Social Media Can Make Us Unintentionally Rude

If you’re on Facebook, even casually, this is probably a familiar notification:

“So and so has invited you to like his page”

While I’m only being asked for a click of the mouse, I find the method to get my click kind of impersonal. Maybe I’m being whiner, but I’d like my support to mean more than increasing someone’s numbers. And honestly, if I was the type to “like” everyone who asked, that’d be the extent of our interaction because we haven’t CONNECTED in any other way. I do understand that if I’m getting an invite from a Facebook friend, at some point, I had to of accepted this person as a friend. I accept people I don’t know very well all the time because we have friends in common and, the way Facebook is set up, it’s the only way for us to connect. But being asked to like a page soon after we’ve met is an odd way to build a relationship.

Goodreads is another source for offenders. I get so many invites to events from people I’ve never spoken to, I’ve lost count. These annoy me a little more because I’m usually being invited to BUY or do something that will take a lot more time than a click. At this point if I don’t recognize the name, it gets deleted.

Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people, but I’ve noticed more and more we’re skipping the getting to know you part of the relationship and putting our hands out right away.

That being said, I don’t think these invites are all bad. I’m pretty sure you can set them to invite specific people and not your whole list, which is better. But even in that sense, it feels like you’re getting a form letter. We wouldn’t do that if we were querying for an agent, right? Every book on the subject says to know the agent you’re querying and tailor your letter for that person. I’m not suggesting we need to go that far for a Facebook like or Goodreads event, but we need to remember that at the other end of those invites is a real live person.

I have a friend on Facebook who’s starting his own law firm and he sent a message out to all his friends. It detailed his reasons for doing it, what he plans to offer and ended with a request to think of him if we knew anyone in need of legal representation. It probably took him some time to put the message together and even though it wasn’t specifically written to me, I didn’t feel like someone was leaving a flyer on my windshield. For that reason I WILL remember him.

We need to be more like this. I’d rather have ten people behind me one hundred percent, than be ignored by everyone. And to all the WANA-ites, it seems way more line with what Kristen‘s talking about. Instead of blitzing our whole network, we should first find out who’d be most interested in what we’re promoting because it won’t be everyone’s thing. Get to know these people as people and tailor a message to that group. Is it more work going this route? Of course. But I guarantee you’ll stand out a lot more than rest.

7 comments on “Social Media Can Make Us Unintentionally Rude

  1. Have I mentioned how much I hate Facebook? There’s so much junk on there! It’s a shame, too, because it could be a valuable way to connect with people if we didn’t have to wade through so much. And a lot of the stuff is promotion (and 100 requests to play some game, lol). I agree that so many people are skipping the getting to know you part. I was just telling my boss the other day, when we were talking about newsletters, the days of “hard sell” are over. People want to connect, not be pressured into buying. As authors, I think some people will buy our books just because we’re nice and they like us. If we’re yelling “buy” all the time, it gets old and sounds like that’s all we care about. One thing that will cause me not to follow someone on Twitter is if they are pitching their book (or whatever else they’re selling) all day long with nothing else in between. Or if they’re doing nothing but retweeting. Give me some social interaction. Let me know how your day is going. Tell me something funny. Talk about your pets. Talk to me! 🙂

  2. Sometimes I question whether it’s unintentional or not. I think it’s more about laziness. People want something out of other people but they’re not willing to do the work to develop the relationships that would lead to the same outcomes, so instead they generically blast people. And of course we all know I hate Facebook to begin with…the fact that people can start groups and ADD PEOPLE TO THEM without permission. WHY there’s not an invite feature where people can choose to accept or decline, I have no idea. Half the time I’ve got an inbox full of crap before I even realize I’ve been added to something. Drives me insane.

  3. @LL- Oh, yeah the game thing is really annoying. I turned off all updates to games and it gave my stream so much more breathing room.

    I go back and forth with Facebook. I do like the sharing option because the topic’s picked out, making it easy for me to write something. That and I’ll comment on other people’s updates. Otherwise I don’t put much effort in, but I’d like to change that because I’m sure there’s something to be gained from Facebook on a making new friends level. Goodreads too.

    @Kait- The ironic thing is that all the people I’d support in a heartbeat, a)don’t promo blitz and b)don’t need to.

    I was in a few FB writing groups, but those all turned into promo streams of blog posts. I left them all, but was recently added to a WANA group. It’s mostly blog post updates too, but not as crazy as the other ones, so I left it.

  4. And here I liked this post and no one even asked me.

    There’s a lot of things about Facebook that I’m not fond of, and I find it incredibly ironic and interesting that some people find it too impersonal while other people (*cough*mysisterinlaw*cough*) seem to find it to be the end-all, be-all in personal communication: if I don’t “like” something, it must mean I hate it! But that’s a whole different topic right there.

    • Yes, I enjoy my likes much more when they come naturally.

      I think by taking advantage of the chat, comment and/or message function, Facebook works great. Used differently, it seems like a way to communicate at people rather than with them. But as you said, some people love it, and since I sort of like it, I’m going to keep working at doing what I like on there. Hopefully I find other people like that along the way.

  5. I find it hilarious when I’m invited to a childhood school acquaintance’s birthday party or some such, on Facebook. I grew up in the US, but live in India now, so it’s obviously just a cold mass-invite, especially since I don’t talk to any of them anymore. I bloody live on the other side of the world, people. :<

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