We think and build.


The side of social networks that nobody talks about

Social media. Yes, it’s in style right now. But could this be (…gasp!) a fad? Will we still be tweeting in 2015? Will Facebook and LinkedIn still be popular in five, four, or even two years? Or have we moved on to something else entirely? In addition to the compromised security issues and other well-documented misuses associated with some of these sites, there are other problematic aspects of social media right now that no one seems to mention.

When you are in business, you are expected to be outgoing, friendly, outgoing, and socially well connected. Hence the success of social networks.

However, not all of us in business are naturally like this. Some of us struggle with shyness, stage fright, fear of public speaking, and the burden of competing with the competition. For those of us with such attributes, we also have social networking sites, where we can pretend be everything we are not. Outgoing, likeable, outgoing and socially well connected.

The problem erupts when we are faced with the inevitable, I should call it, “insult”: the 50-50 chance that someone will decline our invitation to connect, ignore our request for a professional recommendation, or worse, say something negative about us in a tweet or blog comment.

As in life, normal thinking adults are supposed to have the ability to dismiss such incidents as meaningless and move on to more important things. sticks and stones etc

I, unfortunately, am a person who takes everything to heart. As ridiculous as it sounds, my “feelings” get hurt easily and I wonder why someone wouldn’t want to be my “friend” even though I’m naturally a loner.

But I have to admit, I’m as guilty as anyone dishing out my own insults on social media. Every time someone I’ve done business with invites me to connect on LinkedIn, I have to consider whether connecting is a smart move for my other business relationships. If the new invite is from a vendor, I try to keep those sources more discreet in case my clients decide to shop for better prices while snooping around my LinkedIn page. And if I connect to one provider, should I not connect to all providers, some of which I may choose not to continue using for a variety of reasons?

I have noticed that there is an option on LinkedIn, as there is on Facebook and Twitter, where you can cut ties with your connection, follower or “friendship” which I imagine must be the ultimate insult (not having carried that burden personally). )!

I recently invited a client of mine to connect on LinkedIn only to immediately regret and agonize over what now seemed to be our questionable relationship over the eternally long week it took for him to respond. As I was giddy with relief when she finally agreed, I reexamined the entire episode as a possible risk to a stable business relationship. With that experience fresh in my mind, I was wondering if social media is all it’s supposed to be. For me, looking at her other connections, many of which are my competition, it becomes a matter of worrying about the permanence of my value to her… but I guess that’s a constant when you’re in business. It’s that much more threatening when it’s so blatantly visible. I guess I should be honored to be in such awesome company.

One of my lawyer clients recently asked me to set him up on LinkedIn, which I had done for him on other professional networking sites. To begin with, this involved uploading the appropriately sized and cropped photo of him, featuring his entire career of achievement in the appropriate category templates, and choosing the correct preferences for his public image. While the average person is expected to do these things themselves, someone with limited computer skills, awareness, and time may find this a daunting challenge. Even for me, sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to get things to display correctly. In any case, I confirmed that everything was ready, briefly explained what LinkedIn was all about, and invited him to connect with me for his first connection. He sent me an email saying “ok” and that was the last I heard from him. I’m not worried about our relationship that goes back about twenty years. Rather, I put this down to not “getting” LinkedIn…as many of my other clients don’t “get” Twitter or Facebook either.

And I can’t say I blame them. I recently declined to friend someone on Facebook, as I always do, fearing that something we might say would end up tarnishing my personal Google results, which I’ve worked so hard to keep positive in every way for business reasons. Since these Facebook invites often end up in my spam filter, if I weren’t such an attentive email reviewer, I would miss them. Therefore, I don’t normally make an effort to respond, either by “accepting” or “ignoring”. But if the invitation is from someone important in my life, I try to send an email explaining my position so they don’t get offended.

But what a world we live in now! Having to take precious time to politely decline or guiltily ignore invitations from any number of social websites where time spent is generally classified as wasted time for the most part. Of all the hours I’ve spent crafting clever tweets on one of the several Twitter accounts I’ve set up, the most I can show is a paltry number of “followers” who are obviously after me to buy something from them. Yes, I realize many savvy Twitter users resort to purchasing programs or services that provide thousands of followers to avoid the embarrassment of only having 22 followers, for example, all of which are nothing more than spam or porn!

However, I do recognize the benefits of a good presence on LinkedIn, which has served me well and is one of the top search results for my name on Google. That’s a good thing, as so are strong Twitter links, which I explain to my clients who may not fully understand SEO (search engine optimization).

My attitude reminds me of something a fellow investor said to me during the dot-com boom at the turn of the century, that selling items out of the sock drawer was hardly a good future for eBay. Here we are over a decade later with eBay, one of the major forces in the Internet universe. All it tells me is that anything is possible. “Hey, you never know!”

However, I still avoid Facebook for my business entirely, even though I get a constant barrage of invitations and reminders from them. And I realize that everyone is on Facebook and equally powerful in Google search results. I’m just not comfortable with it breathing down my neck, coveting my email accounts, and trying to trick me into revealing some personal secret that I might not want to share in my Google results for the rest of my existence.

Granted, if it’s still around a couple of years from now, there’s a good chance I’ll have joined the crowd by then. But until that happens… I will keep cautiously judicious. My time is too precious right now.


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