Confessions of a Facebook Snob

Posted on June 11, 2012. Filed under: social media | Tags: , , |

Facebook job searchI’ve decided it is time for me to make a confession: I’m not much of a hugger.

In fact, I’m a hugging snob.

I don’t know if it is because I am an introvert at heart, cold-hearted, mean, stand-offish, shy, insensitive, prudish, or just plain evil, but I really can’t help it. I am just selective about my hugs!

(I promise this really does have a point, and it has to do with Facebook!)

In my mind, a hug should mean something, and personally, I find it to be intimate. When I hug my husband, it is very special to me. When I hug my daughter, there is no greater thing. When I hug a close friend or family member, I see it as a sign of a bond we share. We’re close.

So when someone I just met or just happens to be in the same room with me (or attends the same function as I did) wants to hug me, I can’t help it, I cringe a bit. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in getting to know him or her. It doesn’t mean I don’t “care” about him or her as a human being.

I’m sorry (OK maybe not that sorry).

I just kind of like my personal space, and I’m fussy about who I let in it.

What’s so bad about that? A lot of things, apparently.

This dislike for hugging causes me a lot of issues with people because even though I don’t want to be rude and still hug the person back when he or she reaches out or leans in, I can tell the other person can tell I don’t really want to do it. No matter how much I try to fake it.

So, inevitably, I can sense their scorn.

They feel snubbed. Period. And I am left wondering whether I should sit down and explain my hugging policy or just let them feel scorn toward me. More often than not, I choose the latter.

I walk away wondering when and where hugging became such a requirement. (I mean, what is so wrong with a handshake, a smile, an interesting get-to-know you conversation first? In most cases, people don’t even know how to pronounce my name correctly, and yet they want to hug. I have a somewhat odd name to pronounce “Sheree” [Shureee; not Sherry]. Why can’t we get that down first?)

Now, for extroverts and those who just get high off of hugs,

I know what you are probably thinking. If you are like my charismatic friend, who becomes family to everyone she meets within about 5 seconds, you think I am way overthinking it. What’s the big deal? Most people like a hug. They want to be connected or reconnected, and a hug does it for them. It makes them feel welcome. For some, hugs could even be the answer to world peace. (Certainly, many cultures see hugging and kisses on the cheek as signs of welcome.)

To which I reply, for me, it just isn’t authentic. I’m not trying to shun you, in fact, quite the opposite. I am trying to respect your space and mine until we get to know each other a bit. Besides, maybe I have coffee breath or something…OK? (Or maybe I just really need therapy!)

That’s where Facebook comes in. I basically feel the same way about Facebook.

I know that as a social media user and one who coaches people on how to use social media effectively in their job search, I am probably supposed to tell you all the reasons why you should love social media.

And I can/will.

BUT when it comes to Facebook, in particular, well, I’m just a snob.

And quite frankly, I think you should be one too EVEN if it means subjecting yourself to scorn, ridicule, and attacks on your personal character.

I joined Facebook reluctantly. I saw the value in LinkedIn right away. Shake hands and stay in touch/meet up on a professional level (let’s not pretend to be what we’re not). Twitter, even with its crazy streaming, made a lot of sense to me because I could see how like-minded people who would not likely meet any other way could network/share information. No hugging necessary (unless, of course, you attend a TweetUp; someone will likely expect a hug there; thus, it will come as no surprise that I have yet to attend one).

But Facebook, well, that gave this hugging snob hives.

Within hours of signing up, people I hadn’t see since high school were surrounding me. (I could feel their collective arms around me!) At first it was nice to catch up and see how everyone was doing, but you know, most reunions end with everyone going back home to their real lives, the ones they worked so hard to build after high school. With Facebook, it is like you bring the reunion with you everywhere you go. It’s one big hug fest disguised with “likes” and daily notices steeped in either nothingness or despair.

Now, I have read blog after blog about the importance of Facebook marketing to a business (I think Facebook business pages are great), and about how Facebook can be helpful for a job seeker. And I won’t argue that there are some merits to that. I will argue, however, that opening yourself up to anyone who has ever met you (or barely met you) and receiving their relationship status updates is, well, creepy.

Some things are just better left unsaid.

Finally, I started asking myself, “how many of these people even really know me?” “How many would I want to come to my home and eat dinner with me?” I mean, after all, I am sharing pictures of my daughter with them and swapping parenting war stories. If I wouldn’t invite you to dinner (and vice versa), why are we FB friends?

So, in one swoop, I “dumped” 150 people! It was so liberating (you should try it!), and my Facebook experience became so much more effective. Now when I post something, the people who respond are the ones who have a real connection with me. They know how to pronounce my name. They have seen me in real life and know that I am not the same person I was at 18, 22, 32. They understand that just because I’m selective with my hugs doesn’t mean I’m not a good friend. And when I need something from them, like help with a job search, they will step up and do their best (and vice versa).

It might not bring me the best Klout score, for sure.

And my dumped friends might call me a snob (or worse!). But at least it’s a quality network and I know who my “real” FB friends are. Do you? (If so, well, maybe you should go and give them a…hug!)

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FB, Twitter, LI, Oh My! Is All This Social Networking Worth It?

Posted on February 5, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , , , , , |

social networkingby Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

Suddenly, or maybe not so suddenly, social networking is everywhere. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter…and more like them are popping up daily. It seems that we are craving the need to speak to one another virtually. Never mind that we have cell phones, e-mail, IM, and text messaging, we seem to need these sites too.

I recently joined the Twitter craze and the Facebook craze. When I became Facebook “friends” with my neighbor down the street, he remarked (on my wall, of course), “Oh good…now we can keep in touch.” Now we can? The fact that we pass each other every day walking our dogs and driving our kids to soccer practice apparently now pales in comparison to being friends on Facebook.

I have to admit…it is a head-scratcher for me as to why this is such a craze, but craze it is, and now it is taking over the job search realm as well.

On the one hand, I’m relieved. Maybe now we can certainly prune off those ineffective job search boards and whittle it down to just the ones that actually post real jobs with real people at the other end of the Submit button. And God knows that for years us career pros have been shouting “networking” at the top of our lungs to job seekers. Furthermore, who can argue against the logic in building up a network of professional contacts in LinkedIn?

Certainly everyone seems excited by the possibility…dare I say “hope”…that these sites seem to bring to the job seeker. Now that I am on Twitter, I certainly see enough “tweets” going on about it.

So why am I a bit skeptical? Why do I get that uneasy feeling?

1. There are two key rules to conducting effective networking: tact and timing. If you go on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and spend all your time (and it definitely takes time) building up your friends, contacts, fellow tweets, whatever, only to beg them to help you find a job, you probably aren’t going to get far. On Facebook, your high-school and college friends want to talk about what silly things their kids are doing and post old, embarrassing photos of you. On Twitter, you need to be just the right balance of sociable and aggressive to get people to even follow you or respond to you. (You need to find as many witty things as you can to say in 140 characters about what you are doing right now.) On LinkedIn, it is certainly OK to be more open about things, but generally you need to stay professional and make yourself sound as employed as possible (even though you are looking for a job).

2. I touched on this in #1, but it bears more discussion here. These sites are extreme time-suckers…an hour is like a minute and two hours is like a minute and a half. Don’t get me wrong. They can be entertaining and certainly enjoyable, but you need to be careful that all your time isn’t sucked up by them. Resumes still need to get out the door. Phone calls still need to be made. If you don’t watch out, they can give you the illusion that you are doing something toward your job search, when in fact little progress is really being made.

So does that mean I am against them? No, it just means that you need to be careful with them. A little too social, and you will walk away with lots of great tidbits about your friends, but you will have very little to show for it on the job search front. A little too aggressive on the job search side, and you will walk away without any friends.

Of course, all of that has been true for face-to-face networking as well. The difference here is that this type of networking is 24/7 and everywhere, so it makes those issues even more exaggerated in this arena. As a small business owner offering services in this same scene, I am well aware of the causalities in not getting the balance right.

That is why I am so much in favor of group job hunting, both in person (be it local groups, etc.) and online. In these settings, everyone is there for the same person, and the discussion is to the point. Job seekers can put their noddles together, swap leads and resumes, share advice, and so on. And no one is irritated that you are looking for a job.

I am a big believer that job seekers should try all kinds of ways to look for a job and should be aware of and focus the majority of their precious time and resources on those tactics that are the most effective. With that said, give Facebook and Twitter your all, but remember that there are other avenues as well, like group job hunting, that offer you more productive discussions and contacts.

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