest is an incredible, complex rapper that talks about ancient Sumeria and Babylon; you probably don’t know his from Adam. Jay-Z, on the other hand, did the latter. Now he’s called the greatest rapper alive.
So? Which are you?