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Social Distortion

Monday morning I read an article that covered the AAP’s most recent findings that Facebook can lead to depression in teens and tweens.

With all the emphasis teens and tweens put on having friends and being accepted and seen as cool, this makes total sense to me.

(What I linked to above is not the article I read yesterday, just so you know. I can’t find that one now, but I know it wasn’t the AAPs actual release. Anyway…moving on.)

Here’s the thing. This doesn’t just affect teens these days.

I’m here to say it sometimes bothers me to lose friends and followers in my various realms of social media.

Sure, adults are supposed to be all self-aware and secure and content with their lives to the point that friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter don’t matter.

But they kind of do. Sort of. A little bit. Especially for bloggers. (Stay with me.)

Teens will “friend” nearly anyone who requests them. Even people they will openly confess to not knowing. Some of my students have upwards of 1,000 “friends” on Facebook and are all excited whenever the moment comes up that they can share their number of friends with someone else.

While I’m way more judicious than them, I won’t deny that I like having “friends” on Facebook and Twitter. (I mean, while I’m being all honest here…) I’m smart enough to realize that I’m not actually “friends” with all of these people, but I enjoy being able to “see” some of these people nonetheless.

I love technology and social media. Love it. I think I love it so much because I crave the kind of interaction with people that I don’t seem to get very frequently in the real world. Facebook and Twitter provide those interactions for me.

Facebook and Twitter and blogging all give me a space for my voice to be heard and for me to listen to and connect with others.

Social media sites and online interactions are the new malls and parking lots and hang-out spots.  They allow for the rapid transmission of good, useful information and communication and allow people (bloggers…me) to share their personal triumphs (some of which the Universe could do without reading about) in a manner that allows them to receive (usually) positive feedback from their peers.

On the other hand, the “unfriending” and “unfollowing” and “blocking” can be hurtful. (Yes, I’m serious.)

It’s like ending a relationship and not telling the other party that the relationship has ended. A break-up with no explanation or formality.

And when that end is discovered, there’s a moment of shock like “::gasp:: I cannot believe so-and-so unfriended me!!” If you can even figure out who so-and-so IS. Followed by feelings of doubt and wondering what it is we might have done to cause such a change in the relationship. If we could’ve done something differently to prevent that change. That unfollowing and unfriending and blocking.

That’s a conundrum, right?

Would I blog if no one read my words? Yes, probably. In the beginning I wrote only for myself, and I still do for the most part. But now that I know there are people out there reading what I write, I’m not just writing for me anymore.

Denying the presence of my readers as they affect my writing would be like saying my readers don’t matter. They very much DO matter. YOU DO matter. While my readers may not define who I am as a person or a blogger, y’all help define this little space I’ve created through your input and your audience.

So, how do we as bloggers stay less-invested in our online lives to the point that the coming and going of friends and followers doesn’t affect us? Is that possible? Should it be something to which we aspire? Are we negating the impact of our audience if we say we’re not bothered when we see our numbers go down?

What do you think?

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Friday 1st of April 2011

facebook doesn't matter to me.

twitter doesn't matter unless it is someone I thought was my REAL friend...which hasn't happened that I know of (and is the reason i don't get those "unfollow" reports).

my blog stats? ugg. I am a stat stalker.

but i recently quit doing that. sort of. ok i am trying to quit.

my goal is to focus on the readers I have. my stats tell me they are super faithful. So they are my focus. i lurve them. :)

Grace @ Arms Wide Open

Thursday 31st of March 2011

i think it's totally natural to care and worry and wonder. but at the same time i have tried to find a happy medium. i only check my stats *maybe* once a month... because honestly what can i really do or change to make them better anyway? i write how i write and i am who i am.

as far as twitter goes, i enjoy it a lot, but i also have to be careful. i find it messes with my psyche if i'm on there too much ... and i try not to miss out on real life by being zoned out on twitter. definitely a balance!


Thursday 31st of March 2011

Stumbled upon ya, well, now I can't remember exactly how, but perusing for new reads. What really, really bugs me about the FB thing is that I don't know who it was. Sure, that's the point, but it irks me not to know who I've been dumped by and whether or not I care.

Re: blogging. I recently started from scratch with a new domain and it is kind of refreshing to know that only the folks who really care have followed me along. It has freed me up to write more for me again. Though I still have my audience in mind. If that makes sense.

Read a few past posts. Great writing!


Thursday 31st of March 2011

YAY! A new-ish person!

It bugs me to not know who's unfollowed me on Facebook sometimes. Sometimes it doesn't. But that's part of what I mean when I say that sometimes it can be hurtful to know we've been unfollowed or de-friended or whatever. Because we want to know WHY it happened.

I've got such a small following that with the domain moving I've done recently, I really wanted to make sure they didn't get lost in the shuffle. I'll always write for me, but I get what you're saying about writing for yourself with your audience in mind. Totally makes sense.

Thanks for commenting!

Jess@Straight Talk

Thursday 31st of March 2011

I think for me, if I was to see anyone that I "know" and regularly interact with leave, I'd be sad. As for my stats? Well they aren't impressive to begin with. It's cool when I can get 100 hits in a day. Yay me. But I know that they won't be paying any bills and sponsors are not beating down my door. So really, it doesn't matter. My friends think I'm likeable and I'll take it.

As for Facebook...honestly, the hurt I get from it is from my IRL family/friends that I see lacking interaction with me/my kid/my life but offering it to others. It hurts me. I don't understand it. Could I just delete them and avoid it? Sure. But I won't.


Thursday 31st of March 2011

Oh, my stats are nothing to write home about. And I'm certainly not about to quit my day job to stay home and work this gig full time. I guess I'm just more curious about what gets people to stay and what causes people to go.

Facebook. Ahhh, Facebook. I have a hard time deleting people, even people I don't agree with on almost any level. It's like I'm hoarding friends.

Jana A

Thursday 31st of March 2011

"I consider myself a small fish in a big, huge, ocean, but I get excited to see my follower number go up. Not so excited when I see it going down."

That's how I feel. I get sad when I lose a follower or people don't go "like" me when I tweet and ask them to. I have a small "stats stalking" problem and that's probably a problem. I wrote for me at first but now I try to write for my readers. And I LIKE that. So I get sad when I lose followers. Just like I'd be sad if I lost an IRL friendship.


Thursday 31st of March 2011

Me too. I know I have a stats problem. I know it. I try not to check my stats regularly.

I, too, like writing for people. I like knowing people are reading. And losing followers DOES feel like losing IRL friends because I feel like I've created a little community here. So when someone leaves the community, I'm all head-scratchy.

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