links and the links to those who link us

There are two reasons why someone pays any attention to what you post on your social media platforms:

  1. They like what you’ve posted
  2. They like you

It’s often a mix of the two, of course. Whether or not they react or signal that they’re paying attention is mostly #2.

I’m addicted to Facebook. It’s the place where I hang out (sorry, Google) online, where I see my friends, where I chat with them, where we exchange news or stories or anything. When I see lots of new posts in my newsfeed, it feels like the playground is packed with people mingling about, talking, laughing, crying. When I am the only one posting, it’s like I’m the only one on the playground.

Which brings me to The Oatmeal’s new comic (‘OHMYGOSH go read this link I posted’). It ridicules the most common types of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I have to plead guilty to many of his examples.

But I disagree with his conclusion. Conversations can be and have been had – good, thought-provoking, insightful conversations, sometimes debates – on Facebook. Granted, there are people for whom this is not a priority; it’s enough for them to be seen and heard. I’m not like that. I don’t think we “all shout the same fucking thing”.

And my Guardian article link proved beyond a doubt that people read your links and/or react because of you. Any interaction on their part with anything you post is immediately an indirect interaction with you. My Guardian article didn’t garner 43 ‘Like’s and a ton of congratulatory comments because it was a good article – I doubt 80% of them read even one sentence beyond the subheadline. What made it appealing, then, is that it was written by me.

So you see. we’re not quite all on the same stage, and we’re certainly not shouting into the same bullhorn.

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