On Friendship

In twelve years on Facebook, I'd never done a "friend purge." We'd probably laugh now to think that back in the early 2010s, it was a phony sign of how influential you were to have a multitude of friends.

Some of the dumbest things you could do with social media ... I did them! I went on friend request rampages, trying to reach as many people as I could to sell them insurance.

It's a point of contrast to consider that, in 2014, I was on a mission to have over 2000 Facebook friends ... and this morning, I cut the cord to 1600 of the 2,055 connections I had, whittling myself all the way down to 460 or so.

What a long way we've come! I teach this and more about social media in my international bestseller, "Business Beyond Business."

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I bring this up to illustrate the content of my book, and also to talk about real life. Half the people I cut ties with did not have ties to cut in the first place. They are just people who "add you as a friend for the sake of adding you as a friend". They don't necessarily understand how the game's played on social media.

But there were plenty of others with whom I'd once had a decent connection ... and now I no longer do. disappointed_relieved Not because of animosity, of course, but because people come and people go. It's the way of things.

Those are two negative realities of social media ... introduce some maturity and the passage of time, and you can painlessly let people go. You must, after all, make room for the new people coming into your life.

But some of those newcomers require a little more vetting than I've been willing to do. Despite my advice to "curate" your contacts and network, it took me far longer than it should have to grow weary of friend requests from strangers accompanied by solicitations. "Like my page!" "Buy my stuff!" "Donate to my charity!" Blah, blah, blah.

This is where the skills of the Curator become vital. You can learn more about them in "Business Beyond Business."

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One foundational principle I discuss borrows from the data mining of Instagram, which reveals that the audience prefers beautifully-composed still shots (photos) mixed with raw, real video content. This corresponds to Biblical wisdom I've learned from my friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin, which says that snapshots are wholly inadequate to capture the sum of a human life.

What this means is that you could be looking at a photo of me taken in December 2018 like this one ...

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... and think any number of things about me which may only slightly relate to the whole truth. BUT, if I upload a two-minute video where I stifle back tears as I share what God the Father reveals to me when he visits me with his love and affection ... this picture will suddenly stand in much greater contrast.

The point we're to take from this is that life is most truly experienced "in motion," or in an ongoing, participatory sense. You can't truly know me (or anyone else) the way you should - and by extension, you can't truly be known - unless we drop the demand that our lives be viewed strictly through glossy still shots.

You can read more about this principle in my international bestseller, "Business Beyond Business."

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After I finished this long-overdue purge of my friends list, I got a new request from someone connected to half a dozen of my closest friends. I didn't recognize the name, and they'd made no impression on me outside of Facebook. Normally I'd have accepted and then just set my profile to "un-follow," meaning I'd never see their content.

But something in me had shifted. I decided to click on the "instant message" button to see if they'd sent an introductory message.

Presto, there it was - a solicitation to read and review their book. An author myself, I know how difficult it is to get reviews. But as God is my witness, I've never approached a random stranger, or someone I'd just met at an event, or even a mutual friend introduced by someone I knew, to ask them to review my book.

I never even asked the people in my publishing mastermind, upon meeting them at our gathering in Los Angeles back in July, to review my book ... and if there was one room full of people where I should have felt comfortable doing so, that was it!

So I deleted the request. Frankly, it foreshadows my rejection of some applicants to my mastermind. This is not personal. It wouldn't even be professional, except that unprofessional behavior is usually the most easily-spotted manifestation.

The real problem here is distinguishing between the false and the true. Social media and online interaction tends to blur them. I've learned the hard way.

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