DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG Entry #8: Why I Shut People Out….No, I mean why I’m a little particular about who I connect with on (some) social media sites. What did you think I meant?

Awkward Connections

DON’T WANNA READ? THEN LISTEN!:

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin.”

Okay, so I may not have the best social skills in the world (as outlined by my fourth audioblog entry). Having said that, in spite of my disability, I put in the effort, even when it’s not that easy for me. So, to be perfectly honest with you, those first eleven words that I began my audioblog with are, hands-down, the words that annoy me most on a regular, day-to-day basis in social media. In case you don’t recognize it, this is the stock message that you can send to someone when you want to connect with them on Linkedin. It’s a bland, lifeless, and kind of awkward message that Linkedin provides for people who don’t want to bother to write out an actual reason for their connection.

So, my simple question is…”Is that all ‘ya got?”

Lord knows that there’s business to be had with connections. Connecting with the right agents, the right clients…heck, connecting with the right voice actors, even if you never meet them in person, can work wonders through the exchange of information that can be gained through good discussion. I’ve had the opportunity to “meet” some great voice actors entirely through the internet. I’m hesitant to name names because I’m afraid that I’ll forget some–which would lead to awkward emails–but suffice to say, I truly do love the VO community. If you know where to go, you’ll find some of the friendliest, most knowledgeable, most giving, and most informed people–who will be more than happy to give you their opinion on the industry, whether it’s friendly and informative or grim but honest.

So why not appreciate that by giving a reason for your connection? Why attempt to make connections with people that are not going to make use of the connection in any way, shape, or form? I hate to pick on the stock invitation for Linkedin, but in my mind it is that eleven-word phrase that sums up what annoys me most about connecting for no reason. ‘Cause think about it for a sec. If you were going about your daily business in real life, would you ever respond positively to something like this?

“Hey man.”

“Oh, hey, how you doi–”

“I’m doin’ fine, so I can I say that I know you?”

“Well, why?”

“Well ya’ know, uh…just ’cause.”

That’s the “conversation” that I hear every single time in my head when somebody just sends the stock Linkedin invitation. It doesn’t send me into a furious rage, not by any means. It’s just…a tad annoying.

For the record, I’m not saying that one has to know the people they’re connecting with like they’re siblings. Like I said, I’ve met some wonderful people online who, in the interest of honesty, I probably will never meet in real life purely because of geographic distance. The other day I got an invitation from somebody I’ve never met who simply wrote…

“Thank you for posting [your audioblog entry] ‘Aiming From the Hip.’ I enjoyed listening to your read. Incidentally, you are quite correct regarding how an officer aims for his target. However, not unlike the Fictional Western Hero, the officer is merely hoping to hit …something.

Best,
      Eric Anderson”

Okay, so, first and foremost–thank you, Eric Anderson! 🙂

Secondly, see how simple that was? I’ve never met Eric, and–again, purely for geographic reasons–probably won’t. In spite of that, he offered to connect with me on Linkedin because he was thankful for me posting a blog entry that he enjoyed (I KNEW officers aimed from eye level!). Gestures like that, simple and short as they are, are all I’m asking for, especially on business-related social media sites like Linkedin.

However, the more observant among you may have noticed that the title of this audioblog entry was “(some)” social media sites, and that’s not a typo. When I was just learning about social media with regard to business, I learned that there are, in essence, two possible strategies: connect with as many people as you can to form a vast, wide web of connections, or connect with select, targeted people for specific reasons to cultivate fewer but stronger connections. I tried out the former with Twitter, following a lot of different people so long as they were involved in some sort of media production according to their profiles.

Honestly, in hindsight, I think that was a huge mistake. I’m following thousands of people who didn’t follow me back, and whom I’ve never gonna correspond with. And to top it off, if I get followed by a deal finder from Finland one more time, I’m considering legal action against the Finnish government. At this point, I’m convinced that all those “deal finders” are part of an elaborate spying process, and I got what I deserved for all my mindless following when my Twitter account was…hacked…by somebody offering weight loss solutions. Again, I blame the Finnish government.

Oh, and uh, yeah…if you got one of those tweets from me, sorry…that wasn’t me.

Anyways. I have come to find that I value actual, legitimate connections in social media, not “numbers of followers/friends/people I’m connected to.” Even if the connections are fairly simplistic, I also love meeting new people online, hearing their thoughts, and discussing the industry with them. So by all means, if you want to connect with me, or any other voice actor for that matter, go ahead and do so…just remember to say why.

PS: Thanks again to Eric Anderson for allowing me to use his invitation as an example. While you guys are at it, check out his website here!

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15 thoughts on “DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG Entry #8: Why I Shut People Out….No, I mean why I’m a little particular about who I connect with on (some) social media sites. What did you think I meant?

  1. Hi Dave,

    I loved your audio blog on connections through social media sites. And yes, I will take the time to tell you why. I too ponder the value of the too often strongly encouraged “get as many followers and connections as you can” mentality.

    I agree wholeheartedly that while I AM trying to build a platform being the high-vibe kind of chick that I am, the relevance of my connections matters more to me than the number.

    This may not be true for the agent who is considering me as a VO talent or the future publisher whom I hope will pick up my in-progress serio-comedic memoir, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    The other reason I liked your audio blog is because (duh) it was a well done audio blog. I love hearing the voice behind the words and have been considering whether or not that’s a way for me to go – at least for my personal blog, if not my Working Mother magazine’s Spiritually S-E-X-Y series . . .

    So, from my perspective you scored big on two fronts and you seem to have a pretty chill, grounded and pleasant personality. So if it’s not too much of an imposition, yes, I too would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn but I’ll also “like” and follow you because I appreciate what you’ve said and how you’ve said it.

    With joyful intention,
    Shira

    • Well first off, thank you, Shira!

      And secondly, you do raise a good point about how your number of followers might be more pertinent in other businesses. I’m speaking strictly from the perspective of a voice-over talent. I suppose in other businesses there’s a lot to be gained from the number of followers. For example, I recently got done listening to the audiobook version of “Sh*t My Dad Says,” (narrated by voice actor Sean Schemmel, who was nominated for an Audie Award for his narration of this book). It’s a hilarious book about the, um….stuff….that the author Justin Halpern’s father has said to him during his lifetime. Halpern said that he was able to publish the book largely because of a popular demand for it–a popular demand that started when he accumulated a vast amount of followers on his Twitter account dedicated to the many memorable quotes of his father.

      And thank you just as much for your comments about the audio attached to my blog. I figured way back when I started this that, since I am a voice actor, I might as well lend a voice to my words, right?

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to accept your invitation on Linkedin. 🙂

      Kind Regards!

  2. Dave,
    I could not agree more!
    Just yesterday, somebody connected with me saying they were my friend, yet still using the generic pre-propagated line …. that’s like pointing to a persons hand and not shaking it.
    Thanks for the link to Eric Anderson – what a talent!
    Kind regards,
    Linda Joy

    • Linda,

      A few years ago, Dave Chapelle did a skit called, “What real life would be like if it was like the internet,” and while I won’t post it here because it’s a tad on the R-rated side, it made some excellent points about how unnecessarily awkward some situations are with regard to socializing on the internet. I can’t help but feel that if the real world were like Linkedin, it would fit the exact description you gave–people pointing to a person’s hand and not shaking it.

      And yes, Eric is quite talented, isn’t he? I gave the stuff on his website a listen and was quite impressed.

  3. Business, and so many other things these days, has become ultimately impersonal. The Production-line approach, taken by many, toward their on-line affiliations, indicates a complete lack of compassion and understanding, for those they would connect with. They risk appearing impersonal and brazen, through their template solicitations.

    Those who desire to establish meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships, through their connections, are building a healthy and sustainable foundation for their business. Albeit, through a presumably smaller network, of higher quality contacts.

    This is another worthwhile and timely entry Dave. A pleasure to read, and a delight to hear!!

    • It truly has become impersonal, Eric. To the point where any semi-personal touch strikes people as weird. At one point, a company started following me on Twitter. So, I sent them a message asking for the real name of whoever was handling the Twitter account in the interest of starting a more personal conversation, and maybe getting to know them more and see if I could provide voice-over services for them. The response I got back was, “Umm…is this a spam bot test? My name’s Jerry.”

      I sat there thinking, no, that was not a spam bot test, I was just trying to…*sigh*, oh well. As people may have gathered from my entry, I’m not too fond of Twitter. I like to write, and I don’t like anything that forces me to condense my thoughts. We live in the Twitter Age, though, were people expect you to quickly get to the point of whatever it is you’re trying to say. Any delay or personal touch seems semi-weird nowadays. Very unfortunate, really.

      • Hello again Dave.

        I laughed out loud at your last twitter-related response. Maybe it’s a chick thing as most of my followers are writers, mom bloggers, female entrepreneurs, coaches, etc. I have a smattering (growing) of social media related followers and thankfully new and pretty great VO tweeps (wink-wink).

        However, on a side note I have to relay something that just happened to me today that will hopefully make you laugh! It was creepy and funny all at the same time. My FB page was hit by a stalker . . . it’s my fault. I apparently offered a friend request to someone who knew someone I knew . . .

        So the story? He tried to pick me up – wasn’t that subtle about it – actually CALLED me from my website listed contact number (a Google virtual number – highly recommended for females in business so they don’t have to use their real cell phone numbers). He then proceeded to get annoyed at me when I responded to his last FB email message asking me to introduce him to some of the “pretty ladies I know” on FB.

        It wasn’t just that he felt it necessary to give me the equivalent of a Match.com rundown of his status as a SWJM (oh, yes he did, and so much more), but he felt I owed it to him because I had, out of politeness, reposted a video he had of an Eagles clip that was on my wall. When I did so, I included a brief 1-sentence mention it was for my honey and any other Eagles fan. (Truth be told my honey actually has written and produced for Don Henley when he was at Sony studios, so I don’t think he’d much care) but this gentlemen did and since he said I “owed him” for inspiring my paramour (really, does anyone use that word anymore?). Then he got snarky with me.

        Maybe it was because I suggested he try j-Date . . .

        The last of these few brief email stated that no, I was not in the habit of making personal introductions to my lady friends on behalf of social media strangers and that to request things of a cyber-only-acquaintance on FB crossed appropriate boundaries. I told him never to attempt to contact me again. I then copied the email trail before I unfriended and blocked/reported this individual. I think he’ll get the hint. At least I hope so.

        Lesson for me – don’t be too nice – and don’t let just anyone Friend me ever, ever again.

        I think I’ll stick to the safe non-personally-connected tweets and posts for a while until I shake off the creepy-ickies this guy left polluting the air in my otherwise safe-cyber-world of social media.

        God bless America.

      • Yikes…

        I suppose there are boundaries that, even in the interest of making things personal, shouldn’t be crossed (and it sounds like that guy crossed a few of them). Here’s my take on that–I like business-oriented personal connections, not FB buddy-oriented personal connections. At least as a voice-over artist. I actually have two Facebook accounts, one for my business and one for friends and family. Firstly because I don’t believe voice actors should have headshots (and I talked about this in my second audioblog entry), and secondly because, while I’m all for being a nice and polite guy whenever possible, there are only so many clients of mine that I’m going to go out and have a beer with afterwords.

      • So true Dave. I agree and though I have two pages, too . . . When someone friends me, I invite them to “like” me even more and visit my official Diva Mama page and let them know the main page is in the process of being phased out/limited to personal friends and family.

        It’s starting to work but I still have a ways to go on that mission.

        On a tangential note, do you suggest creating completely different social platforms for VO work? The last thing I need is to create more social media migraines having to monitor and keep up with multiple accounts. But for those of us who have other aspects of our freelance/entrepreneurial professional lives, there is an inherent challenge. My website tag line is One Voice Many Paths because simply . . . it’s the truth! The rest of my “voice” work falls under the category of being a very public “face” or “voice” as a writer, speaker, healer, officiant, etc. I would love to weed some of these out, but that too, will take time and the income to be able to do so.

        What would you suggest for someone like me (and any others who may resonate with being in this situation)? Should I really bifurcate my entire social media into VO and everything else . . . But if someone “googles” me, they may be confused if they’re looking just for my VO services as opposed to the plethora of professional things I do.

        This is one reason I was thinking (for now) I will just add a tab for VO on my current site and carefully link to that one tab where my new demos will be housed. Sure someone can peruse the rest of my site and see my performer/ Ministry Meets Artistry, etc. tabs, but hopefully this just means they’re interested in what else I do and seeing what I’m about.

        Thanks Dave, for sharing more sage words of wisdom.

        Best,
        Shira

      • Tell you what, Shira. That’s a question you want to ask Dave Courvosier. There are certainly many qualified voice actors to speak on social media, but he is a self-admitted connoisseur of it. And like I said before, I never give advice, only opinions.

        That said, here’s my opinion…

        You probably want to have separate *websites* for all of your businesses. However, with strict regard to social media, it’s probably not necessary to create separate social media platforms for your various careers.

        I totally get what you mean with having to manage so much stuff. This audioblog that I have is separate from my main website, and I’m really leaning towards consolidating the two because of what a bother it is to maintain both.

  4. Pingback: DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #14: Why I Failed…no, I mean why I failed to keep my New Year’s Resolution along with other goals. What did you think I meant? | DAVE'S AUDIOBLOG

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