I was never in it to rack up numbers anyway. My goal was and is conversation, not reach. I also don't mind the amount of time it takes to interact with my SM community even though it often takes more than I expected to spend.
No, my problem is that the prize isn't currently worth the price. My cost-benefit ratio is off. I'm irritated and annoyed too often. Sometimes, I'm actually angry. There may or may not be an upward limit on how many people one can legitimately befriend/follow/interact with, but too many of my folks aren't holding up their end of the bargain I thought we were making.
I want conversation. I want reciprocity. I want to read interesting, humorous, intelligent updates and click on thought-provoking, well written articles and blog posts. I want to be acknowledged and treated courteously.
I don't want to be bored. I don't want to be told the same thing 20 times. I don't want to feel obliged to read back in time to make sure I haven't ignored a friend, knowing and resenting that the friend has never once extended the same courtesy to me.
I don't want friends who recommend sophomoric or banal content. I don't want to read the work of writers who are evidently unaware that "it's" and "its" are not interchangeable, who think "lot's" is a word, who don't know the difference between "affect" and "effect," who can't spell. (I'm not talking about typos; I'm talking about people who "die" their hair or seek "resoprosity.")
In short, I want intelligent, interesting friends and requited friendships. Not numbers, not users, not talkers who never listen, not nonstop profferers of the self-congratulatory social media Kool-Aid, and not illiterates.
But wait. Who the heck do I think I am?
In social media, as in life, there's no percentage in holding other people to my personal rules of engagement. For one thing, it's not fair. One size doesn't (and doesn't have to) fit all. For another, no one died and made me king. Other people aren't wrong by reason of not defining friendship the same way I do. They're absolutely entitled to their own definitions, their own rules of engagement. The only person I get to be in charge of is me.
As I see it, I have three choices:
- I can roll my eyes and wonder what's wrong with people. Resent them for not having the kind of manners, writing style, intellectual sophistication or attention to detail I'd consider ideal. Feel ignored, unacknowledged and taken for granted as I meticulously read everything they offer even when it's obvious they are not doing the same in return. [Insert loud "Wrong Answer" buzzer sound effect here.]
- I can accept people as they are. Enjoy what they do bring to the party. Adjust my expectations and meet them on their terms. [Ding, ding, ding.]
- If my crowd includes people whose terms I can't manage to meet without excessive teeth-grinding and tongue-biting, I can walk away. Social media is to friendship what Las Vegas is to blackjack tables; it's always possible simply to get up and move to a more agreeable and satisfying table. [Ding, ding, ding, ding.]
So I'm culling my list. No judgment, no hard feelings - it's just a matter of placing the responsibility for tailoring my experience squarely where it belongs. On me.