Hits, followers, friends, connections, comments, re-tweets… Nowadays it seems that reaching out is more about the numbers than anything else. That’s not to say that the content of communication doesn’t matter, it is still paramount, but it is amazing how many people who are active online are hung up on their numbers (myself included).
I’ve recently read comments about the ‘arrogance’ of people who have more followers than people they follow on Twitter. WHAT?!?!?! If there is one place you have no control over who looks at you, it is Twitter, so how your ratio falls can hardly be put down to any fault of your personality. The comment smells a little strongly of jealousy to me.
Having a memory that goes back further than five years, I can recall when networking sites started up. Your friends were actually friends and you shared private information that really had no place on such an exposed network. Now we have hundreds, if not thousands of connections and the communication is substantially tempered to include as little personal information as possible. Well, for many of us over the age of about 22 anyway.
I can’t help but think that the online trend for collecting numbers is turning us all into marketing experts. This is not necessarily a bad thing, selling yourself is a good skill to have, but where does all this work on number building leave us for relationship building?
I know, the irony of a person who writes a blog saying this is not lost on me, but I would be lying if I did not admit that sometimes I wonder if I should be pulling back from my online world and focussing more on my offline world. I’ve done less fiction writing since I created an online presence, and have caught up with friends less often. The two might not be related (I did move states during the same time, after all) but I think it would be wise to see if there is any connection.
Something to think about…