The other day I realized something: I am following WAY too many people in pretty much ALL of my social media outlets.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but every day I open up Twitter and want to see what my blogging friends are up to. Well, when I opened up Twitter that day, I noticed that there was a lot of unnecessary retweets, a lot of self-promo crap, and just a lot of things I certainly was not interested in.
So why was I even following these people?
That day, I went through all of the people I was following on Twitter and “unfollowed” about 60% or so of them. Who was I deleting? Mainly:
- People who I never talk to;
- People who only retweet information or auto-post blog posts and nothing else;
- People who never respond to anything, ever; people who never @ anyone, or never RT anyone, or never seem to engage themselves in any kind of discussion, and;
- People who seemed to only use Twitter for self-promotional purposes.
And this is only to name a few.
After I purged, I felt great! I could actually log into Twitter and start a conversation with people because the people who MATTERED remained and showed up right there in my timeline. Naturally, since then I started losing followers, but these were probably people who never said anything to me anyway.
A few days later, I received notification from Goodreads that I had become friends with someone – someone who I didn’t know, who didn’t have a blog, and didn’t have anything in common or any connection with me whatsoever.
To this I said, “Whaaaaat?”
This made me go through my friend list, deleting the people who I had no idea about – were they bloggers? authors? publishers? – and keep, again, only the people who mattered.
You might be wondering, “Well, then HOW on EARTH am I supposed to be your friend on Goodreads?”
Here’s how we will become friends (and I mean to say all of this in the least snootiest way possible):
- I comment on your blog regularly and want to follow what books you are reading.
- We are friends in real life.
- You comment regularly on my blog and I feel that I “know” who you are.
- We engage in chitchat on Twitter regularly.
- You are a Canadian publisher I love.
- You are an author I love.
This might come across as me being insanely picky about who I’m friending in certain places, but when I looked at the amount of people I never talked to on Twitter or on Goodreads, it made me wonder: Is it all a popularity contest?
Book blogging is one of the latest and greatest things. Everyone and their dog has a book blog and the book blogging community can be one of the greatest (or sometimes one of the suckiest) places around. If you are my friend in this community, I THANK YOU for encouraging me to blog and to keep me going even when times get tough in the community.
To me, though, it seems that there are a lot of people out there who want to have ALL the Twitter followers or ALL the friends on Goodreads and I wonder if these people are actually taking the time to form meaningful online relationships with these people.
Of course, by “meaningful online relationships” I’m not talking about dinners and dates, but taking the time to comment on each other’s blogs, chat on Twitter, promote each other’s blog posts and whatnot. It’s one thing to have that HUGE number as your friend count, but if you’re not taking any time to get to know anyone, what’s the point?
Here’s what I want of my Twittering and Goodreading experience:
- I want to be able to see your name or picture and say, “Right! That’s who you are and you own THIS blog!”
- I want to be able to comment on a book you’re reading and have you comment back.
- I want to be able to say something to you on Twitter and have you respond.
- I want to be able to visit your blog and leave meaningful conversation, and to have you do the same on mine.
- I want to chat about ALL THE BOOKS and feel a sense of camaraderie in doing so.
- I want to have “friends” but only the friends who reciprocate the friendship.
Friendship in real life is hard – friendship online is just as hard. Perhaps even harder. We have no idea who’s on the other end of the computer, which is why we have to take extra steps to be sure we’re friending the right people.
In that same sense, I understand that being a book blogger, you may feel like a product online. You’re offering services with your book reviews, right? You WANT to gain followers, you WANT to have people visit your blog, which means you must friend ALL THE PEOPLE! But if you never engage in conversation with anyone, that’s not the best motivation for others to visit you. To me, it’s like visiting a blog and consistently commenting on their content only to NEVER have that person comment back. Ever. I get that people are busy, which is why we need to take the time to make things matter.
Is this asking too much of people? How do you go about “friending” bookish people online? Are you choosy?
© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.