Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Social Networking and Insanity . . .

Do you care about the people you’re connected with online?

If you answered Yes, how deep is that caring?

I ask because we often need a shock to wake up to realities—to bring us to our senses—to cure us of electronically-induced ills.

Recently, a well-known social networker committed suicide. Those he was connected with thought they knew him………

Certainly, there are cases of folks in non-electronic relationships who shock their friends with actions completely unexpected but I would venture they’re fewer than the shocks from social media “friends”.

Jay Baer recently wrote a blog post, Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy, in which he talked about that social media suicide.

Jay is a man who proudly displays his book about social media at the top of his blog and says, in his profile, that he’s a “hype-free social media strategy consultant and speaker” and “a digital marketing pioneer”.

Yet, in the blog post linked-to up there, he says: [There is] “…the underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people. I have always believed this to be true, and in fact have delivered the lines above in presentations and on this blog. But today, I’m no longer convinced. Instead I wonder, what if we have it ALL wrong?”

A bit later in the post he says: “Maybe we should be focused less on making a lot of connections, and focused more on making a few real friends?”

Ever since I began a push to connect with more people on-line, well before I began to write my recently-published book, I wondered about the quality of the connections.

As I was digesting all the information about “building an author platform”—working to increase my “friends” on FaceBook and my “followers” on Twitter—I struggled with the lack of Relationship in the connections.

I finally dumped FaceBook and Twitter, joined Google Plus. It didn’t take long to feel the struggle against what felt like wasted time.

I’ve most recently joined Diaspora and I’m still struggling

I’m an author (a poor author) with a book to promote in a world that publishes over 2,000 books a day and I need to make connections.

I may eventually dump Google Plus and Diaspora if the Relationship Factor declines much further

I feel more comfortable right here, inside this composition box on WordPress, writing  from my heart and knowing that, of the 50 or so people a day who arrive here, a few of them read what I write and Relate to it.

Naturally, I post teasers with links to my posts on Google Plus and Diaspora—sometimes they spark discussion

In Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results.

I’ve tried to do Google Plus and Diaspora differently than FaceBook and Twitter but I’m starting to feel the signal-to-noise ratio is still too low.

Perhaps this blog is my most sane response to making on-line connections, even if I may not know I’m connecting due to the fact that most folks who read a post never comment, even if they liked it

I’m actually finding more meaningful connections in my work as Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

Curious how the most “unreal” thing I do gives me the most Real Relationships………
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

26 responses to “Social Networking and Insanity . . .

  1. Simone Benedict September 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Weird. I just watched “We Live in Public” last night, for the first time. Sigh, yes, I tend to run a few years behind…

    One of the main points I got from this documentary was how we’ve (some of us) begun to measure our worth, eg. how many “friends” do I have, how many “likes” does my post get or is my blog getting enough hits? Am I “popular”????? (The same observation as you.)

    Personally, I do care about those I make a connection with in the virtual world. And I agree with you. Some sites are conducive to building connections. Others are less so.


    • Alexander M Zoltai September 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      We Live In Public was a scary, grimy, depressing movie


  2. Cassy Lark September 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I experience this almost daily – the want for fewer more intimate friendships instead of the plethora of shallow ones that I have “friended” through social media. Like you, some of my best friends are avatars who frequent Book Island – and that includes you :)


    • Alexander M Zoltai September 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Yay, Book Island :-)


  3. Catana September 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I spent about a week on Google+, joining only the circles related to NaNoWriMo, and *only* if the owner of the circle seemed to be a serious writer. Total circles: about 16. Plus one acquaintance, one friend. I finally realized there was no way to be selective enough to eliminate the yada yada you find everywhere on the web. The noise to signal ratio was completely out of control. Last night, I deleted all my information and posts. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to close my account, but at least I turned off all notifications.

    The most valuable relationships I have online have always been from blogging. I’ve tried just about everything else, and always abandoned them as a waste of my time. The relationships are often short-lived, but while they last, they’re satisfying because the discussions are about shared interests and concerns. I don’t have to block Utube videos of kittens, or of performers I’ve never heard of, information about someone’s addiction to caffeine or chocolate, or the latest memes and jokes. Those things don’t interest me in real life, and they’re no more enjoyable on the net. But they are much more intrusive, making it that much harder to find real relationships.


  4. Alexander M Zoltai September 30, 2011 at 11:07 pm


    I really resonated to your saying this: “I don’t have to block Utube videos of kittens, or of performers I’ve never heard of, information about someone’s addiction to caffeine or chocolate, or the latest memes and jokes.”

    I might add that the only thing worse is the way people take any of those posts and re-share them–adding to the noise

    I’ve made a smaller Circle recently of those whose posts I enjoy. If those get too noisy, I’m out………


    • Catana September 30, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      Maybe that’s the way to do it, a small circle of those you already know might be interesting to talk to. When it comes down to it, the kind of socializing that large networking sites require just isn’t comfortable for me. I love blogging, and it seems to be the best way to make real connections. There’s something to be said for blogs that attract hundreds of readers, but then I look at someone like Zoe Winters, who shut down comments because there were too many voices competing for her attention, many of them with their own agendas. I’d rather have fewer subscribers and keep the comments. And the freedom to write as I choose to, which she’d also lost.


      • Alexander M Zoltai October 1, 2011 at 12:24 am


        One thing that my time in Second Life and on social networking sites has done is to limit my ability to visit other blogs and comment–including yours :-(

        Ever since I began pursuing connections I’ve been in flux about the mix

        It may always be that way………


        • Catana October 1, 2011 at 12:58 am

          We each have a different mix. We try and discard until we find the mix that’s most comfortable. I read far more blogs than I comment on, which still lets me “listen in” to conversations. Sometimes a comment from someone new will lead me to a blog I wasn’t aware of before. It may turn out to be one to just read or one to participate in now and then. Also, becoming familiar with the names of commenters, I learn that there is a loosely connected community with some interests shared, and some quite different from each other.


  5. Karla Telega September 30, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Social media is definitely a double-edged sword. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the shouting, but how else is a poor author supposed to get the word out? We can’t exactly afford an ad campaign. Word of mouth is our best friend, hence, lots of mouths.


    • Alexander M Zoltai October 1, 2011 at 12:26 am

      Yes, Karla, double-edged, at least–perhaps medusa-headed

      One thing I’ve been doing, as I give away free copies of my book, is gathering the email addresses.

      When the second book comes out, I’ll have a mailing list :-)


  6. Gwenette Sinclair October 1, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I find the sharing of some folks more interesting than others. Whether I can say I CARE for these people that I know ONLY from social network sites ummmmm. . . I do know I often grow to care for folks I meet as my avatar in Second Life and opensim wolrds. Like any relationship, it is about content not just contact or time spent together. I use the same criteria I use in F2F relationships: Do you make me smile; do you make me think; do you make me feel like dancing into a new adventure once in awhile? If you do, I LIKE you and if I LIKE you, I DO CARE about you. IMHO you are making our world a better place. We need as many people doing that as possible. I CARE about the world being a better place, full of creativity folks with the freedom to express ourselves.


    • Alexander M Zoltai October 1, 2011 at 12:28 am


      Wonderful — “content not just contact”.


  7. Gwenette Sinclair October 1, 2011 at 12:18 am



    • Alexander M Zoltai October 1, 2011 at 12:29 am


      Your second comment makes me feel like I’m in SL — Whoot !! :-)


  8. Amy October 1, 2011 at 2:17 am

    I definitely feel that my blog is my space in a way that the social networks aren’t.

    As for commenting, I think it takes a much higher energy investment to comment on a blog, especially than to, say, plus one a post. I run into people at conventions who tell me how much they like the blog and I had no idea they were even reading it. Yet somehow there was a connection made there all the same.


  9. Alexander M Zoltai October 1, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Yes, Amy, it’s definitely true that there are folks reading and appreciating my blog–the research I’ve done on blogs and commenting “proves” it to me.

    Energy investment is the key and its consideration drives my effort to continue learning “how” to blog (without losing who I am in the process–i.e., becoming a mere “content-creator”).


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  12. plerudulier August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Things I grab, motley collection .


    • Alexander M Zoltai August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks, plerudulier, I feel it’s an important post


      • plerudulier August 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        I thinks so too which is why I reblogged it. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment.


        • Alexander M Zoltai August 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

          Comments are the Life-Blood of this blog :-)


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  14. jalapenopopey March 10, 2018 at 7:01 am

    You’re right why do I visit Facebook, it has never been for new connections. I just talk to old real friends I cant geographically get to anymore. It doesn’t service me in any other manner.


    • Alexander M Zoltai March 10, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Well, at least you can talk to old friends…

      I’m glad your re-reading old posts of mine for many reasons; but, seeing this one again makes me feel pretty blog-lonely—so many comments—these days I’m lucky to get one and a miracle happens when there are two :-)


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