Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not everyone wants to be your FRIEND

I just returned from a breakfast meeting for Social Media Breakfast Waterloo Region  -  #SMBWR that can be found at http://twitter.com/smbwr and http://www.socialmediabreakfast.com/category/smb-waterloo-region/. A discussion lead to the difficulties of the culture in Waterloo Region and getting people involved in communities or even just knowing our own neighbours. This led to some healthy and worthwhile advice as to how to get to know your neighbours.  I agreed with many, but remained silent as I pondered this, and the phenomenon that we are expected to develop relationships with all companies, businesses, influential people within our cities, neighbours, etc, etc, etc.

Everyone wants to be MY Friend
My phone company wants me to LIKE them on Facebook - why, just give me service at a reasonable rate, and provide an easy way to connect to you if I require your service, or to research new services.
When I am in need I will review - otherwise I do not want to read your posts or tweets. There are some businesses, companies, or bloggers that I do want to develop relationships with, or at least know on a  daily basis what is new - those I may subscribe to LIKE and even follow on Twitter. I often UNLIKE Fan Pages, as find too many posts are tiresome or the information is only clutter. This does NOT mean I don't LIKE you, it is just not a priority to me and we all have a threshold to how much involvement we want to cross our path.

Please Leave Me Alone
Example - a friend of mine recently moved to a new city and was looking forward to meeting new people and discovering activities within the community. She made the acquaintance of a few neighbours, and setup a playdate for the children and got some tips about services in the area and activities. All swell! Then, the one person she met was calling her 3 times a day, and every time she exited her house, her new-found 'friend' was right there. This was TOO MUCH. My friend took to sneaking out of her house, and screening her phone calls. She felt like a prisoner in her own home.

There is a limit to how much community we can all take - some appreciate more, some need more private time and others prefer the solace of family. We should respect this, and not suspect that there is something wrong with either them or us.

Make it easy for me to LIKE you
Lastly, I would like to point out to businesses involved with creative ways of engaging - that if it causes me work to take advantage of your offer, then I may throw it away.
Example - I received an email that I could get an additional $5 off any WagJag deal
- BUT there is a hitch.
1> I must be subscriber to the newspaper.
  - Okay, I am a subscriber or I would not have received the email.
2> I must go to link provided and signup to WagJag.
  - hmm maybe later
3> And when ready for one of deals offered use a special promo code in this email
   - okay so need to keep this promo code somewhere, save email or something.
Too difficult!  And so far I have not found anything on WagJag I really need or want .... so save in case maybe...
How could this be done better? 
Well I am not sure of the point? I believe it is an advertising campaign that provides services and businesses within the community to promote themselves. The idea is that if something is offered for 50% off, that I might try it, and this gives the business a chance to show what they have, can do and to get to know more people in the community. All good for both sides right?
Yes, if it is easy to do. If too much work then it may not work for all. Is there an easier way than the signup? Do I have to be a Friend on Facebook to get the deal? Do I have to LIKE your Fan Page?
What if I just show up?

Why Should I LIKE You?
This reminds me also of an experience I had on the weekend. I was at the LCBO store and picked up the current Food & Drink magazine (which is amazing!!). Once I had gone through it initially to review the recipes, I was exploring the rest of the magazine and realized many advertisements had the Facebook connection graphic or - Connect to our Facebook Page. Now why I wondered do I want to connect to all these companies on Facebook? Such as a furniture store or paint store? If I require your services I will do research at that time, but what am I to do with you on my Facebook in the meantime?

To be clear, I am not being snarky or nasty - this is just plain overload that is happening. 
In our group of friends and family this is what is happening:
The younger generation in the 20 - 30 year old bracket just ignore. 
The 30 - 40 year olds take advantage of the bargains and deals mostly as they are being more conscious due to having young families.
Those of us older often feel a responsibility to support all - which we end up being overloaded. 
My husband has recently disconnected all Facebook Friends except for immediate family - therefore has maybe 6 Friends. He uses no Blackberry Apps, as after novelty found many annoying, so if not a business efficiency app, then it is gone. LinkedIn, he has no time for other than minimal connection. Twitter & Blogs - he leaves that up to me  :)

TOO Much Information!
I recently read that if we cannot use the information immediately - that we are throwing it away, as our brains cannot process it all. Also if we bookmark or save for later, the list becomes so horrendously long that we just add to it  - thus deciding to not save and simply throw away if cannot use at this time.
For this reason, I am attempting to keep this post short.

For further information (If your time permits)
- scientific presentation regarding the Human Brain and Social
- Professor Robin Dunbar explores if there is a limit to the number of friends we can keep track
- Number has been determined to be maximum number is 150

What do you think?  Are we overloaded? Do we want to be everyone's Friend?
Or do we want to be left alone?

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