Dear friends and followers, your patience is requested

Do you remember times when your social life seemed complicated and overwhelming?  Perhaps in those early grade school years, and then again in high school and college?  Friendships and social networks could provide you with satisfying highs and depressing lows.  These were times where we awkwardly needed to figure out who our friends were, how much time did they require from us, and did we need to do everything they did?  Our self-esteem and happiness were held in a delicate balance based on the perceptions of others and how we felt we fit in.

Photo: Pexels

Despite many grey hairs and not being able to do a cartwheel without feeling ill, the age of 40 was great – it was freeing from this social pressure…or so I thought.  I had finally let go of friendships that weren’t comfortable, and I did so without guilt.  I focused on smaller social circles that I could manage in a more productive way, for example people in my neighbourhood, and people who were engaged with us at a family level. 

But had I achieved this contentment in my new social network – on platforms such as Facebook?  Engaging in these platforms seemed like starting from scratch again.  It took time to get over the idea that more was better.  I didn’t need to accept every friend request.  If I had no intention of communicating with that person from high school in a social setting, why did I need them on Facebook?  And the reverse seemed to be true as well.  I recall the sting of realizing that some people just wanted to see what I was doing or how life “turned out”, or perhaps I was just adding to their friend statistic.

Over time, I decided what worked for me. I cut down my network to close friends and family – to a group I was comfortable with and felt I could reciprocate with.  Having too many people connected to me made me feel like I was creating a circle I could never really keep up with.  Perhaps here was the problem – I couldn’t distinguish the expectations of my in-person network to my online network.  Of course those Facebook friends didn’t all expect a dinner invite, but if they were engaged in my life online, what were their expectations? 

Photo: Pexels

From a professional perspective, LinkedIn is still a challenge for me.  Yes, you will find me there, but what do you want to see from me other than my “online resume”?  Should I be posting interesting articles?  But if I do, am I honestly sharing them because I think my network will enjoy them or am I just trying to look active and engaged?  In all honesty, the latter is probably true. 

My online social network is a work in progress, but isn’t everything?  Any tips and lessons you’ve experienced with your own social media network is greatly appreciated!

Facebook and Twitter:  Online friendship – what expectations apply?

5 thoughts on “Dear friends and followers, your patience is requested

  1. What a great blog. I can relate on so many levels. I still fret over how many friends I have on Facebook. I have to remind myself on my Instagram account that it’s OK to decline a request, especially if I don’t know who they are. It is definitely still a work in progress and I feel that as long as we keep learning, trying and not giving up we will continue succeed. You have me beat, I haven’t even tried Link In yet, not ready yet. LOL Good Luck.

    • I am struggling with starting an Instagram account myself, I think I still need to consider what my objective for it is. I love that we are all learning and figuring it out:)

  2. I really liked your blog. It’s wonderful that you’ve culled your social media presence to those that really matter in your life. It’s a very healthy thing to do. I see some people that supposedly have over 1000 friends. How can they possibly actually KNOW that many people?
    I have had a LinkedIn profile for years, but I’ve always thought of it as almost an after thought. However, when I’ve been in the position of hiring, I do find I look at someone’s LinkedIn profile. That tells me I really need to step up my game on that platform. And I will be applying some of the lessons I learned about personal branding to my profile. As you said, it’s a work in progress just like us!

    • I like to hear the perspective on LinkedIn from the position of hiring – that gives me motivation to want to put some more effort there – thank you!

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