Social Networking – When it Sucks

I joined Google+ last week as an experiment. Not as a substitute for FB, which I avoid like the plague, but as a possibly sensible alternative. Should have known better. I’m on the verge of killing my account. It’s the usual crap of learning that someone has picked you to be a “friend” or a circle member, accepting, and finding that despite the particular circle they’ve added you to (NaNoWriMo), most of what comes through is yada yada about nothing at all. Add to that, getting that yada from people who’ve added you and you haven’t added them. So you delete them. Easy enough, but eventually, that’s going to turn into a royal pain. I prefer sites where people have to ask your permission to friend you, and if you refuse, you don’t ever hear from them again.

What it comes down to, is that I have a fairly limited range of interests that I spend my time on or want to hear about from other people. On large, unspecialized, come one, come all, social networking sites, you can waste a lot of time fending off people who want to be your friend for their own reasons, which really have nothing to do with you as an individual. Supposedly, participation on these sites are absolutely necessary if you’re going to get anywhere as a writer. To that, I say B! S!

Among the reasons for not participating: Any personal information you give out will be used in ways that you have no control over. Terms for usage change constantly, and you can find yourself sh-t out of luck if you’ve inadvertently violated one of those conditions and lose your account. Despite the opportunities to defriend, block, ignore, set up exclusive circles, etc., you have very little real control over who contacts. Last, they’re colossal timesucks for people who just have to keep up with every little detail of their ongoing lives, and the cost/benefit ratio is not worth it.


9 thoughts on “Social Networking – When it Sucks

  1. The only social networking site I’m on now is G+. Even so, I haven’t been there in nearly a month. When I was on FB and Twitter, I wasn’t pestered by unwanted attention, but maybe that’s because I’m not one of the cool kids. I’m happy with G+ right now, but if it turns into FB, I’ll leave.

    1. One of the things that bothers me, and it’s not just G+, is an element of mindlessness in the software. If I bring up all the recommendations for who to add to a circle, it includes the URLs of comments from WordPress. So not only is Google tracking what goes on here, it’s treating comments like people and adding them.

      I have the same gripe about the book recommendations on Goodreads. If I read a significant number of books in any genre, it throws more at me, regardless of whether they have even the tiniest similarity to what I’ve read.

      Luckily, I can ignore all recommendations. And I do. But i still haven’t figured out how to block book recommendations from people I’m “friends” with on GR. It’s all those notices that you’ve been offered invites, recommendations, etc., that turn into the straw that breaks this camel’s back. Trying to figure out how to turn them off is a waste of my time, and finding out that they *can’t* be turned off makes me want to spit nails.

  2. Oh yeah, I forgot about GR, I guess I’m on GR too. I hadn’t been on in so long I forgot about it. I just now updated my GR and I still don’t have enough activity / friends / books to get “personalized recommendations.” So I haven’t a clue how to turn that off.

  3. I completely agree with you on both Google+ and social media in general. I’m on GR, but I hate it. I never go there except to accept friend invitations from people when those e-mails come through. So I’m GR friends with people, but I’m never there… I don’t know what the point it. It’s FB for readers, and a lot of them are kind of snippy readers, too. I have enough issues with FB. I don’t need more drama in my life… 🙂

    1. I like GR, except for the new recommendations feature and how difficult it can be to figure out how to stop getting various kinds of notices. I have my two novels listed, plus I have a decent-sized library. I write reviews now and then, and appreciate that my opinions are shared by at least a few other people. I do use the site for finding new books to read, but depend on reviews and on what people in my friend’s list are reading. For me, it’s comfortable because it focuses on books. If you don’t like to read, there’s no point in being there, so that weeds out a lot of drama. Not that people can’t create drama there, if they’re intent on it.

  4. Perhaps, the words ‘social’ and ‘friend’ should be dead-give-aways to us. I’m not interested in tea parties, and it takes something for me to use the word friend and mean it. The fluffy and polite conversation is an intolerable bore.

    But I do keep looking for that elite group with words of enlightenment, wisdom and honesty. I’ve heard rumors about them, but I’m still looking…. I’m beginning to think they’re only a cyber-myth.

    I keep clinging to you, because you tell it like it is, without a whole lot of la-dee-da. Quite often, when I read your blog, I find myself shaking my head in agreement and grinning.

    1. I can’t claim enlightenment or wisdom, but honesty you’ll get from me, every time. Plus my skewed outlook on the world. Much thanks for that encouragement.

      Those elite groups are undoubtedly a cyber-myth. I’ve been on the web a long time and haven’t run into one yet.

  5. Agree about Social Networking sites in general Catana. The problem is, with books being so aligned to electronic (Internet) distribution how can you avoid them? It’s the only game in town for inexpensive and wide reaching promotion. But it’s really a bit like flogging books on a street corner (because there are fewer bookshops to sell them in) and meeting your average ‘Joe Public’.

    In my experience I’ve had very few problems with FB, Twitter, Goodreads and recently G+. Except for a few clowns who think I’ll buy their damn book if they pester me enough. ‘Click! Blocked!’

    However, I need my name out there, so privacy in that sense is not an issue for me. As I live in a non-English speaking country, social media is by far my best avenue for attracting readers.

    1. There’s certainly no avoiding social networking unless you’re willing to be a hermit (not very good for hopeful authors), but we need to be aware of the drawbacks. Absolutely necessary: selectivity about where and how you socialize, and protection of those aspects of your life that are nobody’s business.

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