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Online social networks are not for the antisocial

Social or not?

Some of you heard me joking about being antisocial.  I am not really antisocial, in fact quite the opposite.  My participation in online social networks is changing that. I don’t feel as social as I used to.  All too often I feel like hiding. It is like a desperate need to tune out some of the rude anti social people who populate the online social network world.

There are people who follow me on twitter and demand that I follow them back.  There are some who meet me on social networks an immediately begin pitching a product or asking for my help with something.

Please & Thank you

Some never say please or thank you or ask if I have some time. They show up when they need or want something and then disappear as soon as they get what they need.  They take but they don’t give anything back.  They don’t give me any reason to want to get to know them and they don’t take the time to get to know me but they call themselves friends and follow me around the internet. I can’t get rid of them.

The definition of the word friend has not changed. There are levels of friendship and some people in my life are more like casual acquaintances. Relationships formed online are just as valid as any other kind of relationship but the same rules apply to those relationships that apply to off line relationships. The internet may make meeting people easier but building relationships with those people still requires some social IQ.

Not miss congeniality

It is true I may not win any awards for being miss congeniality but it isn’t my goal to be a friend to everyone. There isn’t any reason for me to follow someone on twitter who has no social skills and there isn’t any reason for me to accept every invitation for a connection that comes my way through facebook. I can barely keep up with the relationships that I want to nurture.  I don’t have an endless capacity for relationships of any kind.

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Making friends or building relationships on line works the same way as it does offline. Words and phrases like please, thank you, how are you?, hello, goodbye and good morning work on the internet just as well as they do off line.  Social networks only work for those who are social and who have the skills needed to build a relationship.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Ginger Wilcox

    December 3, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t use please and thank you offline either. Perhaps the online behavior is a reflection of the offline behavior as well?

  2. Jay Thompson

    December 3, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Very well said! THANKS!

    (and I think Ginger nailed it…)

  3. Missy Caulk

    December 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Good afternoon, Teresa.
    I tend to jump in on Twitter and say something and then hop back off. I use to wake up every morning and say “good morning twits”

    I finally gave up on the FB thingy. I couldn’t keep up. I had 180 friend requests waiting. So I decide since I don’t love FB, just accept them and move on.

    I am more careful on linkedin and Twitter. Expecially Twitter it is outta control with spammers now. Remember when it was new?

    It is true face to face and online. It takes time to connect to friends and not just be trivial.

  4. George McCumiskey

    December 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Ginger has nailed it. There’s no respect left in the world. Kid’s make fun of parents and elders are buddies and treated as equals (not respectfully). Course we who are “polite” are considered out of sync.

  5. Brad Nix

    December 3, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    @tboard No One. could have said it better.

  6. Bob Carney

    December 3, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Dear Friend inside my computer,

    You couldn’t have said it any better. It seems we find places that are cool before they become the latest buzz. Active Rain and Twitter come to mind. Once they discovered by mainstream, they filled with the Anti-social Network spammers and bloggers that want to force feed you with all of their junk.

    I have finally started to use FB more often but trying to keep that more local than anything. Twitter for me has become a distraction and needs me to regulate my time on there.

    I’ll see you on the next fancy social network before it gets notice…that’s the way we hang.

    Heading over to FB now to poke you.

  7. Doug Quance

    December 3, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Reminds me of a line from ZZ Top:

    “We’re bad – we’re nationwide…”

    You’re a big fish in an even bigger pond, T. Unfortunately, the benefits of popularity are often wrought with the unfortunate side show of peddlers, stalkers and paparazzi.

    I was once asked if given three wishes, what would I ask for… and without hesitation I said, “To be rich, invisible on command, and bulletproof!”

    You’ll note that “fame” was not on the list.

    There’s a lot of screwed up people in this world… and many of them have Internet access.

  8. Kathy Drewien

    December 3, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    My new annoyance…

    Twitter newbie (someone I know well in offline world) asks for advice on mobile apps. Glad to help. Next thing I see is a post on their blog without even a h/t


  9. Ricardo Bueno

    December 3, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    @Teresa: I just wanted to say that I appreciate you!

    To echo Jay, Ginger makes a good point…

  10. teresa boardman

    December 4, 2008 at 4:50 am

    thanks for all the comments. I know people are not all that polite off the internet either but at least face to face or on the phone they are not as rude.

    Kathy – I have had the same thing happen. I explain something and it becomes someone else s blog post. I can relate.

  11. Steve Simon

    December 4, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Being in the Limelight is rarely an experience that gives pleasure for an extended period of time.
    It can be a novelty for a brief time, but it wears quickly and as you noted in your post you can end up feeling like you want to hide. Almost a decade in the Public Fishbowl (albeit a small bowl compared to the National level, local politics is still a horribly open position, with the newspapers distorting and attacking in random fashion, and the scrutinizing cameras of cable tv hour after hour week after week holding you up for display) has left me with a desire for a controled interaction. The social networks (like this one) can be turned off. the number of interactions can be controlled; and specific irritants can be removed or ignored. Real time life does not give you those options. That is the lure of the net for me; the ability to cease the interaction at a time of my own choosing.
    As far as civility, that has been on the wane for years. Blame media, parenting, society’s structure, or all of the above. You can insulate yourself to a certain degree my limiting your contacts. The broader the base you interact with the greater the likelyhood of Jack Asses in the mix…
    Be selective in real life, and hit the “remove” button more on the net.
    Just my thoughts 🙂

  12. Maureen Francis

    December 4, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Are people really referring RE business out based on a profile on Facebook?

    As for twitter, I like it but I think it is losing value. Used to be I would log on and it was mostly people I respected sharing links that might help others in some way. Not just to their own blogs and blips. I really enjoy the social aspect but I think I learn less than I used to. OTOH, I have picked up some clients from it, and the only way to do that is be a bit chatty, I guess. Guess you are right as usual.

  13. Ben Goheen

    December 6, 2008 at 12:14 am

    I’m trying to figure out if this post was written before or after I asked you about your transaction in St. Paul. 🙂 I do believe I said thank you but I’m sorry if I forgot. Your info helped and I ended up using that home as a comp, so thanks!

    I agree that it’s much harder for people to be rude in person. Just this week I’ve had to deal with County property record people several times. On the phone it’s like pulling teeth to get the information. In person they help me out no problem, even though they’re probably thinking about smacking me upside the head. Guess I’m much more charming in person.

  14. teresa boardman

    December 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Ben – you did say thank you and I am always happy to help a local appraiser. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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