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Are You Networking or NOTworking?

goofy guyIs anyone besides moi exhausted by the networking demands of our age? Quite frankly, I believe we are under the illusion that we are being social, when in reality we have become more reclusive. How many of you have fallen into the Time Suck Vortex, responding to virtual strangers who have somehow found your name on FB or Twitter? Have you ever wondered what you and that cyber stalker have in common besides bloodshot eyeballs? Honestly folks, didn’t you lose track of some of those yahoos a long time ago for a reason?

I remember a time when it was considered rude to drop in for a visit unannounced. Nowadays, every time I turn on my computer there’s a party going on in my room. No, I really am not a curmudgeon – I am just a sleep-deprived individual who knows that if I don’t show up at the party I will be considered a geek and I won’t get to sit at the lunch table with the popular kids. Aw, c’mon – you know I’m not the only one who feels pressured to be on the web party circuit. Be there or be square.

Additionally,  biz advisors insist that the cyber social scene allows us to “passively market.” I miss the direct approach: “List your house with me and I’ll work for you like a monkey on crack.”

Let Your Fingers Do The Stalking

Yes, I know – if I am going to rant about social networking, then why am I a blogger? Pot, say hello to kettle. But haven’t we taken it to excess? Some of my friends are too busy to go out because they need to answer FB messages, and others think they are going out because they are Tweeting someone Down Under. This is not reality, folks – this is virtual schmoozing! It’s about as intimate as kissing a light socket, but not nearly as scintillating.

Pardon my crankiness, but I am exhausted. From now on I am going to limit all FB friends to the Cast of Oceans 11-13. But please, even if you “friend” me, George and Brad – no pokes or nudges, I beg of you. What the hell is with the nudging? That’s like a noogie – and we all hate those. And dear God, please stop with the group invitations – I had enough of those from the Sigma Chi’s during college…and they almost lost their charter for that!

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Let The Games Begin

Last week someone actually sent me a water balloon via FB. A water balloon! If it’s not filled with Vodka, why bother? Do I LOOK like I have time to play stupid internet games in the middle of my workday? I sent a Claymore Mine back. So much for a good time.

And what’s with the “points” you get on some websites? I can’t handle the pressure – it’s like getting graded. I’m convinced my eighth grade teacher is lurking in the Network Connection parking lot yelling, “What – only 12 points? You pathetic loser – I told you you’d never amount to anything. Here’s a water balloon!”

Hello – Anyone Home?

Okay, I admit, my blogging voice is now so high it can only be heard by dogs as I scream: “Put down those damn texting devices and look me in the eyeballs when I’m talking to you!” We have turned into a world of head-tops, where all we see is the crowns of bowed skulls staring down at supersonic mega-thumbs. I would think the dandruff shampoo people could use this to their advantage if they start a Twitter Trending Topic on Crust Cranium.

Hey – where are you going? I’m not done here! Am I the only one who has noticed that we have lost our language skills? There’s a whole new vocabulary out there that does not require Webster’s input. You can poke him all day and he’s not going to rally. We’re all so busy Tweeting and Friending and Linking and Tagging and Texting and Blogging that it should be a 3 credit course in school. We should let kids substitute it for P.E. What the heck – there’s no time left for showers anyway.

Don’t Go Into The Light!

Wouldn’t our time be better spent if we were out there prospecting and shaking hands? Here’s a novel idea – what if we were to actually volunteer for an organization rather than joining online like comatose sheep? Perhaps the fingers could dial numbers of old friends rather than stroke the keys. And here’s a radical idea – what if those flying fingers were used to learn an instrument, pet a dog, turn pages of a book (yes, they still exist), or write a letter to Grammy? Quite frankly, I think brewing up a batch of martinis and a cheese ball might be one of the most social acts of kindness I know.

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If you’re still reading this, you’re in trouble. You need to join a twelve step program for Blog Tweakers. I’m working on a vaccination to help with the brutality of withdrawal. But if you can come up with a way to balance the Social Networking scene and a real life of friendships, social interaction and contribution, then please let me know. In fact, be sure to Tweet it and get the word out so we will ALL know.

Oops…did I just say that?

Written By

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Chuck G

    August 14, 2009 at 11:20 am

    If there’s ever an AG Hall of Fame created, this post should be the first inductee.

    Thanks for putting a VERY humorous spin on a little secret that we all know, but are afraid to admit. Blog? Definitely useful. FacePlant, Twitter, BrightKite, etc, etc, etc….. Don’t know about you, but I’m just not seeing the ROI just yet.

    Next time you write a post like this, have Penn & Teller do it in video form, just like they on this video about bottled water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfPAjUvvnIc&feature=player_embedded

    (I know the link will get deleted, but look it up on YouTube — it’s relevant to what you talk about, and it’s REALLY funny.)

    Nice work, Gwen!

    CG

  2. Matthew Hardy

    August 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I think you’re right about many being “under the illusion that we are being social, when in reality we have become more reclusive.” Much of the number-comparing that seems so important in SM is high school level fershure. Periodically I’m reminded that some of the most accomplished people I know are so busy with their accomplishments that social media hasn’t even gotten on their radar.

    Best quote: “List your house with me and I’ll work for you like a monkey on crack.”
    I’d like to see the graphics that go along with *that* marketing slogan… 😉

  3. Amy

    August 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I love this! I haven’t been joking when I refer to myself as the “Twitter Widow”…it’s not football anymore. Now that we have met with a Social Branding Guru…it’s all about being the twitterer, twitteree and going to tweetups to meet the ‘tweeps’ in person.

  4. Gwen Banta

    August 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks for your insight, Matthew. I remember having a pen pal when I was a girl. To me she was a friend, although I never met her. Long after I grew up and we had lost contact, I re-read the letters. In hind sight, I realize that so much of the correspondance and conversation on my end had been about me discovering ME. I believe it was quite the same on her end. Of course there is value in that, but I don’t believe it’s the same as a FTF friendship that requires actual participation in each other’s lives.

    I am certainly not implying that Social Media is a bad thing. I just hope it does not become a substitute for experience, participation and FTF interaction.

    I am so pleased you like my Direct approach to marketing. I chose the Monkey branding because the effects of my last approach were dubious: “Chose me as your agent and I’ll sell the crap out of your house.” I still think it has a certain je n’est-ce quoi!

  5. Gwen Banta

    August 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Thank YOU for the laugh, Chuck – that link is hysterical! If Penn and Teller did my “RU Networking or NOTworking?” blog in video form, I can just imagine Teller falling in love via blog and licking the keyboard while Penn throws water balloons at the monitor. Those guys are nuts…funny, but nuts!

  6. Gwen Banta

    August 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    “Twitter Widow” – that should be added to all the new dictionaries, Amy! I love your sense of language, so I composed a poem just for you:

    My Facebook page stalks me
    I party with Tweeps
    I’m no longer active
    I’ve no time to sleep

    My friends are Twiterees
    My keyboard is my lover
    If you’re not in you’re out
    (I’m so sorry, Mother)

    If my computer should crash
    For some perilous quirk
    I’ll be socially outcast
    And I’ll just have to WORK!

  7. Wendy Hughes-Jelen

    August 14, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Hmm, do I dare to comment since it would be notworking? Hehe love the challenge to think about why we do things in life and business. I’ve been online since 1995 so it is a regular part of my daily life, not something that takes me away from it. I learn so much from reading the articles that other people find interesting. I could probably stop watching the 6 pm newscast since I really already learned everything I needed to know for the day!

  8. Paula Henry

    August 14, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Classic Gwen! I have taken a big break from social networking, mostly, because work beckons me and I have yet to have real dollars fly from the keyboard.

    Not to say I don’t get business from it, but time is time and I need time – time to sleep, time for my family, time for a walk, time to read Gwen. Never enough time. It really is a huge issue for me. You make it oh so funny, but it’s a harsh reality.

    As I was going to Twit this, I discovered I could get 10 points for adding someone to my follow list. Does anyone know what 10 points gets you on Twitter? I just want to make sure it’s worth it. Regardless – no “Twit This” for you, Gwen – I’m afraid of who I might follow.

  9. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Wendy, it sounds as if you are using social networking wisely. Nonetheless, I am starting my own point system for the Social Networking Remedial Group who feel left out because they can’t score points and they don’t know what a Tweet is. I will give you 100 points to anyone who can tell me what Gravatar is, and 1000 points to anyone who can tell me how to make a really good dry martini.

  10. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Thank you, my dear Paula. As I just told Wendy, I am starting my own point system. I hereby award you with 100 points for Strength in the Face of Twitter Pressure. I also give you 1000 points for reading my blog. I’m throwing in another 500 points because you actually READ. And here’s extra credit: 500 more points for saying Twit repeatedly as fast as you can. Did you notice that the word becomes “Toilet? 🙂

  11. Paula Henry

    August 15, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I think I know what a Gravtar is, but I can’t remember my password. I’ll be back soon with a new face.

  12. Paula Henry

    August 15, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Gwen – It is toilet!

  13. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Seriously, Paula, I thought Gravatar was a burial site on a highway.

  14. Paula Henry

    August 15, 2009 at 12:55 am

    🙂 Makes perfect sense! especially at one in the morning. What was this post about – virtual schmoozing, red eyes, nudges, sheep and water balloons. And….here I sit, with my virtual friends when I was supposed to be working on my website. Tomorrow’s another day. G’night!

  15. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 1:04 am

    It is “toilet,” isn’t it!!! You get 500 points bonus just for playing. Now go to a public place and say “Friend” really fast. Call me after they take you to the Happy Home. I’m here for you.

  16. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Touche, goodnight, and Tweet Dreams.

  17. Joe Loomer

    August 15, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Wow – spend one day OFF the AG circuit and my worthless comment gets relegated to the bottom of the barrel! That’s the thanks I get for doing the “Monkey on Crack” dance at an actual FACE to FACE listing appointment and contract negotiations?

    Gwen, this is simply textbook Banta. I’m with Chuck on this being Hall of Fame material.

    Gotta run – While reading this, I sharted, which gave me an idea for a good tweet and wall post, but first I have to text half my contacts while sitting on the loo about where we can all meet up later – online of course…

    DANGIT – I’m one of THEM! Good God in Heaven please help me!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  18. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Oh pauvre Joe, I think we are all beyond help. I am one of the worst offenders. I am trying to practice what I preach, but my AG posse keeps calling me home. I keep going farther into the light (of the monitor, that is). There better be a place to scatter my ashes in cyberspace because I’ll probably die sitting up in my chair. Even my dog is bored with me. I bought her a Blackberry and told her to text me, but she buried it in the back yard. Obviously, she’s smarter than I am.

    In order to polish my rusty prospecting skills, I went out to meet ‘n greet in person (novel idea) on Thursday. My next blog is about my experiences as a Hollywood agent. It’s not for the faint of heart. At least you got a contract. I got propositioned.

    I concluded that there is obviously some value to internet prospecting, but I’m still looking for the happy medium. In the meantime, I am establishing a rehab center for Networking junkies. It’s called UnPlug. Of course it will offer WFI, bonus points, water balloons, pokes, air kisses…

  19. Gwen Banta

    August 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    PS Joe – You will NEVER be at the bottom of MY barrel!

  20. Esko Kiuru

    August 16, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Gwen,

    You make a valuable point here. If you do social networking for business purposes then there should be a daily routine to it. A reasonable time allotment that covers the established goals and no more. Social networking without set rules can get out of hand and become NOTworking, like some people are smilingly admitting.

  21. Gwen Banta

    August 17, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I think you just made a valuable point yourself, Esko: meet “established goals” and no more. Of course, discipline and self-control is the key…

  22. Sushant Chavan

    August 21, 2009 at 3:52 am

    All I have to say is that Social N/W is like alcohol.If its under control you are a social drinker & and if not, your an ALCOHOLIC!!!

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