Biting the Digital hand that feeds.

A long time ago Jonathan Richman said ‘I’m in love with the modern world’. It took me a while to get there, but these days I’m inclined to agree. It seems like anything is possible. The reach, immediacy, democracy and DIY aspects of the multiple Digital Platforms allow anyone who wishes to engage to build a profile and acquire a reputation.

But I’m becoming a bit disenchanted with some of the trends I see. Cue a rant of sorts hereunder – so what YOU think – if you read it I’d like your views. So without further ado – eight things I hate about Digital

1. What should it be called? Is it really ‘Social’? To me, Social is what you do with your mates. Facebook seems (generally) to be accepted as ‘private/personal’ and after that, pretty much everything is fair game. I don’t get the phrase ‘social business’. And I’m not sure why this bugs me as much as it does, but some clarity would be welcomed. Warming up and moving on to…

2. SPAM. I’m sorry but a huge amount of what I see these days is beautifully packaged marketing spam. It seems like the phrase ‘tweets are my own’ has gone out of fashion. I understand everyone’s desire to draw attention to interesting content – and yes, I do this myself too from time to time. But surely you can at least preface the link with a comment like ‘I read this and I thought it offered some valuable insights’. I know you may run out of Twitter characters but be inventive.  I especially hate the spam that says ‘Mega problem, but ONLY I have the solution’. Grrr. Also – retweet sparingly – do you just want to be someone’s mouthpiece?

3. Why EXACTLY do you want to connect with me on LinkedIn? If you do, could you not have taken five seconds and a few words to tell me why? Because I probably wont want to ‘accept’ unless you do. If Ernest Hemingway could write a short story in six words (check it out, he did) could you not explain briefly what you feel connects us? Even if it’s just because you feel sorry for me and I have no friends. I accept pity 🙂

4. Back to profiling. Tell me something about yourself. There is a person there (hopefully) with hopes, dreams, hobbies, issues and hang-ups. I’m way more likely to listen to what you say, and less inclined to think you are a spammer if you let me in, even a little. Joey Barton has 2.4m followers on Twitter. He offers opinions, regularly. These two facts are connected. I think this is straying into the territory called ‘the courage to be imperfect’ but all the evidence says that imperfect humans are more engaging.

5. I don’t like it when many people I follow on Twitter or who I am connected with recycle the same item within an hour of each other. Sure, its possibly interesting, but only the first time. Spam alert.

6. Straying briefly into e-mail territory (it may be the first generation of Digital, but it’s not going away anytime soon), why oh why do people not fear the ‘reply to all’ button? I get it if there are four people on a mail, but when it’s obviously a mass circulation job then WHY ‘reply to all’? Do you really think I need to know that you can attend the meeting/call?

7. Back on Twitter, a few neuroses around following. If someone follows me, do I need to reciprocate as a matter of course? If I don’t, will they be hurt or think I’m a snob? If I ‘unfollow’, is it tantamount to an insult? Or am I just saying ‘I’ve moved on, we’ve drifted apart, it’s not you, it’s me’? I’m sure someone has probably written an entire book on this subject by now….

8. Finally (and these are not in any particular order btw) please put a picture of yourself in your profiles? I can live without a professional head shot and I’d frankly prefer not to see you out of control in a bar in Ibiza. But if I knew what you looked like I think I’d be less inclined to worry about where our long distance relationship might go. Or not (I can always unfollow).

Coming soon – a number of things I really LIKE about Digital. Somehow I feel a burden lift, having purged myself of the above accumulation of gripes….


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