Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to Become Popular in One Easy Click!

Judging from my Facebook and Twitter accounts I can say that I must be one of the most popular people in the entire world. I have a massive amount of "friends" and "followers" (note religious connotations) and believe that I must be more popular than 97.4% of all people reading this blog right now. Bwa! Ha! Ha! Ha! Someday I will rule the world!

Yeah! I've made the big time! I have almost 1,000 friends on Facebook (OK, only 850 or so, but who's counting?) and over 1,000 friends on Twitter. Woo-hoo!

But, gee, I sometimes really wonder who these people are. I also wonder how many of those people I have actually met in person in my life? Also, I wonder how they got my Facebook address... Surely we must be friends. Facebook says so. Of that 800 or so, I reckon I must have met at least 500 of them, right? No? 400? 250? 50? 
Would you believe, two of them and their vicious canine walking in the neighborhood?

I have a very hard time with people's names. I've always had a hard time remembering names all my life. I think most people do. But it is especially difficult for westerners in Japan (and China, Korea, etc.) It's really difficult especially for people like me because of my work; because I meet lots and lots of people. I might go to a meeting at some company and there will usually be me and I'll be introduced to 13 Japanese staff at these meetings. After the meetings, I won't remember anyone's name excepting the pretty girls - and I even have a hard time with that.

The introductions will go something like this: I'll meet my contact. He'll take me into a meeting room and there will be 13 Japanese people there waiting for me. They will all stand up and get in a line to give me their business cards. My contact will say, 

"Mike-san, this is Mr. Yamada....Mr. Yamamoto... Ms. Sugimoto... Mr. Sugimura.... Ms. Murakami... Mr. Kamimura....Ms. Kawamura....Ms. Yamamura...Mr. Muraoka.... Ms. Sugiura... Mr. Tanaka....Ms. Takasugi...." and, of course, there will also be a token Suzuki or Kobayashi thrown in there....

(I think it is a Japanese law or something that every company must hire at least 10% of their staff being people with names like Suzuki or Kobayashi...)  

After getting all these people's names cards and bowing my head, I will sit down and, being none for the better, will have remembered not one single person's name excepting: "Mike." 

It's like those paintings of Jesus at the last supper. You know the name of the guy in the middle but no one knows the names of the other 12 dudes.

Author's rendition of the Last Business Meeting at 
Japanese Company. That's me in the middle.

It's kind of like my Facebook or Twitter accounts. Who are these people?

Fact of the matter is that I'm having a hard time dealing with Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and a group discount coupon service that is local here in Japan called Pompare. 

You might wonder why I join things like Facebook and Twitter. Well, my lame excuse is that because I work in marketing and the Internet business, I have to know what I'm talking about, so I joined these services. It's a sort of study. I need to know what they are all about and how to use them. I always bend the rules and see how far I can go before the suspend my account. Facebook has suspended me twice. Twitter hasn't suspended me ever (but that's OK as Twitter service is down and often unreliable anyway!) But I often find myself wondering why I even bother. 

From using these services, I often wonder what the reason is that many others joined too. Excepting that they are more interesting than TV... But that's nothing to brag about. I can get more entertainment out of a piece of bread and my toaster oven in one evening than I can get out of watching TV.

But, as usual, I digress...

First let me tell you about Pompare. Pompare is a crappy SPAM mailing system kind of like Groupon. Their business model revolves around sendng people SPAM in the hopes that they buy something. I think SPAM is a crappy way to do business and it shows with Groupon but at least Pompare has a portal where people can gather. That's why they will blow away Groupon in this country and why they aren't quite as bad as Groupon, but they still are a bit sucky.

They seem to be trying very hard to irritate me. 

Pompare, the group discount coupon service isn't really all that much trouble, I suppose. The problem is that no matter how many times I try to quit, they keep sending me emails. I've cancelled my membership now three times, but got another mail from them this morning.

Then there's Twitter. Why do people do Twitter? I think lots of people use Twitter like I do. I use Twitter to send out notices of original content and notices about stuff I've written at Lew Rockwell or this blog, or, perhaps for events. I see other people using Twitter to sell stuff and other junk.

I think a lot of people use Twitter and send out Tweets but does anyone really read Twitter? I doubt it. I also wonder what the value is of having, say, 35,000 people you follow and 35,003 people following you. It certainly cannot be a proof of popularity (especially since there's ads all over the place selling, "1000 Twitter followers for $14!" and things like that). Also, I mean, jeez, how could anyone be reading the Tweets of the 35,000 people that they are following? I can't even keep up on answering the emails from the 4 or 5 people who write to me everyday...

Here is my Top Ten referring sites to this blog. 
Do you see Twitter? Nope. Neither do I. 
Maybe I don't understand how this works? Help!

To make it clear, I believe many people use Twitter to send out messages and sell and promote, but I don't think very many actually take time to read Twitter. If people want to waste their time and read junk, then they'll use Facebook (actually, in Japan,  Facebook is an "also ran". The most popular of those sites in Japan are, Mixi, Gree, Mobage Town, etc.)  

Facebook also makes me scratch my head for many reasons. One, far too many people use Facebook far to often to link to some news article or editorial that they read on some other site. They don't link to some original content that they created or even pictures of them and their kid at a picnic or something. Why do they do that? I don't know. Can people's lives be so boring that they have nothing to write about? Since when was Facebook designed to use as a news aggregate site?

I use Facebook exactly like I use Twitter: To promote and draw readers to my useless blog. That's it. I don't want people knowing about my private life. I don't want to send people pictures of my son and me eating food at some festival in Japan. I only have only a handful of real friends in my life and that's it. I don't know where in the world all these people came from who are my "friends" on Facebook.

Maybe it was because of my job. When you work in the mass media and you intentionally work to build a cult of personality for yourself and your show and the members of your team and you want to "sell" and "promote" then, when you get requests from people to become "friends" then I have a hard time saying "No!" So, I always accept; it's just easier that way and I don't want to offend anyone....

But darned if almost every time I want to "add friend" (those few times) I get a message that says, "Do you know this user personally?" I even get these messages when I am recommended by someone who is my friend to become friends with that person.

This happens all the time. What's the point? If the receiver
doesn't want to "friend" me, then they deny or cancel, right?

Though, I must say, that the friend requests from girls who pose in their avatars showing lots of cleavage that look like they are selling prostitution services, well I always ignore them (of course, though, after checking their page!) I mean, what's the use in being a friend of a prostitute on Facebook fer chrissakes? I can understand being the friend of a prostitute in real life but in virtual world? I don't get it! Talk about blue balls!

So, now, if you look at my Facebook and Twitter, it looks like I am an extremely popular guy. Heck, I even have friends in Columbia and Brazil and the closest I've ever been to those places was Tijuana Mexico or the San Diego Zoo. I think I met a guy from Brazil once but he was a world famous soccer star named Zico or Rico or something like that so I doubt that he'd send me a Facebook friend request. (Heck, most soccer stars are too illiterate to even know how to use a keyboard or do the alphabet for that matter.)

I laugh when I see where on Facebook it says something like "you and so-and-so have ... mutual friends" and it shows a number. I think it should be more specific. It should be "mutual friends" and "real friends." It should say that "you and so-and-so have ... actual friends." And there would be a drop-down tab that would scroll up to five people in total and that would be it.

True friends will drop anything and travel to your side if you were in trouble and in need of help. Ninety-nine percent of all "friends" on Facebook, well on my Facebook at least, I don't ever recall meeting. You can bet that if you see someone's Facebook and it is like mine with several hundred friends, that we haven't met even a fraction of them and, if we walked past them on the street, or they us, we wouldn't recognize each other in a million years.

Facebook should have different categories: "Real Friends" (up to 5 ~10), "Friends" (maybe 20 or so), "Acquaintances" (maybe a few hundred), "People living on the same planet as you" (That would engulf 97.8% of all Facebook's current "Friends" category).   

I'm looking forward to the day when I can have my very own Facebook where no one can find me and I am the only one who can invite people into my own little world. I'd have about 4 or 5 dear friends and we can communicate heart to heart... Oh, wait a minute, we do have that. It's called email, the postal service or, even, that high tech wizardry know as a telephone. 

I'm wondering what is the purpose of this narcissistic Facebook type of nonsense that brags to the world look at me! I'm somebody! I have hundreds of friends!...

...Of which, 90% of those I don't ever remember meeting...

I am somebody. You are too. 100 ~ 5000 Friends on Facebook (the limit) means nothing. I'd rather have a core of 5 good friends who I can depend on in my life than 500,000 people whose faces I don't even recognize or they, me.

Instead of getting 100 virtual friends, get out of the house and try to make one real friend. Life is more important than sitting in front of a screen be it a TV screen or computer screen. 


Shawnesy said...

I'm one of those rare people that actually reads twitter. I use it to subscribe to people who usually post good articles or commentary that I would not likely find on my own.

Of course, that means I don't subscribe to celebrity-type gossip accounts, but why the hell would anyone with any substance to them do that?

As for Facebook, I use it mostly to keep up with family, friends, and acquaintances. A quick perusal through the news section every couple of days usually keeps me very well informed.

Marc Sheffner said...

Rant incoming. Don't like facebook. Can't figure out how to work it. Tried linking my blog to facebook: instructions say, "Go to the main Notes application page by typing "Notes" into the search box at the top of the screen.
Click the Import a blog link on the right side of the page."
Problem: there is no such link visible on my Notes page. So thanks very much.

Want to try and add Mike the Mad Marketeteer to my friends list. Click on "Find a friend". Do I get a search box where I can type in the person I'm looking for? Do I heck! I get the option to import my entire Skype contact list, or my entire Yahoo! address book, or my entire...
Eventually figured it out: to add a specific person, click on "Connection Search" in the LH menu bar (under "Find Friends"). See? To find a friend, don't click "Find friends" because that won't get you there.
Thanks for nothing, Facebook.

But... adding someone to my friends list means exposing them to the mindless mutterings of my existing friends. Do I want to inflict this? I pause, mouse over the "Add friend" button...

Twitter is more interesting because I subscribe to news sources and journalists and similar bloggers. The kinds of people who follow me (so far) have no similar interests. Why are they following me? Haven't a clue! No doubt they merely want to sell me something, tho no-one has bothered me as yet. Still, just recently stopped following a bunch of folks and enjoying life more as a result.

Rant over.

Anonymous said...

Cool guy writes, "I don't know where in the world all these people came from who are my "friends" on Facebook.

Maybe it was because of my job..."

For me it was due to your lewrockwell artilcles and from what you wrote on your blog. I want to be keyed in to People like yourself, plus, it's like having your own personal on-the-ground reporter for when SHTF and you cannot rely upon official reports.

Facebook is also good for distributing phamplets,... until you get blocked anyway.

Also, I've been to Tijuana too, I found it to be a very fun time and I miss it.

Haven't Twittered yet, probably never will.

- clark

Maybe someday we'll meet? Then it will be real,... just like you and G.W. Bush? HAHAHA

Marc Sheffner said...

Who's the dude with the smirk?

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