Last week a middle-aged social media consultant whose name I won't share (but which rhymes with "This Boor")—divulged to his 4,364 Facebook friends that people just aren't quite measuring up these days:
You know what I find odd. How many times I invite people to my house, my events and other activities and how infrequently it is reciprocated. … I forget how self centered and eogistical people are. Maybe it's a good thing that this surprises me, that I have faith in humanity and our sense of community. But I am more mature now and don't have time for people's immature or petty bs. It's not that I'm jaded per se, but I am taking a close look at who I consider to be my friend and expect that list to see a drastic reduction before summer is over.
I get this is my own unique challenge because I care about other people deeply and not everyone can reciprocate, because I give a lot to others without asking or expecting much in return, but of late the welcome mat has been worn thin. …
I always knew that healing the world would be tough work, I just misunderestimated the personal toll it would have on my soule and psyche.
Most shocking about this post is that none of his Facebook friends replied to it critically. Likely, they were too self-centered and egotistical to bother.
Well, I guess I just care about other people too deeply—and am too dedicated to healing the world—to let a post like this go. On behalf of every single one of the social media consultant's friends, I write this open letter:
Though it's kind of the first thing a social media consultant should know, you've left me to break it to you: People think about themselves from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed. (And then until they wake up again, they dream about themselves.) This self-centeredness afflicts serial killers and social workers, animal rescuers and elephant poachers, New York City firemen and social media consultants.
In the course of thinking about themselves, people often think of others. They value some human qualities over others, but generally, they think well of people who think well of them, and ill of people who don't.
As for "reciprocating," that's a tricky one. You start keeping score on people, and you open yourself to people keeping score on you. Try to imagine what would happen in your social media consultant brain if someone invented software that would tally the number of people whose bogus promotional posts you have "Liked," but who have not "Liked" your bogus promotional posts. Your social media consultant brain would go up in electrical smoke. (As my mother used to say—about everything—"It's not a contest.")
You sound like the guy who doesn't have a girlfriend these days, and complains that women only go for jerks, rather than the nice guys like you. Except, you have more than four thousand girlfriends. And now you're calling us a bunch of shallow bitches. I'm no social media consultant, but that does not seem to me to be a good social media strategy.
Whatever you thought you were doing with this post, I'm sure it's not consistent with any spiritual or humanist philosophy. Perhaps in a prolonged caffeine frenzy, you made all these "Friends." Now you find us overwhelming and draining. Hey, the best four thousand friends in the world can make a fellow feel that way! This is on you, Bub. And if you want to pare down the grandiose social life you have made, you should go about it quietly.
Feel free to start with me.