Saturday, July 5, 2014

How much should you really care about online things?

Ages ago, at a party, I was chatting with a few people and we were all amazed that people took the internet so darned seriously. One was a psychiatrist and was amazed at the people that make endless "friends" online that they will never ever meet nor most likely would ever want to meet. Take Facebook as a prime example - I will bet that the vast majority of readers don't know most of their Facebook "friends". It's said that teenagers have an average of 600 Facebook "friends". How on earth does anybody have the time to remember all those names? If you can't remember their name and some pertinent details then they're not a friend!

I will ask one question - if Facebook was so great, how come most of the lawyers don't have personal Facebook accounts? Facebook is one of the biggest liability issues currently. To put it mildly, people are morons when they get online. Personal stuff is posted for all the world to see. Indeed my attorney friend said that Facebook was the biggest plus for his business. Guys would post pictures of themselves on a beach with their girlfriend when they were supposed to be at a business conference somewhere, for example. Great business for Family Law attorneys.

A few months ago, somebody wrote on their Facebook page that they were sorry to the person whose car they hit in a car park. Shortly after that they were arrested and jailed. Facebook is full of stupid people doing stupid things.

So, does it surprise anybody that I don't have a Facebook account? I had one and deleted it. Most of my friends don't use Facebook. We stay in contact through email, text messages and phone calls. I don't care at all for most of this online garbage.

Twitter - it's weird - I have no idea what this 140 character instant messaging is really all about. Sure - I use it to broadcast my blogs but the number of viewers I get... Very, very few from tweets. How much interaction do I get from Twitter - almost none. I had a discussion yesterday and a bit of today with somebody from Texas. Aside from that there is no interaction whatsoever. I just can't find many people on Twitter that actually respond to what I have to say so I just don't bother most of the time. Sure - I have several accounts - all of which are automated with automatic follower adders and automatic tweets. It all took a long time to set up and was pretty well worthless as I believe the tweets are all broadcasting to web bot accounts.

Is Twitter an advertising medium? Well, sure it is if you set it on automatic and walk away. The fact that 99% of people press "delete" on automated accounts is irrelevant to the social media marketer. It's like all those annoying adverts on YouTube and Android games. They get so annoying that if it's possible to block them, they're blocked and if not then they're no longer used. Twitter has been around for 11 years and has 255 million daily users. 90% of those users broadcast on automatic. I have 6 automated Twitter accounts that I don't even monitor - they have automatic follower adders, automatic tweets and send around 20 tweets a day each. On the rare occasions I go to see whether they're still working, I find hundreds of direct messages from bots trying to sell followers. At the last count I had around 14,000 followers.

So, is Twitter worthwhile? Not really - it's a handy way for people to get in contact if you run a website but that's about it. It's a way of getting contact without giving out an email address or phone number and it's very easy just to junk a Twitter account and start a new one. It's not something that it's really worth caring about - just like Facebook.

Does anything online really matter? Not really - the internet is just entertainment and that is all it is. As a directory of up-to-date information it's pretty useless. I can look up doctors and dentists and other professionals and find one page advertising their services and the next page telling me they have been struck off their professional registers or something else. I can ring the number and if the number works then I find the professional has moved away or is no longer in business. As a directory it's pot luck as to whether the information is accurate.

As an example, years ago, I tried to contact a dentist via an online form. There was no response. It turned out that, that particular dentist hadn't even connected their practice to the internet. There, online, was a contact form on one of the general websites that allowed for contact with just about any doctor/dentist.

Recently I looked at employment websites and wondered just how many of the applications actually arrived. In fact I'd been sending off applications via those general websites for a while with a zero response rate. Going back to the getting something for nothing idea, these general sites offer applications for no effort whatsoever - just like the general contact sites for doctors and dentists offer. The result is exactly the same. No responses whatsoever. The other day I chatted with a personnel officer and discovered that he had had several people in his office that day all swearing they had applied for jobs via general jobs websites. Not one of those applications had ever been received.

So, how much do I really care about online things? Very little in fact. The internet is not going to make me rich. The internet is not going to make me more popular. The internet is not going to get me a new or better job. The internet is not going to sell my books. The internet is not going to do anything but cost me money. So how much do you care about the internet? One would hope, no more than I care about it.

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