An Open Letter to Social Media “Friends”, “Connections”, and “Followers”

Dear Friends, Connections, and Followers:

When I first began using social media, I had the great fortune of virtually meeting many people who over the past decade or more have become actual friends. When we first started on social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook – you had actual conversations with people.  It was a wonderful way to meet people from all over the world.  And lots of these people, many of whom I have never met in person, I still consider friends as we have taken our conversations off of the social media platforms and turned our discussions into telephone calls or video chats. 

Today, more often than not, these platforms have become a method of pushing out information. It’s become another form of advertising. The constant pitching of products and services disguised as helpful information.  Or worse, the numerous posts which are either humblebrags or downright narcissistic self-aggrandizement have gotten out of control. 

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tout your own accomplishments, and I am not saying that you shouldn’t promote your services.  If you don’t, not many other people will. But there is a way to do so that just won’t annoy or turn-off the other people who follow you. 

In addition, there is a race to gain followers, friends or connections.  LinkedIn has a program called L.I.O.N. which you may have seen.  It means Linked In Open Networker and anyone who wants to can connect with you without requesting to do so. Again, nothing wrong with that, but I would like to be a bit more strategic when it comes to my online networking.

Many people (myself included) were taught that the more followers you had the more likes you get. The more social media love, the more sales you could make. But in actuality, in the race to get more people telling you how wonderful you are by clicking a thumbs-up button or the heart, the more psychological problems this is causing people.  Studies have shown that the incidence of depression and mood disorders have increased with more social media use because we are either looking to others to validate ourselves, or looking at others and comparing their fabulous online lives with our more self-perceived mundane ones. By the way, never fully believe what you see; I’m not talking about fake news or photo-shopping (that is a wholely different topic). I’m talking about selectively posting what you want the world to see.

Think about it.  Don’t you notice that you have three types of people on your feeds  – those who post only the fantastic, wonderful, “isn’t my life better than yours,” posts or the people who only post the most miserable things going on so they can get sympathy.  No one’s life is that good or that bad.  No one’s life is black or white but has shades of color in between.  But we have allowed ourselves to always be comparing – we think that someone’s life is better than ours or at least our life isn’t as bad as theirs. Or the third type who is always pitching their services and products.  And don’t get me started on the click-bait titles, endless quantities of quizzes or the overused memes (the most current one on Facebook, the one with the two women/and the cat, is truly starting to annoy me). 

Moreover, there is so much noise on social media that many people are just ignoring what you are posting.  And, if they are not ignoring it, because of algorithms that change seemingly weekly, they are only seeing what the platform thinks they want you to see or should see. 

How many posts do you pass when you are scrolling down your feeds?   Why?

Look, I am not Kylie Jenner or Kim Kardashian – I don’t have the ability to say “buy this” on my social media feeds and there is a rush to purchase that causes websites to crash.  I just want to post information that would be of use to the people with whom I trying to connect.  I want to post intelligent, thought-provoking and/or helpful tips that attorneys can use to grow their books of business. In addition, I want to get back to really connecting with my followers, friends, and connections and determining how I can help them.  

I believe, and have always believed, that networking is still one the best ways to grow your business.  However, we now have the ability to do it online and virtually, not just in-person at networking events.

So, beginning today and continuing throughout 2020, I will try to learn more about the people to whom I am connected.  Please do not be surprised if you receive a direct or personal message from me.  I am just going to find a way to get to know you better so that I can serve you in some way.  Whether that is being able to refer new business to you, provide you with an “ear” to listen to you when you need it, or provide you with good information, I intend on becoming more involved with my followers. 

I don’t have millions of followers – I have a nice, fairly manageable number which, while I am trying to grow, I want to get to know more personally. 

So here’s to getting to know you better! Oh, and feel free to reach out to me if I don’t get to you first. 

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