Fed up With Social MediaDo I know you? Are you at least a friend of one of my friend’s friends friends? Did you go to school with one of my kids and now you’re just a bit curious as to who I am? Did we meet on a bus or have some meaningful contact back in 1997 in the days of ICQ?

Well, if the answer is no to these questions, why do you want to make contact with me?

The answer is simple. Social Media have turned the whole world into manic friends and followers of anybody. It doesn’t matter who, so long as that list of ‘friends’ just keeps getting longer everyday. Then you can do what the gods of Social Media want you to do. SELL STUFF!

Now while it all started out as a bit of fun and was a great new way to keep in touch with family and close friends, you don’t think that these companies and corporations are investing millions, if not billions, of dollars just so you can send and share some cute new baby pics with Aunt Mavis, do you? No, they expect a return on their investment. Facebook is now so big, and so highly valued that it has been classified as ‘too big to buy’.

Everyday new Social Media sites are being launched into a market that is totally saturated. But for some investors even a minute percentage of the market is worth chasing. But are we all getting just a bit ‘browned off’ and burnt out’ with the daily queue of friend requests?

I started using Social Media as a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family. Then I too decided it might be a good vehicle to promote my books. But now I am starting to recalibrate my thoughts on this. The time that it takes, the continual invasion of people I don’t know, into what were my private areas of Social Media, and the hundreds and hundreds of requests I receive each day to join events, link back, click here, read this, do this, do that, buy this, buy that and the stream of marketing emails is just over the top. It’s too the point now that even just cleaning out the crud takes an age each day.

So what’s the answer? Kill the lot?

There is one fact that is certain. Social Media is only going to get bigger and far more invasive, as these investors aggressively seek a return on their investments. As will the aggressive online marketers who will become smarter, more adept and more painful.

Already one site I used to enjoy is now so full of rubbish that I have given away even bothering to use it. Goodreads was a great idea, but has now turned into a stream of nonsensical author marketing trash that has destroyed any enjoyment for me at all. My personal Facebook page is so full of people I don’t know at all, I have started doing the unthinkable. ‘Unfriending’. I’ve stopped using others such as Shelfari, Linkedin and a bundle more due to non-stop cheap marketing and incessant emails.

Stumbleupon are at least a little bit honest about where Social Media is going with their new invitation. ‘Want to see more great stuff from your favorite sites, brands and people?’ I read that as ‘Can we start flogging stuff to you now?’

I still enjoy Twitter though, as the interaction is different. Short, sweet and only seen when I log on, say hello, and then go and get on with my life. No streams of stupid game scores, cute kitty cat images and joke postings. I click what I want to see. The rest I can ignore. In some ways the initial perceived negatives of Twitter are in fact positives. Follow whoever you like and the choice to follow back, but without streams of crap filling my personal space.

So my decision? I’ll stay with Twitter for sure. A trimmed down personal Facebook and my Vandal Facebook page. For the rest, I’m sorry, go away.

Fed Up With Social Media
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28 thoughts on “Fed Up With Social Media

  • 11/11/2011 at 4:40 pm
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    I used to hate Twitter and really couldn’t see any positives in using it. NOW, I agree with you — I love following authors and seeing their new projects, and getting involved in them. I love that I don’t have to hear about trite stuff from ‘friends’ on facebook. I’m used to hiding a lot of people for their useless rabble. I’ve always tried to keep my friend list to the supposed 300 people that you’re memory can handle. It fluctuates, but I can usually keep it below 350. Although this requires that I go through occasionally and unfriend people that I’ve hidden and no longer care to view their profile, which can take a long time.
    I disagree that goodreads is no longer a good site. I still enjoy finding my real life friends and sharing book recommendations and ratings with them. They added a feature that suggests books similar to what you’ve read in the past, which is a little static at this point, but is still a neat thing.

  • 11/11/2011 at 8:37 pm
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    I’m not on FB, left “LinkedIn,” and quit 3 social media “writing” groups (esp. after I read the small print about how they own any content I post). I’m staying on Twitter. I do tire of the “author selling” that goes on via Twitter, and to date, it has not motivated me to buy one single e-book based on the robo-hawking of merchandise in 140 characters. But it’s a lot more interesting to read there than, say, FB. I’m using a counter-social media strategy: Less is more. If I can only be found at one “social media place,” if anyone is interested in my work, they will find me. Also, I am tweeting less and less–about twice a day. I need to write. I could start robo-tweeting like so many other authors, but I really don’t want to. It’s so inauthentic & does it really help to sell? I much prefer reading the tweets of Margaret Atwood, who clearly writes her own tweets and doesn’t repeat (and repeat and repeat).

    • 11/11/2011 at 9:07 pm
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      I agree with you Shirley. Less is truly more. For me my blog has become my number one focus now. So much interesting interaction from readers that most of my online time is now focused on this. Twitter of course provides a conduit to my blog and for that I think Twitter is marvellous. Even if I have to admit to a bit of ‘robo’ as you say. But to reach a worldwide audience, it is necessary. I do need sleep. :)

  • 11/11/2011 at 11:56 pm
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    I see Twitter as micro-blogging, and being that my most rewarding experience online has been from ten years of satisfying blogosphere, the brevity of Twitter’s comment stream seems to fit into that profile. Social Networking sites such as FB and My_____ have a business model that is being copied by other networking sites to the degree of quashing what initially drew users to them. I am interesting to see where Diaspora will go as far as being community built, something interesting and useful may stem from that.

    When I left Facebook, which in itself seems an absurd idea that I was feeling as if I was indeed leaving something, I was quite relieved because in the end, imagine waking up in your local shopping village everyday instead of in your own bed. That’s what was happening, I’d log in into it at some point of the morning even if I wasn’t wanting social connections that day, and that translates to getting out of bed and suddenly finding myself amongst shops and people, who urged me to interact in some capacity when in actuality just interacting with my thoughts would have sufficed.

  • 12/11/2011 at 3:49 am
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    So, you thought it would be a good vehicle for promoting your books, but now complain cos people try to sell stuff to you?

    Irony?

    • 12/11/2011 at 5:53 pm
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      Irony is one of my favourite pastimes Mister David. I just love it. :)

  • 12/11/2011 at 4:31 am
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    Like you, I’ve long since cooled on Facebook (except as a vehicle for keeping in touch with my far-flung children). And I wasn’t that keen on entering the Twitter universe. In fact, I made the jump only because everyone and their brother told me that Twitter was an absolute necessity for indie authors. Ditto regular blog posts. That said, I have enjoyed discovering new writers via Twitter links and I take pleasure in tweeting about the ones who impress me the most. And yes, I also tweet two or three times a day about my own work, ‘though I’m not sure if my efforts in that regard have been worth the effort. Guess time will tell. Regarding Shirley’s comment about Atwood’s twittering, I follow her too, and I appreciate that she writes her own tweets. But even Atwood isn’t above a few subtle self-promos now and then. Of course, given her status, she doesn’t need to engage in obvious marketing. Her presence on Twitter alone is an effective selling strategy. She could be tweeting the phonebook and fans would still queue to make purchases.

  • 12/11/2011 at 10:54 am
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    I agree that FB is getting completely ridiculous Derek.

    As for Goodreads, the thing that totally annoys me are the highly idiotic ‘reading lists’ some folk post. One in particular makes me laugh. If the person in question ever really bothered to read the long list of books she has added to her ‘to read’ list, she would have no time to do anything else!

    Regarding my book promotion activities, I use my blog for this. However, I do place a link on my Twitter account, which migrates to FB and to Goodreads.

    :D

  • 12/11/2011 at 3:01 pm
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    I sooooo agree with you, Derek. I have Facebook pages too but I deliberately spend little time there. I prefer twitter too as it takes less time and is short and sweet. I too use twitter to promote my blog and that in turn promotes my books ( I hope). Good luck with all your writing!

  • 12/11/2011 at 3:39 pm
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    Derek, from the beginning I’ve kept FB strictly for family & friends. Some writers that I’ve known for years found me and friended me on there, but for the most part I don’t use it for promotion. (Although I’ve posted book covers just for fun.) We have a son who lives up north, so it’s a great tool for keeping the family in touch. But as for promotion? Like you, I prefer Twitter and my blog. Goodreads is another one, but I don’t use it much. FB has actually been a place where old schoolmates make me laugh with funny graphics in the morning; where coworkers check in and ask questions like “Is it my early week?”; where my son can check out his nephew and niece’s latest pics. It’d ruin that intimacy if business was tossed into the mix, or like you mentioned, that people started coming in from nowhere just to add me to their 14,000 friends.

  • 12/11/2011 at 4:30 pm
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    For once Derek, I do not agree with you. I love Facebook and Goodreads for having aloud me to find long lost friends an ex-collegues again. And I found people with similar likings, met great new people, like you, PetraX, Mike Chorost, or many others, I would never have met otherwise, and who now enrichen my life in abundance. Its a great way to learn about new things, ways of life, books and the people behind them. BTW I would have loved to play online scrabble (words with friends) with you too. I haven’t had my english vocabulary enriched that much in years. Ergo: social networks are what you want them to be! What you make out of them!

    • 12/11/2011 at 5:52 pm
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      Well Natalie, I am really a very disagreeable old Aussie as you know , so I take your comment as a wonderful change of pace from all this agreement nonsense that my blog has been suffering from. About time! :)

      As my opinions can, do and regularly change from minute to minute, it really should be far more frequent that I receive contrary opinions. Even told I am wrong by the daring. But then again, I can probably do it to myself. In fact, I think I have written many posts contradicting myself completely on here.

      So great. You love Social Media. At the moment I don’t. But as I said, this is always subject to change without notice. Oh, and I LOVE Scrabble. :)

  • 12/11/2011 at 6:08 pm
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    I like to keep a strict divide between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is for actual friends and Twitter and LinkedIn are for professional purposes.
    I do appreciate how privacy controls and the ability to reject friend requests or not follow those who add you can keep social media simpler. We just have to use those abilities.

  • 12/11/2011 at 7:08 pm
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    My PAGE on Facebook is open to anyone who wants to look at it, but I write under a pen name, so that makes things easier for me. My friends and family are my true Facebook friends who get pictures etc. Mostly I just use my Facebook Page to let people who are not on Twitter know I’ve posted a new blog – lol!
    Twitter has opened up a new universe for me. I love reading about what is going on in the world and people’s lives in short bites. But I don’t follow people who don’t INTERACT with other people. If all they do is tweet their blog or about themselves, I don’t follow. I love to connect on so many topics besides my writing, I find Twitter the perfect way to do that. People can click links they are interested in, or skim them over without wasting too much time.
    Good post, Derek.

    • 12/11/2011 at 8:46 pm
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      Thanks for your comment Tam. Twitter is an odd beast. I find I follow users for very different reasons. Some of course for interaction, but others purely for information so interaction is not important in this case. That’s where Twitter is great. It’s about choice and sifting the information that is of interest, without a huge stream of images and nonsense on sites such as Facebook and Google+.

  • 12/11/2011 at 7:46 pm
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    Face Book has too many games that pop up. Such as, So and so has said this about you, click here to find out he/she said. You click just to find out YOU HAVE TO BY TOKENS! I deleted them from my FB, but more find their way in. And, HOW do you delete the friend of a friend who hitched a ride in?

    I end up with comments on my page I do not agree with and need to be on top of it so I can get rid of them. My editor told me about the value of FB, but I do not see it. I plug myself and within hours it is buried under comments from people I do not know.

    • 12/11/2011 at 8:43 pm
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      I know how you feel Ruby. If you’re on Facebook to help promote your book, the best solution is a Page. Different from your personal profile. I have found that since starting my Page for The Vandal, I have been able to make my personal Facebook profile just that. More personal.

  • 12/11/2011 at 9:15 pm
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    Agreed. I keep my Facebook presence limited to pretty much people I know In Real Life. I follow anyone on Twitter that I find intriguing, funny, or informative (+ IRL acquaintances) and unfollow whenever I lose interest. For blogs I like but don’t visit often Twitter lets me keep in touch with the ones that appeal but that I visit rarely without feeling the need for comments or interaction. It’s easy to pass on links there to my blog or Facebook feed for my friends. There’s just too much going on on the Internet to keep up with everything and be productive IRL.

  • 12/11/2011 at 10:16 pm
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    My gripe with Facebook (and I’m not even a member) is that it isn’t just too big to buy, it thinks it’s too big to ignore. It’s in my face everywhere i go on the net, and ignoring it is a constant learning process. I joined it long ago, and quit very quickly. Same with Google+ more recently. I follow eight people/organizations/site on Twitter and currently have four followers. I just cancelled my membership in every Goodreads group because i was sick of the constant notices. Like you, Derek, I’m pretty much down to my blogs, where the people who contact me are the people who enjoy my posts and the discussions we get into.

    Most recently, to my dismay, I found a bright red number on my toolbar, just like the one I worked my butt off to get rid of after I quit Google+. What the heck? I clicked, and it was a Google+-style notice telling me that X number of people are following my blog and person XYZ liked my last post. And I was on WordPress! These social features are becoming like a virulent strain of mildew that gradually creeps over everything, wiping out most of the reasons why you were attracted to a site in the first place.

    Just try to igore us, you anti-social loser! We’ll swarm all over you and cut off your air until you give in and holler “Friend!”

  • 13/11/2011 at 12:18 am
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    I used to accept pretty much all friend requests on facebook because i saw them as people who might be interested in my blog on cooking, and i link my blog posts to my profile . Its a completely amateur blog and makes no money so it was more a kudos thing of getting readership :-) UNTIL i got threatened by a group of bikies, because some random that i had friended was an affiliate to their gang and got offended about a post i put up critical of the outlaw motorcycle club (i actually said the solar lights that had appeared in the front garden of their clubhouse werea bit gay and looked like their mums had had a working bee!)
    They ended up issuing a threat to me at my WORKplace, which they found by lookinh at my profile. I removed the post and immediately unfriended every single person that i didnt actually know in the real world. It was over 100 people – people i didnt know from shit, who had access to a lot of private info about me. Valuable lesson learned, but too random, who would believe that can happen ?!???!

    • 13/11/2011 at 11:29 am
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      Astrid, due to different circumstances, I also received threats following some of my posts on FB, including death threats, Fortunately, as I posted no personal information on my FB profile, other than the country I live in, and most of the threats originated from different countries, it did not really affect anything I did.

      This being said, I have another FB account under a pseudonym for my close friends (that is those I actually meet in real life) and family. So there are ways to balance the thin line between exposure and privacy.

      Anyway, best of luck with your blog and I hope no trouble came to you from these bikers in the real world.

  • 13/11/2011 at 9:59 am
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    Sorry to hear of your experience Astrid, but it does serve as a good example. Facebook especially gives people access to a lot of your personal information. Something to think about when agreeing to share this information with people you don’t know.

  • 13/11/2011 at 11:32 am
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    Hi Derek I just sent you a message on Twitter, because you always cover social media so well I would like to see you get a Squidoo site and inform people in that community on social media issues, as well as your humorous comments. I think that you will be well liked there and I know that you will love a lot of the stories that get submitted and don’t forget to let your writer friends know about it, it is a perfect platform for talented writers.

  • 13/11/2011 at 3:26 pm
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    I avoided Facebook for a very long time, before that MySpace and any number of other social media sites. My relationship with Facebook is mainly a way to keep in touch with my extended family as many of the older folks are passed on and there are cousins, many with similar names spread across the US. Facebook has been a way to connect; it has also been a means to reconnect with some people who had been important in my youth. I have never been great at maintaining friendships over the years. At 60, life has been a whirlwind and I have had been through so much history that each decade has spawned it its own relevant relationships.

    However, of late, I have been interested in exploring my past, touching base with older selves and have found my memory dim and inexact. Through Facebook, I have found three individuals, each related to specific episodes of my past. This has become something I now treasure.

    Still one does need to proceed judiciously and perhaps, cautiously. By nature, I am somewhat introverted so the avoidance of invasive relationships is almost second nature.

    Today’s social media is powerful and there are agendas lurking beneath the smiley faces and ‘likes’. I rely on instinct which often prompts me to push away from the desk, disconnect and take my pups for a walk.

  • 26/12/2011 at 9:48 pm
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    Agreed, FB is definitely for F&F. Having read the comments I thought to support the case for Twitter as a professional tool. Case in point: my job is to prepare and execute the ebook-launch of an unusual author/political-activist. Once the decision was made how to position the fiction and non-fiction works, I chose Twitter to first of all listen-in; it serves at this stage as an infinitely customizable ‘press’-clipping service – and ‘press’ stands for ideas and inspiration in our area of focus. in the next phase, we also plan to use Twitter as a conduit to the author’s online presence – especially designed to be fully responsive to all mobile devices. I say this in reference to previous commenter’s use of Twitter to promote their author’s blog in order to then promote/sell their books – unless one is Attwood, Gaimann & Co that strategy will for exactly the reasons, you have so well laid out in your post, prove less and less successful. If a reader is using her iPad, let her download a free sample ebook straight from twitter – obviously the link needs to be smart enough to tell a kindle apart from iPad or android phone etc. In short, Twitter may well bypass the long-form promotional destination, unless it’s content is of significant and unique value in its own right.

  • 26/12/2011 at 11:00 pm
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    It’s funny though. Through GoodReads we connected then on Twitter. And then I read February The Fifth. Was beginning to become an Expat, now am an Expat, read one of your early poem on Vandal. Made a lot of sense to my situation. Joined a dot in the transition I was going through.

    Twitter is MicroBlogging, and Blogging is Blogging. I’ve felt that Blogging was always a nerve centre for ideas, and Twitter a worthwhile way to stream that amongst others who may connect on those ideas.

    Niché networks seems to strengthen the individual within a collective world, but general Social Networks tend to play on that old idea of sentiment and flattery, “commodities of the psychic world” all running subjectively to the internal mass of the ego. Where by showing people your life as you are, a sort of accumulation of psychic wealth, is not for the pleasure of having it but for the need to draw the attention of the world towards the self. Digital selfishness where sympathy and empathy does not exist.

    Rupert

  • 27/12/2011 at 3:32 am
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    Hi Derek
    Well I went to put my new blog as the URL address and I dont like the message that came up, which said if you register with this site, not some thing I did to attract a bigger audience so must be something to do with Blogger. It doesn’t matter anyway, because I took away the URL. Now for the reason that I am here in the first place, well as you know my favourite place is Digg you can actually go for content there, pick out the stories that you want to read and bury the ones that you don’t, although I never bury anything. I love places like Blogger, Bloglovin, Chime In as well as Squidoo, which is like a social network with out all of the Who Haa. I have given up on social networks as such, and reading things on twitter well it means having to go searching for stories, to time consuming, I know that you can narrow it down to what you like, by only reading certain people’s tweets, but then you miss out on something that may be important to you. I learn a lot of things from Digg, I wouldn’t say that I go into every news room as there is know point, they aren’t my type of stories, but the choice is there right in front of your face, “ooh that looks interesting I think I’ll have a look”, the amount of spam that I am sent from Twitter is amazing, but not going to bother getting my knickers in a not over it. I thought that this was a great story and I will be interested in other comments people have made. I know everything is about social networking but honestly it has become a big bore.

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