We live in a very interesting time when it comes to personal interaction. In a world of Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and other such measurements of our social status, we can falsely believe that the number of followers or friends is some real indication of our importance. It’s easy in this context to start basing our posts on the reaction we’ll get.
The difference between my Twitter audience and the one I have on Facebook is very intriguing to me. I could post something on Facebook and get 30 comments, 210 likes and a couple of shares, then post that same thing on Twitter to no response. I could boast that I have over 1300 Twitter followers, but I wouldn’t be fooling anyone. Yes, the number of followers looks good, but the level of interaction I experience on Twitter is close to zero. In fact, the couple of people that do respond to anything I post are also friends who reply on Facebook, so I would have still gotten something back from them either way.
Lately I’ve been doing an experiment just to test whether I’m posting stuff to get a response. I guess you could say I’m performing a self-check on my motives on social media. Knowing that I would get a response to something on Facebook, I made the deliberate decision to post it on Twitter instead. If something was still worth saying, even when I knew for almost certain that no one was going to see it or say anything about it, then it went up on the site where I appear to talk to myself. The results were surprising.
Some of my best material the past couple of weeks has gone out to an unresponsive audience. I know that some of the clever things I posted during this time would have gotten me massive hits of dopamine from all of the likes and comments on Facebook had I posted it there to an interactive audience. But instead I threw these pearls down an empty hallway and received nothing in return. I’ve realized just how much I say for the sake of earning approval or even stirring up controversy.
What does this say about my character and my motives? What does this say about me as a person? What does this say about my interactions with other people and maybe even my relationships? It leaves me to wonder. What would you say on social media if no one was going to react? What would you share? How much of what you’re putting out there is to receive praise or approval? What would you change?