Category Archives: King of Social Media

Social Needia

When I visit Twitter, I see a lot of people trying to express something of value within 140 characters, or far less if they want to be retweeted. That’s not a bad exercise. There are others who “follow” 15,000 or 50,000 others, which we know is a joke. But if you follow those people producing value every day, I can see the point.

When I visit Linkedin, I find a lot of people looking for work, either employment or to sell me something. I also find it to be drifting, not having its own personality, but seeming to be a mini-Facebook as well as networking function. It reminds me of a room full of networkers just talking to each other.

When I visit YouTube I find a lot of people who are original and opportunistic, and a lot of others who are amazingly crass and vulgar. It staggers me to read comments that reflect arrant ignorance, bigotry, and hatred. I don’t care about dull videos, but dull minds are not something I seek to be around.

When I visit Facebook, I find a lot of people who are exceedingly needy and lonely seeking commiseration from others who are needy and lonely. One guy actually posted, “Gee, I have nothing to post today,” and others insist that you prove yourself by responding to their post so they know who their true friends are! Others express the most intimate aspects of their relationships, health, and tragedies that I guess some find therapeutic but I see as desperate.

I paint with a broad brush and their are exceptions, but spending hours a day on these sites seems to me like throwing your life away in part and in piecemeal, an elongated diminishment of productivity, like the proverbial frog in the gradually boiling water.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Faceboor

Spent two minutes looking at Facebook this morning. Blocked one guy who had to use F**k in his title; four self-aggrandizing posts; 18 posts on nothing at all (beautiful sunset, drunk falls off boat); one really funny photo of dog with leash waiting not for walk but car door to be opened; and the rest about vacations, motivation, wishful thinking, and so on.

I think I wasted a minute forty-five. Moving on.

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Facebook Update

Some reflections from time spent on Facebook and the most profound patterns I observe:

 

• Conversations reflect bias predisposition, not openness to debate. Obama is a moron. Obama is undermined by Republican morons. (No one seems to call this a great presidency, so there is an empirical limitation even to bias.) A great many minds are exposed but very few converted.

 

• Boldness is magnified artificially by lack of presence. People become more aggressive, less tolerant, more ad hominem when “safe” in the ether. The type of name-calling that often occurs would result in physical violence if done in person.

 

• The opportunity to achieve “instant peer status” by taking on someone of much more visibility and respect is a sport. Making a name at others’ expense is free and always available. I believe these people are called “trolls.”

 

• Public expressions of grief provide a palliative, to the point of ignoring personal contacts and simply issuing public pronouncements about death of loved ones, pets, personal illness, and so on. It appears that general contact has often replaced personal contact.

 

• Propriety is lost. A woman complaining—and receiving comfort from others—because her maid broke a tsotchkes, on the same day that hundreds died on the Malaysian plane that was shot down and Israel and Hamas were engaged in new warfare, is just one example of appalling self-absorption.

 

• Revelations of natural behavior are somewhat frightening. The amount of profanity (which is surpassed by a factor of one thousand on YouTube, which is often disgusting) falls into two categories: 1) The natural way many people talk who don’t have the intellect to use more effective adjectives and descriptors; 2) Those trying to impress others with the shock value.

 

• A startling neediness. Please like me. Just print one word to prove you’ve read this. Look, here I am standing next to someone who once spoke to an assistant to Ralph Jones, the finest speaker at Toastmasters in Lostintheclouds, North Dakota. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such completely unembarrassed, desperate need to be liked.

 

• Invitations to create affiliations. Birthday notices. Groups to join. It’s astounding how technology has seemed to replace actual interpersonal affiliation needs.

 

• Public grievances. The electric company overbilled me. The restaurant service was awful. I was treated unfairly by my boss. Politics forced me out. There is an entrenched victimization philosophy in many posts.

 

• Agenda people. It’s all a conspiracy. Everything is a result of profit mongers, government bureaucracy, international cartels, the CIA, the war on women, the Supreme Court, and so on, and on, and on.

 

• Promotionalists: I can cure your ills, help you speak, believe in yourself, change your life. I love the people I’ve never heard of who arrange “live your dreams” or “a cosmic awakening” session.

 

I’d calculate that a lot of people spend at least an hour a day on Facebook, which is 365 hours per year, or 30 12-hour days, which is a month of their available time! Perhaps people should come to my promotion: “How to regain an entire month of your time.”

 

© Alan Weiss 2014

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What If Facebook Required An IQ Test?

I decided to read every Facebook post on my home page (or whatever it is) this morning right to the bottom, and I found….wait for it….that all but two were stupid, vain, or just wrong. And these are the people I haven’t blocked yet!

Who on earth can put more than ten minutes a day into this time dump?

My favorites this morning:

1. I’m going to begin posting motivational sayings daily. Wish me luck.

2. I’m back from Florida and am sun burned.

3. Why does time go by so quickly?

4. (Ad) Invest in gold bullion.

5. So lucky to be speaking in Canada next year!

6. Pictures of people who are sick, including in their hospital beds. (And these receive “likes.”)

7. Four thousandth change of profile picture.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Hey Old Pal, Can You Spare A Hundred Thou?

A large percentage of people on social media platforms seem to feel they have become instant buddies and peers. (It’s interesting that Facebook has “friends” but Twitter has “followers.”) Among recent requests to me from total strangers:

• Endorse them for specialties I have no idea whether or not they are proficient in.

• Provide testimonials for self-published books which don’t interest me.

• Appear as a guest on their “internet radio show” which has approximately 16 listeners.

• Coach them through a coming business meeting.

• Advise them on their current business strategy.

• Introduce them to, and give them referrals from, my clients.

• Meet with them if they come to town or if we’re in a common place.

• Review an article they’ve provided and give them feedback.

• Allow them to advertise I’ve “mentored” them because they claim to have read one of my books.

You get the idea. There is a crazed egalitarianism and a legion of self-appointed critics who feel they are dealing with peers. One guy looked at my car photos and advised me I need to vacuum the interior. Another woman told me she despises displays of wealth. And the passive-aggressives swarm all over the social media outlets. “Did that outfit fit you better when you first bought it?” “I assume that was a successful upgrade to first class?” “What a shame the Bentley’s don’t have manual transmissions.” “Your site was down today, not right for the ‘rock star of consulting.’ ” (It wasn’t.)

Groucho Marx observed he didn’t want to be a member of a club that would let him into it. Too many people feel that they’ve been invited to some party as a VIP guest, when there is in reality no price of admission and the door was simply left open.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Facebook As A Depressant

In a study at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Leuven University (Belgium) it was found that Facebook users in their late teens or early 20s were more depressed than non-users. The more people socialized on Facebook,  the worse they reported feeling, as opposed to another group which socialized only in the real world and felt positive for having done so. (Reported in Bottom Line)

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Incivility

I’ve been regularly blocking the boors on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter who are uncivil: They whine, complain, use obscenity, have no patience, expect everyone to accept their agenda, boast unceasingly.

One cause for all this is the fact that we seldom deal with each other in person. “Friends” on Facebook is a stretch. A friend is someone you trust, can rely upon, and who thinks of your best interests. These are mere acquaintances, at best. (Just as “Dancing With the Stars” is, in reality, “Dancing With the Vaguely Familiar.” Is “C List” really a “star”?)

When people aren’t with you, they take more liberties, are bolder, and become more uncaring. I’ve noticed that even Skype creates better manners than merely a phone call, and phone calls are far superior—in terms of civility—to email. I’ve had people send me email with epithets and slurs they wouldn’t dare say to me or anyone else in person. Remoteness emboldens the faint-hearted, empowers the coward, and engenders otherwise unthinkable language. (The same holds true for many profile pictures on Facebook. I mean, seriously?)

Of course, the bright side is that it’s far easier to “block” someone on Facebook than at a party or at dinner. But people aren’t usually insulting or insufferable at parties or dinner unless they’re drunk, which may be the only rational condition to be in when you read some of the outrageous garbage on Facebook.

© Alan Weiss 2014.

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%$^&**&^^ Are You Proud of Me?

I’m skimming Facebook this morning, where I routinely  accept anyone who wants to befriend me but never ask anyone to befriend me. I have a couple of thousand “friends.”

This morning, some guy named Matthew says that he’s going to hit the gym harder, read more books, learn a language, and raise more funds for charity, and that anyone who tries to out-perform him can (insert absolutely obscene phrase here).

I understand that Facebook is all about vanity publishing, braggadocio, commiseration, validation, affiliation, and loneliness. I get it. It serves a purpose, though if it disappeared tomorrow the fabric of the country wouldn’t be affected by one gram. However, it also exposes those who are bereft of intellectual ability, manners, and sensitivity.

I can curse like a longshoreman when I hit my thumb with a hammer, or my wife tells me she’s dragging me to another three-hour fund raiser. But that’s in the privacy of my own home. I’ve been known to utter an imprecation when my team loses a game they never should have lost.

But to routinely use profanity among strangers in widely-disseminated media, to be oblivious to the impression of you it creates, to fail to bother to find a more effective way to express yourself—well, maybe Facebook does provide a real service.

It shows us that there are people who are never going to succeed because they’re too stupid to gauge the impact of their actions on those around them. Maybe it should be called Let’s Face It Book.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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Snarks

There are a couple of women on Twitter who symbolize Twits. They are upset that I follow no one, feel they should carry on a debate with me about every point I raise, and speak in galactic woo-woo language. They’re the definition of gum on your shoe, snarky wise-guys who use Twitter because no one wants to be around them in reality, I’d guess. If Twitter didn’t have a “block” feature, I’d pay to get one, or simply abandon the platform.

I may have to begin a new category: Get A Life.

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Please Send Me $10

Am I crazy, or is Facebook becoming the home of the terribly needy? We have the incessant requests to “like” every inane comment. Then we have people demanding that you post a comment to prove you’re reading their postings. There are the demands to “send me a dollar” to prove some fool thing or another. And we have the people who display their ratings from speeches, random compliments, and even celebrities (in their view) who are standing in the same room!

Aside from the political agendas (“It’s a sad day in America, because there are people who don’t agree with me”), and the banal platitudes (“If you’re not your own best friend, then who would you confide in?”), what is it about this craving to be validated by others (who are mostly strangers)?

It seems like a vast landscape of insecurity, sucking the oxygen out of the atmosphere. But, what the heck, please demonstrate you agree by sending me $10. I’m at least ten times more secure than anyone on Facebook, so a dollar won’t do it. I’ll donate anything to send to the Animal Protection League. At least, I will if they tell me they like me….

© Alan Weiss 2013

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