DO I KNOW YOU?
by Norm Stachulski
With the rise in social media outlets over the past few years, the “Millennials” have an unnecessary need to be connected at all times to people they hardly know—or flat-out don’t know at all. With things like Facebook, Google+, Skype, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and the various hundreds of other applications, it’s a wonder how we still manage to hold down a day job. Checking your Twitter feed between making a caramel Frappuccino and a venti-mocha-frappa-whatever—it’s all just part of the routine now.
But what about your friends that don’t fall victim to this norm? We all have those friends. They’ve long since deleted or never had any of these online profiles and essentially have no online footprint. We forget their birthday without the Facebook reminder; we have no idea what they had for lunch without the Instagram photo; and we can’t tell our followers to #FF or “Follow Friday” them. Sure we still text, but doesn’t it seem weird? I mean, what do they do all day?
Truthfully, they probably have it right. With today’s job market in crisis, employers are looking to get the best bang for their buck. Oftentimes running your name through a simple Google search. Have you run your name? Try it now, I’ll wait…
See? With a few clicks you more than likely found a photo of yourself drunk or half naked, at a friend’s party last year. It’s hard to escape that reality anymore.
Our digitally focused culture isn’t entirely negative though. I can accomplish more in my time spent awake than ever before. I’ve replaced time spent in front of a TV with news sites, YouTube and other forward-thinking media.
The problem lies in the fact that we don’t really know with whom we share all of our supposedly private information. We should focus more on the quality of our connections instead of the quantity. For instance, I can recall the time a friend in Chicago re-blogged yet another “pro weed” post, but I have no idea how my “no social media” friend’s family is doing.
Only over the past few months have I realized that my “friends” are an equal mix of people that I actually know in the real world, and those I know only online. I’ve made some great connections through social media and often use it to market myself, but does who I’m friends with count against me? Will seeing that I’m friends with an avid drug user affect my chances at landing the job I want? Will seeing I’m friends with the Mayor help my chances? The simple click of a button can potentially cause a butterfly effect throughout my online presence and flush this job down the tube.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I went to a kid’s birthday party a few weeks ago and watched while my son ran around talking to all the other kids, as kids will do. I stood off to one side scrolling my phone’s Facebook app as young adults do. I noticed a woman there who I’m friends with online. I’ve liked tons of her photos and she’s commented on many of my updates and statuses but we made no attempt to say hello in real life. A day before this, if someone asked me if I knew her, I would have said, “Yeah, she’s a friend of mine.” But she isn’t. Browse through your friends list, you have these people too!
So, how do we draw the line? When does it become too much? Cutting back on the people we share with is crucial. Purge the unnecessary—delete the profiles you don’t use. Don’t even lie; some of you still have a Myspace profile that you haven’t logged in to since the Carolina Hurricanes lifted the Stanley Cup. Delete it! Imagine your online presence as a diary, a diary your kids may one day find. How do you want to be remembered?
At the end of the day, rethink before posting that photo of you with a Bud Light can; run through your friends lists and remove the people you don’t know; and for god’s sake, switch your phone on silent and spend some time with your friends and family.
But then again, what do I know?