And it’s not just us. On an average day, I use social media to talk to my college buddies in Boston, my high school pals in Atlanta, my friends and former co-workers in Maine, Michigan, Oregon, London, Germany, Afghanistan… the list is endless. Sometimes it’s just ‘Hey! How are you? I miss you!’ But more often, we talk about news stories (‘check out this link to npr’), pass along information (‘I made this YouTube video about my job’), share feelings (OMG, I’m sooooooo ready for 2011!’) and recap our day (‘Humiliated! I just hugged three people before realizing I forgot to cut the tags off my new sweater!’)
I have often said that what I love most about social media is the transparency it forces upon us. Hard to lie about getting that big promotion or exaggerate how cute your new boyfriend is, when everyone can check out your Linked In profile and Facebook photo albums and get the truth. But it also forces me to realize that transparency is not always the most polite option.
A pretty standard response. (So standard, in fact, that is is exactly the same response that RTG gives the next three customers who post on their wall… complaining about everything from cracking leather, warranties not being honored, broken furniture and bad customer service.) Each time, RTG promises to ‘look into it’ if you email them. It strikes me that there is rarely an apology, and NEVER an offer to contact the customer. Last time I checked, you can send a private message to a ‘fan,’ but RTG puts the burden on them to take further action if they want something done. Sorry, Rooms To Go, I’m pretty sure those customers thought they were “telling you” by letting you know on Facebook. I don’t think they should have to lodge a second complaint.
I should mention here that I hate Twitter. Really, I hate it. And if you asked why, I would tell you that it’s the social media channel that gets the most crap filtered through it. People use it just to toot their own horns, or to pass along an endless stream of links to articles from their Google alerts without ever actually ‘saying’ anything. Or – even worse – there are those people that say too much: posting every 90 seconds for hours at a time. My stream is filled with so much information on their favorite quotes, unusual sandwich order, or 3 paragraphs of musings on any topic, disseminated one sentence at a time, that I never get to hear from anyone else. It’s exhausting. And to be honest, (at the risk of making myself out to be a total social media outcast) whenever I reply to a tweet or actually care enough about something somebody wrote to send a direct message, the recipient almost never writes back.
My easy-to-navigate tabs disappeared at the top of the page and they were replaced by a paragraph of somewhat-meaningless facts about me – where I went to college, who I married, the languages I speak – and a filmstrip of pictures that were so weirdly cropped that it looked like some kind of artistic slide show of my various body parts. It was messy and cluttered – not to mention the fact that someone would have to look 3 inches down the page to see the really important stuff – like where I checked in from while Christmas shopping this morning, the three latest things I ‘like’ or how I feel about having to go back to work tomorrow.