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Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy

It’s not an illusion. We really are doing more with each 24 hours, as technology enables (or forces) us to interact and intersect and do and consume with unprecedented volume and vigor. We live our lives at breakneck speed because we can, because we feel we have to keep up, and because every macro and micro breeze blows in that direction.

I remember the days before social media when I would get 20 phone calls per day and 50 or 60 emails, and felt exhausted by the pace of communication. Now we’ve traded the telephone for other connection points (I only get 2-3 calls per day), but the overall number of people ringing our doorbell through some mechanism has ballooned like Charles Barkley.

The number of “inboxes” we possess is staggering: Email (3 accounts for me), public Twitter, Twitter DM, public Facebook, Facebook messages, Facebook chat, Linkedin messages, public Google +, Google + messages, blog comments, Skype, text messages, Instagram, phone, voice mail, and several topically or geographically specific forums, groups and social networks. That’s a lot of relationship bait in the water.

The Lie of Opportunity

How do we justify this? How do we convince ourselves that slicing our attention so thin the turkey becomes translucent is a good idea?

We do it because we believe that more relationships provides more opportunity.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

“Social media makes a big world smaller.”

“Linkedin is for people you know, Facebook is for people you used to know, Twitter is for people you want to know.”

All of these chestnuts are passed around like a flu strain because they make intuitive sense. But common among them is the underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people. I have always believed this to be true, and in fact have delivered the lines above in presentations and on this blog. But today, I’m no longer convinced.

Instead I wonder, what if we have it ALL wrong?

You Don’t Know Jack

In addition to despair and shock and surprise, what I felt most about the death of Trey Pennington was confusion. I found myself saying over and over “Geez, you think you know someone…” I had a similar reaction when another colleague committed suicide a couple years ago and very few people saw it coming.

The reality is, we don’t KNOW hardly anyone.

I interacted with Trey quite a bit online, and twice spent time with him in three dimensions. Trey was one of the kindest, most interesting, generous people I’ve ever met. He was truly one of the good guys in social media, and his background in theology and storytelling gave him a refreshingly different outlook on all of this. He will be missed, and if the outpouring from the social media community is any barometer, his impact on others was perhaps far greater than he knew.

I considered Trey Pennington a friend. I suspect many of his 100,000+ Twitter followers considered him a friend. Clearly, most of us were not his friends, as his death came as a complete surprise despite the fact that he had a prior suicide attempt earlier this summer, and had been discussing his problems with confidants.

But if you’d asked me yesterday morning, I would have said Trey was a friend. Social media forces upon us a feeling of intimacy and closeness that doesn’t actually exist.

I met Amber Naslund on Twitter and we wrote a book together. But, I’ve never met her daughter.

Jason Falls is one of my closest colleagues in social media, but he’s never been to my home.

Mike Stelzner and I have collaborated on many projects, but we’ve never had a private meal.

I consider these people (and many, many others) to be friends, and I’m thankful that social media has brought them into my life. But in comparison to my pre-social media friends (many of whom I’ve known for 30+ years), I know almost nothing about them.

Is that what we want – spending considerable time building large networks of shallow connections, potentially at the expense of deepening a few cherished friendships upon which we can truly rely?

I recognize this is not purely an either/or scenario, and relationships that began with a Twitter exchange or series of blog comments can flourish into treasured real-world ties. Mark W. Schaefer was a real friend to Trey, and had tried to help him through this difficult period. Mark and Trey met on Twitter, and Mark describes the impact of this connection in his excellent book The Tao of Twitter. (Mark also has a tremendous post about Trey’s death, and Olivier Blanchard’s tribute to Trey is moving and important).

But those situations where we “meet” someone through social media, have the opportunity to interact in real life, and then develop a relationship that creates true friendship are few and far between. And as social media gets bigger and more pervasive, this chasm becomes even more difficult to cross. As my own networks in social media have gotten larger, I’ve ended up talking about my personal life less, because a large percentage of that group don’t know me, or my wife, or my kids, or my town, or my interests. I don’t want to bore people with the inanities of the everyday. (Facebook is the one exception, as I’ve always kept my personal account relatively small).

To some degree, I think this explains the popularity of Google + among people with very large followings on Twitter and/or Facebook. Google + provides a chance for a do-over, to create a new group of connections that are more carefully cultivated.

But that’s just medicating the symptoms, not curing the disease. Fundamentally, technology and our use of it isn’t – as we’ve all hoped – bringing us closer together. In fact, it may be driving us farther apart, as we know more and more people, but know less and less about each of them.

Trey gave us a glimpse of this in his last tweet:
R.I.P. Trey Pennington of Greenville SC One Day at a Time Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy

and Trey’s friend Jim O’Donnell underscored it with his message on Trey’s Facebook page:

“To my friend Trey Pennington, one of the worst things about social media is we can be surrounded by so many and still feel completely alone.”

 

Making Friends Out of Connections

Maybe we should be focused less on making a lot of connections, and focused more on making a few real friends? I’m going to try to work on this, to identify people (including the three above) with whom I want to develop real friendships, and make a concerted effort to do so, even if it means answering fewer tweets and blog comments from a much larger group of casual connections.

We have to take at least some of these social media spawned relationships to the next level, otherwise what’s the point beyond generating clicks and newsletter subscribers?

You think you know someone, but you don’t. And that’s social media’s fault. But more so, our own.

Related
  • techguerilla

    As you saw, I’m feeling the same way today. Hopefully I’ll soon get to know YOU better Jay.

  • YukariP

    Great, great post. I was feeling the same way, and you articulated it perfectly for many of us. The one by Jim was the saddest quote about social media. If we can’t ask for help when we really need it – what’s the point?

  • http://about.me/Otir Otir

    I wouldn’t put it in the same sentence that it is “social media’s fault” and our own. Social media is a tool. You can’t blame a tool for how some would misuse it.

    Lots of people, I included, find the tools a life saver, and would never blame it for the lack of connection with loved ones, important people in one’s life and real friendship.

  • JoshuaDavis

    I think every person has to define how they view online connections. Friendships take work, and those to who are heavy social media users have to constantly be aware that they need to foster real friendships whether they are online or off. I truly believe that social media can lead to real friendships even if never taken offline. That said I find that in majority of cases I engage with my best friends outside of social media.

  • NathanRichie

    Nicely put Jay. I met Trey at his Social Story event last September in Greenville. I left the event impressed with him as well as how he pulled it all together. Was just wondering a couple of weeks ago whether there would be an event this year.

    The reality check that he had a mass of followers online yet still felt alone and disconnected in someway, along with your post here shows again that it’s not the mass that’s important. It’s the small niches and intimate relationships we have that count.

  • http://flybluekite.com/ lauraclick

    You make a great point, Jay. I think a lot of folks are grappling with how to handle their growing networks and what it all means. I think social media gives us the opportunity to make the introduction. It’s up to us to form that into a meaningful relationship “in real life”. Mark Schaefer is one of those people for me. Sure, we met via Twitter. But, we’ve seen each other multiple times now, email regularly and talk on the phone. I count him as a friend. Is that true of all of my social media connections? No. But, the possibilities are there. We just have to make the most of them.

    As for Trey, I had the pleasure of meeting him a Social Slam (as I did you!). Like everyone else has said, I found him to be incredibly warm, kind and engaging. Was he a true friend? No. I clearly had no idea what was going on beneath his tweets and was shocked to learn of his battle with depression. On the surface, he seemed just fine. I think that’s what makes this so hard. It reminds us that we have to go past the surface-level connections online to really get to know someone.

    Even though I didn’t know Trey personally, I do think he made a great impact on a lot of people. And, I think a lot of people are grieving about his loss today – whether they met him in person or not. Although we do need to deepen our relationships with people, I don’t think we should totally discount the relationships that solely exist online.

  • JasonFalls

    Thanks for writing this, my man. Beautifully done. Scheduling mutual trips to each other’s homes soon.

  • Rayna

    You have articulated so well the need to slow things down just a bit, and devote some time to re-think what’s important to us about our relationships, and not fall into the trap of simply acquiring shallow connections. Social media has been the catalyst to facilitate faster contacts, but in all interactions, life and connections should be savoured (nurtured).

  • RichBecker

    @JasonFalls I don’t think its false intimacy, at all. @jaybaer has the wrong comparison. You can’t compare friends of 30 years …

    • jaybaer

      @RichBecker I know what you mean Rich. I did set up a bit of a straw man in that comparison, but the point is valid (I believe).

      • RichBecker

        @jaybaer Yes, I understand the mechanism. I’m struggling with it. I’ve seen outcomes that are exactly opposite.

  • jaybaer

    @JasonFalls Thanks. That’ll be me knocking on your door :)

  • jaybaer

    @chrisbrogan Thanks Chris.

  • jaybaer

    @prebynski Thanks Brandon.

    • prebynski

      @jaybaer Yours and @douglaskarr’s posts today… nicely said, sirs.

  • Stanford

    Jay, Trey’s death has reminded me that i need to invest more time in the social part and less on the media part of “social media”. I know that I have been blessed by Mark Schaefer’s influence in my life. Our relationship started when he picked up the phone and called me. He didn’t trust Twitter to be a proxy for real friendship. Other’s like yourself consistently demonstrate that being social is about being “present” at every opportunity. Thanks for this poignant reminder and thank you for being a role model.

  • ITSinsider

    Very true. I have over 7K twitter followers, hundreds of facebook friends, and thousands are following me on Google+. I can guarantee a very, very small number of those people really know me. In addition, I go to the movies alone nearly every week. Social media is a broadcast filter for the life we’re interested in exposing. I’m very, very sorry for Trey’s family. (I did not know him) But his gift and legacy will be the humanizing influence he brought to the social community.

  • BraveLondon

    @birdbathbuzz its positive too – ask disaster victims if they value it.

  • http://www.atlanticweborks.com/ KristenDaukas

    One of the main reasons that I put together the #BWTs (@broadswhotweet) is to give us an opportunity to grow our virtual friendships into living, breathing relationships that go beyond 140 characters. Yes, online is where we met but where we grow old together is in real life.

    Like everyone else who had a chance to meet Trey, I’m so saddened by the sudden loss. I hope we can all do his memory a grand service and take the extra step to stay connected and grow these friendships in person.

  • TrishJones

    Well said Trey. I’d rather go deep than wide when it comes to friendships. I honestly believe the Internet is turning us into fakes … we all pretend to be interested in each other and it’s just not true. T Harv Eker said, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Is this what we want to practice … fakery in our relationships so it becomes a learnt behaviour and we’re then without realising the wider impact, we start pretending to listen to our spouse or kids or close friends.

  • susangiurleo

    I’ve been thinking lots about this since yesterday….We need to understand that a connection is not a friendship. We have colleagues, communities, family and friends. There is a distinct difference among all of those. Can we meet people online and become friends? Of course. But will we become real friends with everyone we meet online (or at a conference)? Of course not. I didn’t know Trey, but he was clearly a respected business man and friend to many. In his role online I highly doubt he (or anyone in his position) would broadcast his struggles.

    I don’t think social media pushes us apart. I think we misunderstand it’s role in our social world. We’ve always had connections in our social lives with people we dont’ know well – our children’s teachers, the regulars at the pub, the guy on the softball team. We chat and ‘know’ each other, but we don’t know their innermost life. The mistake people make with social media is that just because someone’s words come into our living room or on our personal phone, we “know” them. You are right that we need to make a focused effort to move some of our personal connections to a deeper level. But we need to differentiate what relationships are truly personal and which are business. And that’s not easy.

  • markwschaefer

    I have been thinking a lot about this too Jay. I’m troubled. A multi-dimensional problem. A complex problem, enabled by technology, exacerbated by time scarcity.

    Yesterday, an online friend called and said, ” I love you … in real life.” That is the goal, in the end, at least for me. To get to that point.

    I’m regretting not staying with you and getting to meet your family last spring when I had the chance. I’ll do better next time.

  • DrBeckerSchutte

    I am new enough to social media that I didn’t know Trey Pennington–and new enough to understanding that my business is really a business that I hadn’t heard much about him, until yesterday. But the posts that I have read since then have been spinning my mental wheels. When someone who has the kind of public respect and profile that Trey Pennington obviously did, suicide is shocking. As a psychologist, what I see in his example is an illustration that all of us are coping with personal, intimate struggles. And most of us feel pretty isolated in those struggles, at least some of the time. The challenge with social media–as with any relationship–is to find opportunities to move past our surface personas, our public faces, and create spaces where people can be safe, and vulnerable, and real. Sometimes that means we’re going to be having tough conversations with one another: about anger, about fear, about isolation, about discrimination, about dying. What I see right now, in this response, is many people struggling to find those points of connection, the opportunities to create safe spaces for ourselves and for one another.

  • http://armentdietrich.com/ ginidietrich

    If this has taught us anything in the past 24 hours, it’s what Trey always said: Numbers don’t matter; your offline relationships do. Social media, in particular, has given us the ability to make friends around the world. It’s what we do with those friendships, by taking them offline, that matters. And no one, not one single person, can have a relationship, a true relationship, with more than 50 people. Thanks for your thoughts on this…every little bit helps us all heal.

    • JessicaNorthey

      @ginidietrich ah Gini…you are magnificent. xo

    • xaotica

      @ginidietrich Dunbar’s number and similar social psychology theories so far have not been based on observing the number of relationships that people in 2011 have and then determining which of those are “real” relationships. It’s all been speculation based on statistical averages about the brain’s memory capacity and things like that (informed speculation, but speculation nonetheless). You can decide the criteria that define a “true relationship” for yourself, but the things you consider crucial could be things someone else would never want. If you think nobody can have a “true relationship” with more than 50 people, but person A claims they have 51 “true relationships”, and 51 people feel they’re having a “true relationship” with person A… how can you say for sure that your scale is universal for all people around the world in all circumstances?

  • http://janiceperson.com/ Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON

    Great points Jay. I have lots of social media “friends” who are really acquaintances. Folks who celebrate achievements with me or express support when I say something has gone wrong. But I wouldn’t reach out to them with deep concerns. I have close friends some of whom have been developed in part through social media and others were built elsewhere and still cultivated on social media. But the real life connections are really critical. In seeing thoughts on Trey Pennington, the real friendships like those Olivier had with him are more genuine. Some of our relationships go back and forth between real life & social media, those are genuine relationships that I would like to hope I could contact or could contact me. That is likely a very small group and would differ depending on what sort of thing I need to reach out on. To me, the mourning I saw in Olivier’s post was very similar to the kinds of emotions I have expressed when I lost a genuine friend. That’s when Trey’s death became moving for me – not when I saw the other things in my timeline.

  • http://www.blog.jessicamalnik.com/ jessicamalnik

    First, I find it incredibly sad that the only reason so many big name bloggers are writing about this very important topic is because of the unfortunate and tragic death of an Internet celebrity, who had 100,000+ Twitter followers. And @jaybaer, do you think you would have written this post today if it wasn’t Trey, who ended his life, but say someone you happened to get-to-know on Twitter with only 500 followers? Be honest. My guess is no. That’s a shame. The number of Twitter followers a person has shouldn’t matter, but in this case it clearly does.

    Getting back to your post, yes, social media relationships can be really shallow and superficial. But, so can friendships in real life. Everyone has their own motives for how they use social media. For some like myself, I go out of my way to get to know my social media connections. This has led to some great professional connections as well as some amazing personal friendships. But, I also know that many others only use social media as a numbers game for business matters. Ultimately, who are we to judge other people’s motives for social media? Each person has to make their own individual decision for how they want to use social media and then realize the consequences of their actions for other users. End of story.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @jessicamalnik Hi Jessica. Thanks for taking the time to comment. You raise some good points, but Trey’s following within social media had nothing to do with me writing this post. It’s a non-issue (and on a related front, the reason I did not include his name in the title). I wrote this post because someone I thought I knew, I realized I did not know at all. And that would be the case whether that person had 500 followers, or a million.

      • http://www.blog.jessicamalnik.com/ jessicamalnik

        @JayBaer Thanks for taking the time to clarify. While I never knew or spoke to Trey, my heart still aches for his family and especially his kids. You bring up a great point. Sometimes you may think you know someone, but with social media, you can choose what you put out for the world to see and not see. In this case, it unfortunately had a tragic outcome.

      • xaotica

        @JayBaer@jessicamalnik Someone very close to me is bipolar and at one point she tried to harm herself and others. You could be her friend for 10 years and never know that about her. If you found out about it 10 years later and told her that you felt like you didn’t know her at all, she’d be furious. Mental illness isn’t the only thing that defines a person… and, in my biased opinion, it is not one of the most important things about a person in general.

  • toots11

    Thanks for writing this Jay. Sometimes we need to be reminded that social media does in fact cultivate those shallow connections. The danger is, when we confuse those for deep and lasting friendships (the ones that can really sustain us through the really bad times), or lose the skills to grow our twitter friendships into deeper ones.

    I think for many people on SM yesterday, the jolt was not just Trey’s passing, but also the realization that we only really knew the side he was able to share with us on twitter.

  • http://www.element-r.com/ BobReed

    Sometimes people with whom we think we have personal relationships, really only let us get so close. They intentionally keep their work and personal lives separate because they think commerce and true friendship aren’t compatible. I knew a man years ago, who, over the period of a month, moved me from being ok at PR to my beginning at being very good at it. He said I was worth it. He never really said why, only that he was going to do me a favor…. by kicking (figuratively) the living daylights out of me to realize my potential. It worked, and later we ended up working together, on and off, for 10 years. I knew things in passing about him, but they only skimmed the surface. He passed away from a fast-moving cancer three years ago, and it was only through his death that I was made aware of all his many, diverse accomplishments.

    Social media interaction can create opportunities for friendship, but how many people do we really get to know and allow beyond our personal shields?

  • http://www.contentequalsmoney.com/ EmmaofCEM

    I just hope that some good will come out of this, as is always the hope for a tragic aftermath. Trey’s social presence was huge, and his inability to save himself might ultimately speak to those for whom it isn’t yet too late.

  • JessicaNorthey

    I jay-first of all sorry for your loss. I agree there is a whole lot of social MEdia going on. I think a lot of us on here can be egomaniacs with low-esteem, using these platforms to feel better about ourselves.I stumbled on SM through the radio station I worked back when we were trying to figure out myspace. It sometimes reminds me of a bunch of on-air radio personalities at a dinner party all trying to talk over eachother.

    Is anyone listening? I am proud of the friends I have made online, and pay attention to these real people with real problems and real solutions, standing up for them when they need it, whether that is cyberbullying issues, new artists that need exposure or a young lady in detroit who needs a transplant. What I like best about the friends I have now, they all know how f-ed up I am and love me more because of it.

    I have sat on both sides of depression, it’s not pretty. There is help out there. It doesn’t make anyone weak to admit it, it can be a chemical disposition. I think holding it in and trying to take care of it by yourself is the scariest part, it comes out sideways. Self destructive behavior including drinking, having affairs, lies, bad business decisions…inevitably like a hose springing leaks all over our life.

    Its a bunch of poop how most SM big wigs all sit around co-signing each others BS contracts too. I would respect people more if they stood up and said you being a jerk whats wrong with…maybe not on the open stream but just in general. There’s enough butt kissing going around and we all need to be real friends. Real friends tell it like it is.

    Sorry for unloading on your post, I suspect this could have been it’s own post. anyways. I enjoy reading about you and learning from you.

    Be well my friend, and the book is doing well. God Bless. – jNo

  • http://www.managingcommunities.com/ iFroggy

    I didn’t know Mr. Pennington and had never spoken with him. So, I don’t have any connection there. I feel terrible for his friends and family and they’ll be in my thoughts today.

    But, you bring up something I think about a lot. A lot of people throw around the term “friend” lightly – we’re all guilty of it and, hey, it applies. There are different levels of friends. There are your close friends and there are good friends you are developing that closeness with. There are industry friends (or acquaintances as I try to call them as often as I can) and then there are people who have said nice things about you. There is an awkwardness there, especially when people refer to you as a “friend,” but you take that term seriously and would not refer to them as a “friend” if you were in polite conversation with someone else.

    When I think of my real, close friends, I think of maybe 8-10 people (not counting family, of course). The funny thing is… they are all people I met online first, most commonly in forums. And then we spent time talking. A lot of time. Years. In the forums, but also with each other. And I have met all of them offline. I considered some of them to be close friends before I even met them in person, but that takes a lot of time and effort.

    Brandon Eley ( beley ) is a good example. Brandon is one of my best friends. We met on the SitePoint Forums and we met in person for the first time at SXSW 2008. But, before that, we had talked online for like 6 or 7 years. We IM most every weekday, chatting about personal and professional topics. I see him a couple of times a year. I’ve met his wife, Tracy, and his kids, Peyton and Ellis. When I knew I was coming to Atlanta for a conference at the end of August, I decided to stay a couple of extra days to hang out with Brandon in his home town, a small town which is about an hour from Atlanta. I wanted to spend some time together away from a conference and I’m glad I did.

    (Sometimes, I can be really longwinded. Part 2 will be posted as a reply to this comment).

    • http://www.managingcommunities.com/ iFroggy

      Jared W. Smith ( jaredwsmith ) is another example. Same deal as Brandon, really. We through forums that I managed, he joined my staff and he was a part of the team that faced a lot of crazy challenges early on with that particular community. Our bond was cemented and we talked regularly for years before I got to meet him at ConvergeSouth 2008. He was already one of my best friends before I met him. The funny thing, when you talk to someone so long, is that you find they are the same person offline as they are online. Those are the people you want to know. I’ve now hung out with him in person a few times and I met his fiancee ( scoccaro.) at SXSW 2011. They are getting married in October and I’ll be at the wedding. Besides the fact that all of my friends are now married or getting married, and I am not (heh), I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.

      And there are others. You know who you are. :)

      You, Jay, are someone I’m still developing a relationship with. When someone asks me about you and you are not around, do you want to know what I say? I don’t say, “Jay’s a good friend of mine.” I tell them that I know you and I like you a lot and respect the heck out of your knowledge. You are literally one of my favorite professionals in this space and someone who’s opinion I trust above most others. But, and I think this is the REALLY important part, I respect you enough to not overplay whatever relationship we have, when people ask me about you. Does that make sense? Part of all of this “friend” stuff comes from people wanting to be big shots and name drop. And to do that, they imply a deeper relationship than the other person would ever acknowledge in private conversation. I don’t have a lot of friends, I have a lot of acquaintances.

      One day, I’d like to call you a friend, but that takes time and is an investment. You were tremendously kind when you reviewed my book (that review meant so much to me, thank you again), I provided a quote for your book with Amber (and was honored to be asked) and, because I respect you both so much, I believe in your book and openly promoted and promote it to others. When I know you are at a conference, I try to attend your talk or, at the very least, to say hello. When I have a question that I’d like your input on, I ask you (and I hope that you’d do the same). But, being a “friend” takes time and it takes more. I look forward to getting to know you even better.

      (See the next comment for part 3. Sorry. Heh).

      • http://www.managingcommunities.com/ iFroggy

        You can make great friends, your best friends, your most trusted friends online. But, it takes time and investment and it’s a natural process. I didn’t meet Brandon or Jared and say “hey, I’m going to make you my friend.” Our personalities just matched well, we had similar interests and we had fun talking and the relationships grew from there. We just talked a lot and half a decade went by while we did and through that half a decade, trust developed. Friends are people you can really trust, not just professionally, but personally. The only people who know more about me than my true friends – are my family. Time is how you develop those close friendships.

        “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

        - George Washington

        Good post, Jay.

  • sharpcrayon

    Jay, your heartfelt essay demonstrates both the best and worst of social media–a stranger like me can be brought instantly into your world, and learn, empathize and admire. And yet the written word is not the person–and social media somehow encourages all of us to confuse a commonality of expression with friendship. It’s not just social media that encourages these empty connections–it’s an increasingly lonely and angry society where everyone seems to feel being visible (in some sense, being famous), will heal the wound that really needs Friendship takes time and trust, lots of time, in person. As a parent, I worry about this in terms of what my kids see on TV–Facebook of course is obvious, but also right now the most common topic of TV shows for pre-teens is..fame. Not family, but performance, auditioning, becoming famous, getting in a band. These are very disconnected times–I hope it all shakes out into a larger focus on the real in relationships, but I fear the issue is much, much bigger, having to do with disconnected families & political negativity…but in any case, stranger, you write a very moving essay and I thank you.

    (And how weird that I can post this comment to twitter & facebook–why would I do that? Self-promotion? Self-aggrandizing? Unselfishly encouraging the discussion? Think I’ll skip it this time…)

    • xaotica

      @sharpcrayon If I posted my comment to twitter / facebook, it’d be for the same reason I post most things: wanting to start some kind of discussion or share something I thought might be useful to others. I’ve often found it strange when people viewed blogs / twitter accounts / etc. as inherently self-promotional / self-aggrandizing… nobody has to read what you write.

      • sharpcrayon

        @xaotica Thanks for this thought; you make good sense–and I was, in retrospect, Probably questioning what my OWN motives might be. But on the other hand, the one-sidedness of this kind of conversation does skew it away from ‘conversation” and into a different realm (my idea, your idea, my idea, your idea). it also occurs to me that probably longtime users of blogs & twitters got in on the game when it was more about conversation & sharing and less about promotion (not sure if that’s you, but guessing it might be.) I jumped in at the advice of colleagues, more for business than for personal matters, but now that I’m in it, I’m finding it much more meaningful (ironic, given the post we’re commenting on) than I had expected. Still sorting it out.

  • JessicaNorthey

    @jaybaer -first of all, I am sorry for your loss. I agree and think there is a whole lot of social MEdia going on here. A lot of us on here can be ‘egomaniacs with low-esteem’, using these platforms to feel better about ourselves. I stumbled on SM through the radio station I worked at back when we were trying to figure out myspace. SM sometimes reminds me of a bunch of on-air radio personalities at a dinner party all trying to talk over eachother.

    Is anyone listening? I am proud of the friends I have made online, and pay attention to these real people with real problems and real solutions, standing up for them when they need it, whether that is cyberbullying issues, new artists that need exposure or a young lady in detroit who needs a transplant. What I like best about the friends I have now, they all know how f-ed up I am and love me more because of it.

    I have sat on both sides of depression, it’s not pretty. There is help out there. It doesn’t make anyone weak to admit it, it can be a chemical disposition. I think holding it in and trying to take care of it by yourself is the scariest part, it comes out sideways. Self destructive behavior including drinking, having affairs, lies, bad business decisions…inevitably like a hose springing leaks all over our life.

    Its a bunch of poop how most SM big wigs all sit around co-signing each others BS contracts too. I would respect people more if they stood up and said you being a jerk whats wrong with…maybe not on the open stream but just in general. There’s enough butt kissing going around and we all need to be real friends. Real friends tell it like it is.

    Sorry for unloading on your post, I suspect this could have been it’s own post. anyways. I enjoy reading about you and learning from you.

    Be well my friend, and I hope the book is doing well. God Bless. – jNo

  • jmctigue

    I don’t know you personally Jay, and chances are I never will. I didn’t know much about Trey either, so I won’t comment about that. What I do know is that you provide me and an awful lot of people with valuable information and advice from your business and social media experience. Very few of us qualify as your “friends”, but we are followers and fans. We subscribe to your stream because we trust that what you say is authoritative and accurate. Whatever you call us is really semantics, although clearly “friends” is not on target. Having said that, it is an important distinction that you have cultivated us just as many of us have done the same to grow our “connections” and our businesses through these connections. I don’t see anything wrong with that. You are “consulting” with us, and we are “paying” you in some form or fashion for your advice. That’s still a very viable and important function and is not in any way deprecated by the fact that we haven’t met. I do agree that we probably overestimate or overstate the “friends” aspects of these relationships, but they are important relationships nonetheless. They keep you in business and out of the corporate 9-5, as they do for many others. What we have here is more of an author-reader relationship, but it’s still a relationship worth its weight in making a living.

  • http://www.nimbyist.com/ amysept

    I really appreciate this post, Jay. I didn’t know Trey at all, but can tell that he clearly had an impact on many people who, today, are struggling to figure things out. My own online networks have kept me going through many personal difficulties — including times where my “real life” relationships have all but failed me.

    At the end of the day, I think we all segment ourselves: our work relationships, our family relationships, our online-work relationships, our online-friend relationships. I don’t disagree that some relationships deserve more care and attention but I don’t think those boundaries can truly dissolve, either.

    (Something else I’ve been chewing on: The posts naomidunford has shared about her own experiences this past week show that what happens when these separate worlds collide is not always a good thing.)

    I hear what you’re saying and I don’t disagree. I’m sure there’s a balance out there, but I don’t know what that is or how we can collectively change course to bring more meaning to these snippets of interaction.

  • Greenflame

    Ths is a good article with a lot of points, and I am so sorry for the loss of this remarkable man, and for the pain he evidently suffered.

    Having said that, depression itself prevents deep connections, I believe.

    If you read accounts of suicides during the pre-electronic media era — let’s say, 1900 on backwards — there was always an element of shock with those as well amongst the people who knew the suicide. I don’t think the problem is Facebook “friends.” I think it’s the isolating nature of depression, and how so many of us who have suffered it cultivate a persona that expresses that “everything is all right” when it very much is not. In the days I suffered depression, 20 and 30 years ago, I was not more connected with people; the lack of social media back then had no bearing on the strength of any real friendships. Had I committed suicide, all of my connections them would have been as shocked as poor Trey Pennington’s are today.

  • munnerlyn06

    What a touching post, Jay. Thank you. I will work on deepening my personal relationships. My thoughts and prayers are with Trey’s family and friends.

  • Garry Stafford

    Lately I’ve been really focusing on trying to grow new contacts following the “…underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people.”

    Hmm.

    Jay, your on point article has me thinking: I tend to shy away from some networking events and MLM “opportunities” because of the covert (and sometimes not so much so) motivation that enables relationships built on shallow connections and the dollar signs on my and other’s foreheads.

    But might I be doing the same here? Am I really building relationships? Or do I just treat this activity purely as accepted acquisition? Am I creating ANY growing and lasting relationships that are deep, meaningful and supportive connections with whom I might let climb over the wall allowing for a deeper awareness of each other?

    Certainly the medium doesn’t easily promote this. But, I agree, it does use up a greater amount of finite time refocused on that which even takes away from those close relationships I already have.

    I need to go hang with my kids.

  • conversionation

    Yes, there is a false sense of intimacy, no, it’s not social media’s fault. Moreover, regarding Trey and friendship: being friends with someone does not mean sharing your whole life. Sometimes you don’t want to bother even your best friends with your problems, Jay. Everyone is different and ultimately, family is more important than friendship. It’s also amazing how so many people say “why didn’t he tell us?”. In a society of taboos and the kind of environment Trey knew? I don’t think so. Friendship goes both ways: it’s also about reaching out to someone when he is in need, even if he doesn’t ask you (and then whine because you’re not his friend…). Unfortunately, many confuse that with standing ready with their own smart advice. Look what happened in June: public support and advice and prayers all over the place. Yet, how many people really listened? I get your point, Jay, but friendship is not an absolute thing that is always there and expressed. Sometimes people need more than friendship. Or something else. And friendship is not the total relationship as we experienced it as kids. Social media have nothing to do with this, Jay. People have. And most of all their selfish opinions. Again: I get and appreciate your point. I react because it’s a personal thing.

  • JillRoth

    Authentic, moving and memorable post. Thank you Jay.

  • http://www.thefranchiseking.com/ FranchiseKing

    Nice job, Jay.

    It’s true; social media has enabled lots of people to grow very large followings. I certainly “know,” a lot of people, from all over the world. Social media makes connections possible that weren’t not long ago. But, most of the people I “know,” are connections. I’m okay with it, most of the time.

    There are a few people who I know pretty well. They are connections, and friends. But, do I know anyone well enough to really understand the “stuff” they may going through? A handful.

    It’s a topic that needs to be discussed more…not less.

    I never met Trey. Never heard him speak. I remember hearing his name once or twice.

    To his close friends, my condolences. He sounded like good people.

    The Franchise King®, Joel Libava

  • NealSchaffer

    Amen @JayBaer – let’s put a deeper “social” back into the term social media. Not just “connections” but the development of true offline relationships. A lot to digest in the tragic death as well as your profound thoughts – but let’s try our best to live our lives, and help those around us, to our fullest. I’m going to follow your advice and start by choosing a few people and trying to get to know them, and their families, better offline. I hope everyone who reads this does the same.

  • http://www.joannecipressi.com/ Joanne Cipressi

    Jay,

    Moving post and well written with so much respect. I often wonder how many people would be affected if for some reason they were no longer able to connect with others online. I feel many people rely too heavily on online connections (for both business and professional needs and desires) and are not connecting offline as well. We all want to feel close to others and some simply don’t know how to do it offline. Social media opens that door to get to know others and connect, even if it is simply a surface connection. I hope more and more people realize they need deeper connections with themselves than to reply on social media to make them feel a sense of worthiness for themselves and life.

    I feel for Trey and his family very much and am sending much love to them. I never knew them, only heard of them. But, I know the feeling of wanting to do and taking action, because I did in the past. As soon as I heard about Trey, I was deeply touched and wrote a poem about what I felt he was going through. I sure hope many people are learning from Trey and really digging deep to get into contact with themselves.

  • margieclayman

    Dear Jay,

    One of my biggest concerns in the wake of Trey’s death is that so many are feeling guilty. It is an easy path to travel because when we are shocked by things like this, we feel like we failed that person somehow. There was a person in my life who, while he did not take his own life, did not do anything to save it either, and we all still feel like we missed opportunities. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    The fact is that even if you had lived right down the street from Trey, you might not have known anything was going on, or if you did know something was going on, there might not have been anything you could have said or done. There are some dark places where the brightest light can’t reach.

    As for social media, seldom have I been so conflicted over something as I am about social media. I have no doubt that if given the time and opportunity, many people whom I consider to be friends could become friends in the more traditional sense of the word. I have no doubt that if I got to see you or Mark or any number of other people, I’d give ya big hugs and talk as if we had known each other forever. I have experienced this with other people and could not have been more pleasantly surprised.

    But the world of social media seems to be an increasingly dark place. It’s about numbers and traffic and this and that. The fact that there are real flesh and blood people behind all of these 2D avatars seems to get lost. Constantly. We do not pay each other enough respect. We do not always care enough because, let’s face it, caring doesn’t make the world go round, money does, right?

    I choose to believe that the people whom I consider friends really are friends. There is just a longer process involved of getting to know people. We’re all doing things backwards – we’re learning the nitty gritty day-by-day detail before we learn that you have 2 brothers, a cat, and a salamander. But eventually, with effort, we can get the whole picture, whether online or offline. That’s the way I’m hoping this crazy thing works, anyway.

    Be well, Jay. Healing thoughts to you.

  • myklikhov

    Your post echoes what I read in MIT tech review a few months ago, that humans may only be able to maintain close relationships with 150 people (http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26824/?ref=rss). Although we’re excited that technology facilitates a significantly larger number of connections, perhaps there’s a limit to the energy we have to put out…moreover, perhaps it is more rewarding to focus that energy on fewer, but deeper relationships.

  • bestsocialmedia

    Jay, I think this is the route that alot of social media “platforms” are heading now. We are also recommending that our clients that having superficial connections with the whole lot of users on social networks is no better than trying to develop a real connection with users. This may indeed mean that we can’t communicate with as many users however the depth of a relationship between the business and a familiar user can be seen by all. We believe that this earns more brownie points than just offering a thin vaneer of a relationship. Going thin and wide kinda detracts from the true purpose of social media too. The thin and wide approach can already be satisfied with websites, youtube videos etc.

  • timotis

    Jay,

    Thanks for this post. I only knew of this incident from seeing it first on Olivier’s blog. I think you hit on a great point here. We all have different ways we operate in social networks, whether it is to make surface friends or real friends, and sometimes those surface friends turn into real friends… or so we think. And some come to social networks with a strategy to get to know people. It was obvious, from many stories I read about Trey’s condition, because I wanted to grab context not just assume things, that Trey was battling a long episode of darkness. It seems he went to the elders at this church, and they couldn’t do anything and he felt judged by them for feeling a certain way. It’s also shocking to hear how many times he reached out to people in social media to no avail in overcoming his “demons.” That said, the warning signs were there and no one spoke up. This is definitely a wake-up call to the social media community — and the church– that the extensions of people’s lives aren’t always pretty, fun, kool-aidish, Jesus-high, so be prepared when you cross paths with someone who needs help.

  • ScribeDevil

    Great post, Jay! So sorry for your loss. In my opinion, social media is no remedy for loneliness. The remedy is only found within. Genuine engagement with like-minded folks can help us find it. Of course, that level of genuine engagement is more likely to come over a cold beverage or broken bread than while staring at a screen and interacting 140 characters at a time. The best social media can offer is helping us to make that initial connection with like-minded folks who may otherwise have gone unmet. It’s then up to us to take it offline.

  • hummingbird604

    Jay,

    Excellent post, and I couldn’t agree more with you. A few years ago I wrote about how easily we throw the term “friend” online. Facebook is guilty of that. “So-and-So are now friends”. No, they are not. They are linked through a social network that makes it easy to “look like you’re friends”. My friends on Facebook happen to be people I do consider friends.

  • hummingbird604

    And the annoying LiveFyre just posted my comment that I had not finished. Anyways, it was lovely to meet you and Amber at SMC Victoria. It made it easy to relate to an actual person. So sad about Trey. His passing has impacted me and I didn’t even know him in real life. I read Olivier’s, Gini’s and a few other’s posts including yours and I felt actual pain.

  • http://www.dknewmedia.com/ freighter

    Jay,

    Thanks for your thoughts. And my heartfelt condolences to all who were affected by his death. Whenever unexpected, bad things happen, we want to make sense of it. Sometimes, though, we can’t.

    I’ve lost a close friend to suicide. I’ve lost others to accidents. The vacuum of unanswered questions always, always remains. But you go on.

    I didn’t know Trey Pennington personally. Like most, I read his posts, his tweets, his thoughts. Weaving his, together with others who one might believe are acting in unison as the voice of this whole social arena, it becomes almost second nature to assume that the luminaries of this arena share a special bond. But as you point out, sometimes even our most cherished assumptions don’t hold true. Caterina Fake had a post some time ago that for me at least really hit one small part of the problem squarely on the mark. FOMO. And this does tend to fuel the fire of our almost unquenchable thirst to be in the loop, in the know. http://caterina.net/wp-archives/71

    But being in the loop isn’t the end goal of anything worthwhile.

    Seth Godin wrote about “the shower of data” the other day, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/the-shower-of-data.html and thinking about the implications of information overload, the parallel is there when we think about relationship overload. I can count the number of what I consider true, lifelong friends on two hands. And I am still counting. But it takes time, and it takes effort.

    Is this a moment when we, all of us, as almost complete strangers, can reflect on the limitations of our own relationships, however numbered they might be? We are the limiting factor. Our “social” technology lags behind.

    You may not remember when we talked about tequilas, and I mentioned my preference for mescal. Well, I saved a special bottle for that time when we perhaps can sip a bit, talk about anything but social stuff. And like I said, I am still counting, upwards.

    Marty

  • Justanothermom

    I haven’t read the other comments, so forgive anything I repeat.

    Very rarely does a person who commits suicide “appear” to be depressed to even his or her closest Real Life friends. I have had many friends in different realms of my life. School friends, work friends, family friends, neighbors, etc. All of them were valuable in different contexts. Some of them became Dear Friends for life. And that has included friends from social media. I now have an entire group of friends from social media that I DO see on a regular basis, that I DO know their kids, and that I talk to on the phone, as well. It’s all a matter of how deeply you invest yourself into someone.

    My deepest regrets for his family and friends. Suicide isn’t something that most of us can forsee, though…

  • jaypalter

    Thanks for this, Jay. I knew Trey very superficially, through his social media work. Yet I feel a sense of loss. Which only proves to me that the connections we make here are real.

    In the end, we all have a very limited number of intimate relationships. Some of us can bring a sense of intimacy to more of our relationships than others, but for most of us there are only a handful of people who get to know us really well.

    Aiming for greater intimacy in my relationships is a daily goal. I wish you well in this pursuit. It is, after all, essential to creating meaning in our existence on this planet.

  • KateBacon

    Dear Jay

    Thank you for you thoughtful and heartfelt post. It is all too easy to collect many many followers online without having a proper connection to many of them.

    It makes you think when you follow someone back on Twitter with barely a glance at their website, and then read a moving post from them a couple of days later (@intuitivebridge). Did I appreciate the person I was following – did I take the time to even send a small word of thanks and reach out and connect?

    Today I’ve slowed down and taken the time to appreciate those in my life who I have real connections with – hopefully we can all do the same.

    My thoughts are with you.

    Kate

  • DixieLil

    @JayBaer So many important points here. I agree about the false “glamour” of having so many followers on fb and twitter. In reality, your social media “friends” don’t even your kids, or what you like to do in your spare time. I heard Trey speak at the 140 conference LI this summer, and was impressed by his engaging speaking manner. He seemed like a kind, charismatic man. We exchanged some tweets on the challenges of raising children. I hung the pink bandana he handed me at the conference in my car today, and thought about staying closer to loved ones.

  • Narciso17

    Dude…It’s Overwhelming How Emotional This Post Is…Not Only for the Subject, But for the Pleading That I’m Getting From What You’re Saying…There’s a Sense of Urgency and Longing That Just Bowls Me Over.

    Moreover, It Brings a Great Deal of Focus on What’s Important…Truly Important…Cause We Can All Say That The Numbers Don’t Matter…But Until We Have a Serious Gut-Check On What We’re Doing On The Internets, It’s Never Really Going to Stop…I’m Talking About Having That Gut-Check on a Weekly (Heck, Even Daily) Basis…We’ve Got to Be Real With This.

    Which Brings Me to the Sober Thought That *I Have To* Really Evalutate What I’m Doing With My Friends Online…And How I Can Make Them Stronger…What That Means and How I Can Do It…In a Lasting and Meaningful Way…

    Thank You So Much for Making Yourself Vulnerable in This Post, Jay. And Thank You for Being Enough of a Friend to Share This Pain With Us.

    Much Love,

    Narciso Tovar

    Big Noise Communications

    @narciso17

  • Kim Phillips

    Blaming social media for shallow connections is like blaming the telephone for boring conversations…it’s just a tool. Does anybody really think they are friends with the hundreds or thousands of people they are connected to on social media sites? THAT’s the problem, the expectation of being real “friends.” It is sad that this fellow took his own life – it always is – but your friends are the people you actually spend time with, and you can’t do that with everybody you follow. And Narciso, what is UP with capitalizing your whole post? I thought I had seen everything.

    • Narciso17

      How Very Funny @Kim Phillips – This is Actually ‘How I Roll’ on The Internets…Can’t Say I Remember When I typed things like this…hmmm…believe I started doing it Like This As a Bit of a Lark and Then It Turned Into Habit :)

      • Kim Phillips

        @Narciso17 Really a turn-off. Discourages reading, both technically (typesetting-wise) and philosophically (hey, look at me! I can do capital letters!).

  • GRC

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Trey.

    Just yesterday one of my Twitter friends drove with four of her IRL friends from Savanah to Orlando just to meet me and my son. We got to know one another better & I feel very fortunate that this is not the first group of friends who have materialized in to real life friendships from Twitter.

    Especially in the chronic illness community, Twitter is the ONLY outreach some disabled people can capably handle and/or afford as physical travel is no longer an option for many.

    The poignant facts in your post are meaningful and heartfelt. I appreciate your authenticity and courage to share how you’re feeling.

  • AGBredux

    What a tragedy, so horribly sad. And what a great post. It’s important that this issue be raised now. I’m sorry for your loss Jay, and I’m saddened that so many people have lost sight of the fact that depression is a disease. When someone dies of cancer, we don’t question how or why that could happen. Depression is a disease and when someone succumbs to it, it’s maddening to know that there is not, as yet, a cure.

    This “world” we’ve created with social media is all smoke & mirrors (on its good days). There’s such nonsense running amok, and being fueled at the highest levels. It’s quite shameful, really.

    Telling is the notion of surprise being voiced online that someone, like Trey, with “so many” followers could feel so alone. Because 100k followers should be boosting his day? His sense of self? Really?

    We’ve put too much stock into the numbers game, and we’ve lost sight of real connections, I mean real (in real life) connections – not on the fly at a conference, not passing through a meetup, but real earnest friendships borne of shared experiences.

    I hope that everyone making a comment here will take a day, a full 24 hours, and disconnect from their virtual life completely, no email, no twitter, no facebook, no texting, no internet – and use that 24 hours to get back in touch with their real life, whatever it may be. Know someone who’s down? Do something kind! Kiss your family. Call an old friend. Make amends with someone, even if you still think you were right and they were wrong. Seek out new friendships in real life. And if you should feel that your life isn’t measuring up, or you’re trapped in darkness, don’t use social media to escape, please get help, immediately.

  • rarickmary

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying here, Jay. In fact, several of us pitched a BlogWorld panel on the topic. Still waiting to hear if we got in which leads me to believe we didn’t. Not enough people “get” the importance of in-person connections.

    A couple of years ago I set a goal to meet (in person) at least two new people a week. I have to say that the rewards of this commitment have been astounding. Last year I celebrated Festivus in the home of Cheryl Bledsoe, one of my Twitter friends, with a room full of other Twitter friends. I attended Andy Hayes session at BlogWorld last year; we subsequently connected online and then in person for a weekend retreat at Noland Hoshino’s (another Twitter friend) home. These are just two of many examples I can give of real friendships that have developed because we’ve taken the time to hang out in person and get to know each other.

    • Narciso17

      I’m Right Up You Alley of Thinking, @rarickmary – If Anything, The Panel Could be a *Starting Point* Of Where People Are Actually Taking Online Friendships to the Next Level…Could be a Reunion of Sorts…If It Goes Well, A ‘Reunion Tour’ Could be Started Where People Meet IRL Throughout The Country With This Kind of Panel in Mind…

      • rarickmary

        Great idea, @Narciso17 . I really like the idea of using panels as a starting point in general. Too often we go to conferences, sponge up information, exchange business cards before going home and returning to business as usual. I’m so sick of it.

  • xaotica

    “Social media forces upon us a feeling of intimacy and closeness that doesn’t actually exist.”

    When I was 15, my backpack was stolen from a little cafe that I went to every week. It was the first Seattle internet cafe and they had djs spin every Wednesday night. At the time, I carried everything I cared about in my backpack, and I didn’t have enough money to replace any of it. I returned the next week and was handed a card. ~15-20 people, many of whom I barely knew, some of whom I’d never met, had each chipped in money. It was enough for a new backpack, replacing the contents, and much more besides. They were people from a local music email list that I posted on regularly.

    That was my first experience with random people from the internet doing something to help me, but it was far from the last.

    Being close / intimate with people is not the only thing that determines whether you’d know if they were suicidal. Another factor is their willingness to be vulnerable. Brene Brown’s “the power of vulnerability” says it better than I could: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

    Becoming close to people is one way to increase your confidence that you’d know if they were having a serious problem. However, another way is to influence people to feel like it’s okay to speak out about topics like that — by doing it yourself. The more people are honest in their online personas, the more likely others are to feel like they don’t need to pretend either. I’m not saying that an online presence should be a constant stream of “I have a headache”, but I’ve known people who would completely omit mentioning major life events because the truth wasn’t hunky-dory.

  • netiquette

    Thanks for your thought provoking blog about good netiquette. I agree that most people don’t really know their online friends. The digital disconnect is great between how we interact online and in reality. It is good netiquette to know your social media friends.

  • netiquette

    Thanks for your thought provoking blog about good netiquette. I agree that most people don’t really know their online friends. The digital disconnect is great between how we interact online and in reality. It is good netiquette to know your social media friends. NetworkEtiquette.net

  • OnlineBusinesVA

    Wow, lots to digest. Thanks for generously sharing this useful info. Especially appreciate the acknowledgment that for social media, the goal may not be tens of thousands of fans but a few hundred solid ones. Online Business Virtual Assistant

  • amitabhlotus

    @sarahw @Bookgirl96

  • amitabhlotus

    @sarahw @Bookgirl96 electronic gadgets taking our attention away from the `real’ situations – Soren’s philosophy of `busyness’.

  • GayatriiM

    @gtinni “LinkedIn is for people you know, FB is for people you used to know, Twitter is for people you want to know.”
    Thanks for sharing .

  • franksting

    @Kimbo_Ramplin @Ant0ineH gutted

    • Ant0ineH

      @franksting @Kimbo_Ramplin it’s horrible !!!

      • franksting

        @Ant0ineH @Kimbo_Ramplin i thought you all cared

        • Ant0ineH

          @franksting but.. we do ! I think.. yes ? @Kimbo_Ramplin

        • Kimbo_Ramplin

          @Ant0ineH @franksting there’s a difference in caring about ppl & investing so much of your emotional wellbeing in SM-based relationship …

  • garious1

    Your questions make me rethink the definition of a ‘friend’ these days…. and I think, it’s all about knowing everyone worth knowing ( even a bot, haha). So, does Justin Bieber’s followers consider him to be their real friend? I’ve been wondering…

  • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ AmyMccTobin

    Even before this terrible news I thought a lot about this quick intimacy; I’d noticed that I’d get highly involved with someone on Twitter for a few days and eventually that connection would fade over time.In real life I’ve learned to be very wary of anyone who becomes your instant new best friend; it usually means they ditch friendships quickly too….

    I’ve made it my goal to actually meet a few of my favorite SM Connections every year and actually pursue Real Life phone calls with some of the connections I felt were deepening. At the end of the day it’s our job to make sure that our connections are REAL and substantive.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @AmyMccTobin Yes. Sometimes in social media it feels like we’re pinstriping a car while it’s moving, and that’s no way to build relationships of value.

  • HancockVanessa

    While there is fun and comfort connecting with others, I adore my face to face friends.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @HancockVanessa Me too. I’d like to hybridize the two a bit more.

      • HancockVanessa

        @JayBaer Agreed.

  • dusty_nutz

    @copyblogger great article. I’ve thought this for some time. A very fine line we all tread.

  • tab_b

    @1AwesomeMama I meant to comment on it as well. Brain not working today. I’ve been reading a lot of these, and I only half agree.

    • 1AwesomeMama

      @tab_b I partially agree. My personality makes me feel that connections are more intimate than they are. I usually end up disappointed.

      • tab_b

        @1AwesomeMama Yeah, same here. I half agree, but also know that some of my best friends are “online-only”. Not meeting “IRL” hasn’t hurt.

        • 1AwesomeMama

          @tab_b Yes. I, myself though, isolate myself. I haven’t hung out with a friend in person in ages. I feel like that’s bad.

        • tab_b

          @1AwesomeMama I don’t honestly have a lot of time to. Work, kids, husband, more work, etc…it can be pretty difficult. I’d like to more.

        • 1AwesomeMama

          @tab_b Yes there is that too.That’s why I’ve kinda thrown myself into the soccer team here. It is a chance to meet new peeps & connect.

        • tab_b

          @1AwesomeMama Yep – I’m in the same boat. Trying to get involved with stuff here as well. Otherwise it’s too easy to not socialize.

    • 1AwesomeMama

      @tab_b I feel like someone is a ‘friend’ when in essence, they aren’t. Just someone online….

      • tab_b

        @1AwesomeMama I think there’s something to be said about online friends. Sometimes the lack of drama is VERY helpful. Almost therapeutic.

  • http://toddrjordan.com/thebroadbrush Tojosan

    I consider it key to get ‘in person’ when possible. Third year of Friday Summer Tweetups just wrapped up. It’s never been about Twitter but about cultivating relationships. Real world relationships.

    The term friend has degraded value these days. Let’s see what we can do to move the other direction.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @Tojosan Indeed. That’s one of the things I love about Tweet-ups. That and the “you look just like your avatar” comments!

  • proresource

    @copyblogger –>SM & Intimacy, well written I ‘specially like – these chestnuts are passed around like a flu strain!

  • logosmith

    @aafromaa @jaybaer That is what I wish I’d been able to write.

    • jaybaer

      @logosmith @aafromaa Thank you.

  • MarketingMel

    I was so sad to hear of Trey’s untimely passing. I had the opportunity to meet him (and you and Mark) at SoSlam. What a class act. Thank you for writing this beautiful and thought provoking piece Jay.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @MarketingMel Class act is exactly right Mel.

  • JanellBauer

    @afblair Wish I could be a fly on the wall for this class!

    • afblair

      @JanellBauer Didn’t get to discuss today, having them read for Thursday…will let you know how it goes!

  • katpinke

    This is one of the best written blog posts ever, @jaybaer I am overwhelmed with communication in today’s world yet I do it for relationships. Real relationships. I invest time in people that expand my thinking and push me to improve personally and professionally. I invest time in people that I’ve built community with and those that become my real friends offline. There are a small percentage of people I have connected with on Twitter primarily that have become my offline “IRL” friends that I am forever grateful for. 90% of the others might read my personal blog and know of my kids, husband and our rural life but they don’t actually know me. For those real relationships and connections I have made online, I try to take offline. For instance I have a group on Facebook for rural women and we’re going to have regional meet ups for fun and to build our community offline. A large group of women from North Dakota that I’ve never met are going to come to my house all because of our online Facebook group. We share common values and they are not just going to be my online friends. I want real relationships and I will always focus on building those but how we go about it I agree needs to be focused and improved. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog post. I hugely respect and appreciate it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @katpinke No question you have done an exemplary job of taking it offline and fostering real relationships. You’re an inspiration Katie. And a hell of a sauerkraut expert.

      • katpinke

        And I hear you’re a big deal in South Dakota @JayBaer . Thank you again for making me pause today. I shared this blog post with all AdFarm employees and several have commented today. I also had lunch with my husband…and am leaving my home office earlier than usual to see my son’s football game tonight. Real relationships matter. See you at the Farm Fresh Tour this weekend.

  • PJProductivity

    I absolutely praise the sentiment here, but Jay, something’s amiss with this statement: “Clearly, most of us were not his friends, as his death came as a complete surprise despite the fact that he had a prior suicide attempt earlier this summer, and had been discussing his problems with confidants.” This presupposes that a suicide’s “real friends” DO know that a suicide is likely. But clinical depression is a highly insidious, cunning illness. It screws with brain chemistry so much that (A) the perception of reality is altered; (B) the brain chemistry is altered so much that the person literally cannot hold any thought other than “pain”; and (C) the sufferer is not capable of reaching out in many instances. As I wrote on my personal blog yesterday, it’s not a failure of will, of courage, of love for others, or of spiritual faith. It’s a disease, and one that seeks to perpetuate itself. In so many cases, there is *no* warning sign. It’s not that people weren’t paying attention, or that one wasn’t a friend of Trey’s unless they’re not surprised today. It’s that the illness is THAT deceitful. THAT overpowering. However, I do strongly agree with your basic thesis here: that social media encourages shallow connections. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. I value my connections to folks I’ve never met offline deeply, even as I realize the real world friendships I share are more valuable to me overall. I used to say “A friend is someone who’s there for you when it’s *not* convenient.” But the truth is there are many kind of friends. We should all put forth the effort to gain some perspective about the true nature of our attachments, and if the real world/intimately close kind are lacking, do something about it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @PJProductivity Excellent, excellent point. I was not in any way trying to minimize the importance of depression, or call out Trey’s close friends for not having a handle on the severity of the situation. Just pointing out that we think we know people because we read their tweets or their blogs, but we don’t really know them – bad or good.

      • PJProductivity

        @JayBaer Jay, let me be clear: I ABSOLUTELY KNOW you were not trying to minimize anything or cast aspersions on Trey’s offline/”real world” friends. I just know from hard, bitter experience that this is SUCH a difficult subject to talk about, SO tricky to navigate verbally the rocky shoals of stigma, blame, shame, and anger without tripping up once or a few thousand times. I believe that’s why the necessary conversations don’t really happen all that frequently – because they’re freakin’ HARD. Rock on, Jay – you’re doing your part to keep this particular conversation going and I for one am grateful, as I’m grateful for every heart-felt, honest post about this subject in the last few days. THIS is how we beat it.

  • http://joemanna.me/ JoeManna

    Jay, you make a compelling, poignant point about social media and the relationships we have with people through it. I don’t claim to have known Trey, but we’ve had a few exchanges on Twitter. I feel for his family and most notably his six children.

    I agree that while social media helps a few connections flourish, but a majority of connections are not as strong and personal as they could be. I do my best to be as close and personal with people, but I’d be lying if I shared every challenge and asked for help when I needed it.

    Thanks for sharing this, Jay. Trey Pennington will be missed by all of us.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @JoeManna Thanks Joe. You’re one of the people I never would have met if not for all this, and I count that as a big win.

  • JenStrickler

    Truly a great post Jay. A look inside you….your thinking…and a forced retrospective look at ourselves. Thank you for that.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @JenStrickler Thank you Jen. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  • tillypick

    Jay — You’re one of the best marketing leaders out there, and I’ve been observing many. You have a refreshingly honest and interesting approach for bringing together practical reality with thoughtful perspective and crazy-cool invention. Thanks for so openly sharing your craft and gift with us.

    tp

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @tillypick Thank you. I appreciate that. I try to be realistic, without being bombastic.

  • HilaryMooreLee

    Jay, that was an excellent article. I really connected with your words today. Thank you, Hilary.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @HilaryMooreLee Thanks Hil. I appreciate that. And I miss seeing you.

  • http://southfloridafilmmaker.com/ danperezfilms

    Jay,

    With this post, you’ve regained my attention :) Nicely written. You’re absolutely right. I didn’t know Trey personally. We chatted online a few times, he watched one of my documentary films and met the guy (a motivational speaker) the film was based on. He seemed like one of the really good guys on the social space so when I heard he had taken his own life, it really stunned me.

    We tend to think sometimes that our social media “heroes” (you know who they are) are somehow on a different level than we are. That they don’t have bills to pay, families to feed, challenges to face, and personal demons to fight off. Social media provides us such a small glimpse into a person’s life that, at the end of the day, we really don’t know much about the person at all.

    So what do we do? Maybe we should ask ourselves: Who are the people that I really know? That I trust? That love me? I think most of us will realize that THAT group is much smaller in size that our online “community”. Moreover, we’ll realize that most of our closest friends didn’t come about via twitter/facebook. And maybe we’ll even remember that despite the fact that relationships (even friendships) can be made on the social space, for most of us who don’t have “Social Media _______________” in our job title, looking to find meaningful relationships online is like building castles made of sand. And Jimi already told us what happens when we do that…

    Nuff said.

    • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ AmyMccTobin

      @danperezfilms Isn’t this true in REAL LIFE too? To me SM is just a magnification of how we rush through life and lose perspective. In Real Life others look like it’s so much easier for them….

      • http://southfloridafilmmaker.com/ danperezfilms

        @AmyMccTobin It’s not as easy to “rush through” a person sitting across from you, each of you with a cup of coffee in hand or maybe a sandwich…talking. SM makes the rushing and loss of perspective far easier because most of what we do online really isn’t urgent or even important…

        • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ AmyMccTobin

          @danperezfilms Yes, but I know keeping perspective is ALWAYS tough… that’s all just magnified online. I often get to know people on a deeper level after years of being ‘associates’ only to discover that they’re not as ‘together’ as I’d thought.

          We all have struggles, issues, etc. And unfortunately everything that is being said about Trey Pennington’s suicide by his SM ‘friends’ is exactly what people feel in Real Life when they lose someone the same way.

        • http://www.SocialMediaForSmartPeople.com/ prosperitygal

          @AmyMccTobin And why do we hold other’s to that expectation they be “together” before they are valued. It is no different than in face to face. I let go of expecting folks to be “together” a long time ago, we are all here to learn life lessons.

          Instead I ask how can we walk together in this journey and help one another reach our desired destinies.

          cc @danperezfilms @JayBaer

    • TOlenski

      @danperezfilms Loved your comments…so true! I always am saying this….do we really know the people we meet “on-line” and the answer to that is NO.

    • ken_rosen

      Jay, wonderful post and, yes, @danperezfilms Dan, seems you could have written it also.

      As I see the instructions under this comment space, “Type the ‘@’ symbol to tag your friends…” it make me wonder whether an early die was cast when social media sites picked the power word “friends” for contacts. I wonder, for example, whether the same pleasure areas of a user’s brain activate when they say “I have 500 LinkedIn Connections” versus “I have 500 Facebook Friends.” I’m not saying this is all language, but when people have 12 true real-life friends (or zero), I suspect the seduction of thinking they have 500 online friends (even if they’ve never met them) is powerful. They think, “I know these friends are different, but come on, 500!”

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @ken_rosen@danperezfilms You raise a great point about taxonomy and labels Ken. I may write a follow up post on that. Would you like to contribute?

        • ken_rosen

          @JayBaer@danperezfilms Jay, I’d be happy to contribute a comment to your follow-up post in any way you’d like. After all, a “friend” of Dan’s is a “friend” of mine. ;-)

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @danperezfilms Thanks for the comment, and sorry that I lost your attention. :)

      Paradoxically, I think it may actually be harder for social media consultant types to make deep relationships here, because so much of what you’re doing professionally is building audience. We say the numbers shouldn’t matter (Trey said it a lot, in fact). But the reality is that in my line of work, the numbers do matter. Less so on the consulting side, but on the author and speaker side, it matters plenty.

      • http://southfloridafilmmaker.com/ danperezfilms

        @JayBaer I got no problem with the social media consultants building an audience online. I know the numbers matter, that’s why I made the exception in my comment. The same could apply to musicians, writers, artists, and hey, even filmmakers :)

        Cheers.

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/ KDillabough

    The perspective-gaining question I asked myself, that is in line with your post:

    If it all “disappeared” tomorrow in terms of the online world of friends and community, what true impact would it have on my life? What would my days look like? Who would I mourn/ miss? Whose absence would I feel most acutely?

    To say we “know” someone because we’ve connected online is no more valid than saying we “know” someone because they’re our neighbour…or colleague…or acquaintaince. In everything in life I’ll take quality over quantity, and I, like you, will continue to cultivate “real friendships”, both online and off. This sad and tragic passing can provide us all a collective soul-searching time.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @KDillabough Great question, and one we should all ponder. If Twitter, FB, blogs and the rest disappeared, who would you miss? I’m going to give that some thought.

      • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/ KDillabough

        @JayBaer And I’ll be interested to hear the results of your pondering. I’ve been doing some serious thinking over the past 48 hours, in light of all that seems to be going on online: people questioning their role(s), “tiring” of certain things/tools, exhaustion from keeping up, untimely demise…

        And I was just listening to a radio program where people were talking about the incessant need we seem to have about being “on” 24/7: tweeting while standing in a queue, taking calls in front of in-person company and the like.

        For me, it’s not about “balance” because I don’t believe in balance. But I do believe in the ebb and flow, up and down of life, and I think I’ve been flowing too much in one direction, and the ebb is calling.

  • TOlenski

    Great post Jay!

  • karimacatherine

    I will add to your post because you basically said it all. I am one of the people that considered Trey a friend and never had met him, although he had promised we would soon. I guess, he was more troubled than we all suspected.

    You bring up a very interesting point. From my standpoint, many people love the fact that they are able to connect with many people, indulge in great conversations and count them as friends. But do we really go the extra mile to REALLY connect with them. Would we take the time to reach out to someone who sound different and/or who we know had troubles. Can we get passed that friendly indifference? Trey’s passing has been very sad for multiple reasons, one being, he had some many “friends” and connections, and yet, no one saw anything. Those who knew he was troubled probably did not see how much he was suffering. Those who suspected something were “shy” to say anything nor preferred to stay out of it because “it was not their business” .

    We don’t have a responsibility in the people we connect with but once we brand them FRIENDS, we have a partial accountability.

    Thanks Jay!

    • http://southfloridafilmmaker.com/ danperezfilms

      @karimacatherine Question is: Do you really wanna bother going the extra mile to connect with you 1000+, 5000+, or 10,000+ friends/followers? It’s foolish to even attempt it. Nor should we blame ourselves for not digging deeper into a “tepid” online relationship just because it ends in tragedy. You need so few “real” friends to get through life. Just my 3 cents…

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @danperezfilms@karimacatherine True Dan. As Gini says below, you can’t have that many “real” relationships. It’s not physically possible.

      • karimacatherine

        @danperezfilms : Actually, that is not what I said. The ones you connect with and you have a conversation with should be on that “friends” list. Otherwise, don’t call them friends.

        Also, this should only be observed on the online world. How many people you meet everyday, you talk to, you share with and you feel populate your life but you never take time to really know. Of course our lives are crazy and totally filled with many priorities. But, may be because I was deeply affected by the loss of my father at a very young age, I tend to value those I call my friends. Not everyone is my friend. Interestingly enough, my 5 yo daughter looked at my Hootsuite dashboard one evening and asked me if all of those people where my friends? I paused and responsed, NO. some of them are and I pointed them out to her. Only a dozen. But those, I care for. and I will go the extra mile for them. Although I haven’t met most of them. Same as in the off line world.

        @JayBaer

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @karimacatherine Thanks for taking the time to comment. It reminds me a bit of what they say at many weddings, where the people gathered there take on responsibility to ensure the couple stays together.

      • karimacatherine

        @JayBaer Everyone is different and has a different background. Every body”s story is different. SO from there we cannot assume that we all have the same way to look at relationships and value them. I am not saying that you have to be responsible for everyone you come in touch with but if you call someone a friend then, it is, to me, obvious that you will feel accountable.

        • http://www.SocialMediaForSmartPeople.com/ prosperitygal

          @karimacatherine @jaybaer I am gonna also add that it is our own responsibility to take them deeper.

          How many times have you met someone who you have not followed up with again? I am guilty of it.

          A dear friend yet we are not as close today we we were two years ago is @brianwiliams we took the time to not only meet face to face but I stayed with him and his family and count his children as nieces and nephews, yet I only get to see them once a year. Does that mean they are not valuable to me as my local connectstions and friends no.

          Because we have the ability to be a part of each others lives via online does not mean we need to diminish their value.

  • libbytalks

    I have met some of my Twitter and Facebook friends and count them now among my very best friends! Heather @AliveinMe stayed with my husband and I for 10 days and we bonded like sisters. Through her I met @MaryJTriviski who lives in the Twin Cities, about a 30 minute drive away. Mary and I are very close now and talk on the phone every day. I met @SumnerMusolf at a tweet-up and just helped organize the sending of flowers to his father’s funeral. Friendship is very important to me and though I have a lot of connections online, I treasure those who have become close, offline and on. I agree with what you’re saying and will work hard to meet more of my dear online friends when I can. I also have @997dave and his wife @rickietaylor in British Columbia who my husband and I want to visit on our next vacation. Dave and I Skype a lot and have a great affinity for each other and similar interests. Same with his wife Rickie. I believe that Trey, with the caring personality he had may have baffled many of his very closest friends by taking his own life. I’m so very sorry for everyone’s loss and most especially for him that he felt so alone. This world can be hard to bear sometimes. It’s important to share our feelings with our friends, whoever or however we know them — the good and the bad, for that makes for true intimacy — and it’s the only way anyone will ever be able to help us if and when we need it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @libbytalks@maryjtriviski@sumnermusolf@997dave@rickietaylor Good job Libby. I’m glad you’ve been able to create real connections from the digital soup. Bravo.

      • libbytalks

        You don’t know the half of it Jay….Adding new friends to my life all the time. I’m open and giving and let people get to know me…I guess you could say I take risks and the dividends are very great in friendship returned…Loved your post though @JayBaer it’s a heads up for all of us…and a challenge for how we want to live our lives online and off. For now is with a little help from friends: @jennyherner @AliveinMe @milaspage, @StephenCaggiano @Josepf, @angels510, @SuuperG, so many dear people who lead from the heart and who I call my friends.

  • shaunastacy

    Just like going to a party, you might meet someone with whom a friendship or romance is worthwhile, but more likely you will meet a lot of nice people and then leave. It is more critical than ever to hone your instincts to know what is worthwhile and to commit to priorities to avoid distraction. Great post, Jay!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @shaunastacy Thank Shauna. In a party, however, I feel like you at least get to know a bit more about people. We overlook the importance of non-verbal cues, which of course are usually missing in social media. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been doing more video, incidentally.

  • mcb1219

    It must be in the air today. But I don’t know if we are writing the same idea or polar opposites :) My blog post today: http://www.mcb1219.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/tweet-unto-others runs along the same thread as yours. I do connect in person with many of the people I communicate with online and they have valuable input in my life, both professionally and personally. And just a thought- I have many IRL friends that I don’t know every one of their kids personally or their favorite color, but they are still important to me.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @mcb1219 You raise a good point. You may not know everything about your IRL friends either, but there are people that you DO know everything about, and those are the ones that you can always count on (typically). We need more of those, and fewer Twitter followers, in my estimation.

      • mcb1219

        I’m not sure if we need fewer followers-although that is a matter of personal preference and everyone should be able to use it in whatever way works for them- just better time management and prioritization for the people in our real lives that depend on us for our daily interactions. But, you never know when you might touch someone’s life in the digital world and turn a bad day into a better one or share something that was important, educational, or meaningful to their lives.

        As an aside, I surmise that an individuals personality dictates the way they use social media. And sometimes those that can not come out of their shell around people, feel comfortable being themselves with a screen between them and the other person. (Oh my, I just had the image of a confessional- I feel a new blog post coming on)

        What may not feel valued by you or I may be exactly what another is seeking in their SM ventures. And what may be a vital part of who we are, but is not needed or recognized by those IRL, can be validated by those we interact with online.

        I feel for you as you struggle with recent events and this topic and am sure you will find just the balance you are looking for. Just remember, if it wasn’t for twitter, many of us would not have found this blog to even be able to have a conversation with you about it. I, for one, am happy to be thinking about things from your POV :)

  • jlysne

    Wow, I dropped off my kids for their first day of school this morning, had breakfast with my wife and came in to the office to start my daily routine (if there is such a thing). Jay, your posts always make me think about technology and communication, but this one made me think about life and what is truly important. I’ve been sitting here for about 10 minutes just pondering what you wrote. I keep coming back to one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard at a conference. @unmarketing was asked by someone in the audience how he balances his work and his family. His response was this: “Being a big deal isn’t a big deal if you’re not a big deal at home.” I think the quote goes further than that to our friends as well. Thanks for the post and the reminder.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @jlysne@UnMarketing Thanks Josh. That Scott Stratten character is an amazing talent, but what makes him special is he never loses sight of the big picture. Looking forward to seeing YOU in a couple days Josh.

  • KMRivard

    Freshman year of college, I received the shocking and painful news of a childhood friend’s suicide. It struck home, and made me think a lot about the friends and connections I had. I found myself wondering if I could have done something, if he could have reached out to me. The thing I realized is that our friendship, or lack thereof in the later years, had experienced a slow disintegration as we matured. Neither of us put in the work necessary to maintain that relationship, and eventually we each became people the other wasn’t familiar with. It wasn’t until I heard the news of his death that I realized what a lasting impact Michael had on my life, and what a shame it was that I let him slip by the wayside over the years.

    This post kind of shows the flipside to that. A new relationship requires just as much work and maintenance to allow it to grow into something deeper. I feel blessed, as I have several very, very good friends I have met over social media. I am touched by the amount of people who have turned from Twitter connections into true, lasting friends. At the same time, there are many, many casual relationships with Internet acquaintances. I’d consider them “friends” but my day-to-day life would not be greatly altered if they chose to remove themselves from social media.

    Social media is a starting point. The true relationships we build beyond it and behind it matter. And just like relationships that start away from Twitter and Facebook, they take work. Hard work. And empathy. (Trust me, I know. I’d be lost without the real-life friends that I met first via social media.) Thanks for sharing, Jay. As always, you’ve raised valuable and profound insight. Best wishes.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @KMRivard You said it so well. Social media is a starting point. I wish I would have included that line in my post, because it’s perfect.

  • http://mktgpress.com/ GRTaylor2

    Excellent post Jay. Social media has brought an abundance to my life. New thoughts, new thought leaders, people freely willing to share knowledge etc. But it wasn’t until I connected the dots between online and offline that I was able to enjoy some of the benefits.

    I’m grateful that here in AZ, we have places like @gangplank, Social media club and #EVFN where it makes it easier to bring the worlds together in both business and social settings.

    May Trey find his own peace now, I’m happy to have known him online but feel sad we were never able to meet in person.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @GRTaylor2 Indeed, AZ has been very good at adding 3 dimensions to online connections. There’s a real community and esprit de corps there you don’t find in most places. I miss that aspect of living there, to be certain.

  • nikki.jaschinski

    I am truly saddened to hear about your friend. However, I think that on some level our online relationships only reflect how we handle our relationships in real life. You might have hundreds of acquaintances but choose to spend your weekends with only a few friends and family.

    It can also be said that some people find real friends online and are able to overcome their inner demons, whereas in ‘real’ life they feel like an outcast.

    But all in all I think the true message of your story is that it is important to appreciate the people in your life and let them know they’ve made a difference.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @nikki.jaschinski Thank you Nikki. That is indeed where I was headed.

  • paolojr

    Great subject matter, and overall I’ve seen a tone of skepticism amongst my social media industry colleagues regarding the amount of time they put into networks versus the personal satisfaction they get out of it.

    That said, I believe this post pertains only to those who use social media professionally, either to network or as part of their jobs. Not everyone is white-collar or a marketer or use social media in any professional capacity. For the leftover population — the majority of people online — social media extends their “offline” relationships first and foremost. They gain loose connections through their offline networks (school, work) and friends of friends, but they socialize with their “true” friends online. I think the symptoms of “false intimacy” are self-inflicted industry painpoints and not felt broadly as this post implies.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @paolojr Excellent, excellent, excellent point. My wife read this post before I added it to the blog, and she didn’t really get it. Her friends ARE her Facebook friends. It’s almost a 100% overlap. For her, social media replaces the phone, it doesn’t create new connections. Thanks so much for bringing that up. Important difference, to be sure.

  • PaigeHolden

    Extremely well said, Jay. It’s been a while since I’ve been this moved by a post – so much so, I clicked through every link you suggested and read everything with intent. It’s easy to lose ourselves in social media from time to time. I have a few social media buddies who simply cannot shut it down. They are constantly online. They are successful at what they do, they say interesting things and they have a lot of friends and followers, which always made me feel left behind and not as accomplished. Maybe even a bit jealous if I was being completely honest with myself.

    But, even though I love social media, I’ve never been able to fully immerse in every network, every day. Perhaps I’m more introverted than most, but I have to shut it off sometimes to stay sane, even if I really enjoy the people I connect with regularly. I guess I always saw this as a flaw but, after reading your post, I have a few new thoughts:

    1. I’m cool with shutting down every once in a while.

    2. I have online relationships that I’m taking for granted. I need to get out and instigate some real-life meetups.

    2. There are a few long-term friends that I’ve put off for a few weeks because of work, play, travel, etc. When I get back from Cleveland, I’m calling them all for play dates.

    Thanks for the insight.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @PaigeHolden I’m glad it impacted you Paige. You’re headed in the right direction, if I can humbly suggest such a thing. Hope to catch up with you in Cleveland.

      • PaigeHolden

        @JayBaer Thanks, Jay. Looking forward to your panel.

  • http://jennifersroberts.com/ rideboulderco

    I was sorry to read about your friend, that sort of event would make me rethink the depth of my friendships, as well. But I would also suggest a couple of things, or maybe one thing and one question:

    people we think we know really well can still surprise us by the choices they make. (i.e. The outwardly loving couple who have been together for years suddenly calling it quits to their close circle of friends)

    maybe the idea of acquaintance needs to be updated to include the relationships that we develop online? They are slightly stronger than the occasional “hi ya” to the barista at the corner coffee shop but not quite as familiar as the one you may have with co-workers.

    all great friends once started off as acquaintances.

    thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @rideboulderco yeah, i had that happen this month too (with the friends getting splitting up). crazy times!

  • SusieSharp

    Jay, thank you. I strive to meet as many of my Facebook friends in person as I can (Bernie Borges is in town today for Content Marketing World and we’re trying to connect F2F) but you are absolutely right. I enjoy when someone posts a picture of their kid, or pet, or something that gives an insight into their personal lives, it helps me ’round out’ a connection. And while we all need to deepen our ‘real’ connections, we’re stuck with lots of less deep connections, too.

    My thought was this: Perhaps there is a way to use this terrible tragedy to educate, enlighten and raise the awareness of the general public on depression. Thirty years ago I struggled with it, and I escaped by chance. I was buried so deep I couldn’t see my way to put a hand out for help. Maybe if we erase the stigma of depression… that it’s something only weak people get, that it’s something one can ‘shake off’… It is a disease, not a mood or character weakness. If more people knew the symptoms, and could recognize the signs, perhaps one day someone in a position to help will extend a hand out to someone in need, and we might have helped prevent another such tragedy from occurring. If it helps to preserve the life of one being, it will have been worth it.

    Isn’t that what so many of us got into the social media bag to begin with? To help enlighten, educate and to help make this a better world? Let us use our social media Powers of Good to open up the issue, share resources, help share the knowledge that’s out there. We are a group that is uniquely equipped to make it happen in short order.

    Losing Trey was a terrible thing, and it occurred to me that it might be a fitting tribute if the social media powerhouses out on the innnerwebs could help make something productive come out of it. (I won’t say positive; it’s hard to say that word right now.). Yesterday I sent Facebook DMs to amber naslund , chris brogan and olivier blanchard to that effect. People skilled in social media wield great powers of influence, and a project like this has the potential be a great service to others.

    Just thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject. Peace, prayers and blessings to Trey’s family (and his dear cousin Rhonda), friends, co-workers, professional friends and fans.

    Susie Sharp

    Cleveland, Ohio

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @SusieSharp Thank you Susie. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Indeed, the responsibility is greater than any of us recognize.

  • teriel

    Hello Jay.

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

    But I disagree. It’s not social media’s fault nor is it technology. I see the same behavior you’ve mentioned above at in-person networking events. There are many people I’ve met at in-person networking events who I’ve gotten to know to some degree, but there’s still only a surface level knowing of the person.

    Social media makes this more apparent to us, but its always been there to some degree. There are only a few people in my life who know me in great detail and there are many people who know somethings, but not others.

    It’s a tragedy that someone can be so alone and yet so surrounded by people and yet I think it is indicative of a desensitizing of community. We aren’t really a community anymore, not in person and not even with social media.

    I think that can be changed, but it’s also very dependent on how much people want to really know about someone.

  • cakeduchess

    @mhchipmunk great post.

  • crackersblog

    @mhchipmunk I was just going to ask if you’d be our child’s godparent…

    • mhchipmunk

      @crackersblog well, of course! I mean, we did just meet on twitter a few months ago! ;-)

  • tillypick

    It’s not about one type of relationship over another (social media versus personal) but two very different kinds of dynamics. It so happens that one is so over-inflated right now that it is or may be at the expense of the other. Should we try to re-balance the two? Can we? It is a topic worthy of formal study — whatever happens will have profound impact on how we get along with each other over time. In the meantime, check around and see if we remain glued to or become unglued from smartphones in settings when we should be interacting with our immediate physical environments. Josh Bernoff was right a couple of years ago that, and I’m paraphrasing, social media is not about technology but a human trend and that it’s important to understand the trend rather than chase the technology. My take on that human trend is that social media is partially driven by human desire to fill a void, whether that’s love, self-worth, belonging, making a fast buck etc. and partially by us getting fired up about something we care deeply about and can’t get enough off. Add to that a little dose of humanity’s desire for pleasure, and what we have is a good thing maybe gone too far.

  • jaybaer

    @JGfromOC Honored to have you say that. Thank you.

  • http://www.heavier-than-air.com/ Steve Birkett

    I didn’t know Trey at all, but condolences to all those whose affected by his loss.

    The need to reflect on with whom we interact online – and how often – is clear. The opportunity to connect with so many, so quickly, clearly excited in the early years of social media, yet now we find ourselves at the maturity stage and asking who we really know, who we would go that little bit further for, who we should stop to understand a little better. Being spread across a large number of folks need not be a negative, so long as we can perform this regular sanity check and keep in closest touch with those who matter most.

    As with most issues in the digital realm, the key factor lies in being able to filter out the white noise of infinite communication and tune into true signal of those we’re drawn to most. Far easier said than done, of course.Thanks for your reflections, Jay.

  • http://www.heavier-than-air.com/ Steve Birkett

    I didn’t know Trey at all, but condolences to all those who are affected by his loss.

    The need to reflect on those with whom we interact online – and how often – is clear. The opportunity to connect with so many, so quickly, clearly excited in the early years of social media, yet now we find ourselves at the maturity stage and asking who we really know, who we would go that little bit further for, who we should stop to understand a little better. Being spread across a large number of folks need not be a negative, so long as we can perform this regular sanity check and keep in closest touch with those who matter most.

    As with most issues in the digital realm, the key factor lies in being able to filter out the white noise of infinite communication and tune into true signal of those we’re drawn to most. Far easier said than done, of course.Thanks for your reflections, Jay.

  • Wolfie_Rankin

    One of the other old chestnuts is that while people scoff at online friendships, there is sometimes cases like mine where people are stuck at home, possibly due to illness, and one of the few ways they have to connect with people is online The other problem is distance… I know I’ll never fly overseas, so the chances of meeting people in 3D from those places (I like that) is extremely low. I have got close to people though, and on the odd occasion I have spent time with them in “meatspace” (there’s another one) and had long conversations with them. If it hadn’t been for the internet, there’s a fair chance that I may have given HAM radio a go. I know that some social networks haven’t lived up to expectations and I’ve closed them down (I recently closed my LinkedIn) But I’ve had success with Second Life, Flickr, WordPress and especially Twitter. Had it not been for the internet people like myself may have been left with daytime TV and DVDs (urgh!).

  • Baligirlie

    @MarijanJett YO! How’s my GURL these days? Lol

    • MarijanJett

      @Baligirlie Well, how are you my sweet little sugar muffin? Doing ok these days, adjusting to a few things. :-p

      • Baligirlie

        @MarijanJett lol! Mee too! I’m bout to be a college kid again.. Never to old to start again.

        • MarijanJett

          @Baligirlie nice! I think i was supposed to start a new class yesterday. Need to get my ass in gear. So many things happening at once

  • wesunruh

    @KareemSimpson yes it can

  • microsupplyco

    @CreationSocialM I do think these virtual connections are worth while, if non conclusive & poss temp > re your tweet http://t.co/ezDdjFu

  • radinfo
  • WillyDMZ

    I think I understand both where Jay and you are coming from. Certainly in your case, the various internet tools modern society has brought us has benefited and enhanced your life. In my case, I have used various social media tools to meet up with and speak to friends I otherwise would have lost access to. I can understand Jay’s opinion that connections are a bit shallow online. As long as you make an effort to have real relationships with the people close to you though, I think that social media is a good place to make friends. Even with the enhanced commercialization of Facebook and other social media with all of the businesses listed at http://buyfacebookfansreviews.com that are geared towards promoting commercial entities, I think that Facebook can still be mostly a social tool for people and can enhance life if you use it the right way. Good luck with your illness Wolfie, I’ve been there and it can be upsetting.

  • DaveHowlettRhb

    The year: 1910
    The location: Farmhouse, rural area.
    The scenario: A telephone has just been installed in the main parlor.
    Characters: Daughter chatting on phone. Mother standing nearby, looking stern, arms crossed.

    Mother speaks: “I don’t know how on earth you can develop real, authentic friendships with that contraption. Why don’t you get your coat and boots on and walk the 5 miles down to your friend’s house!?”

  • HeidiCohen

    Jay–Thank you for writing this and calling our attention t the need to have deeper, old fashioned relationships. At the same time, it’s important to realize that those who need to reach out for help realize that there are people who are willing to help pull them out. Check out #UsGuys stream where people connect in real life. Sincerely, Heidi Cohen

  • 5minutesformom

    An insightful, important post Jay. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so openly and honestly.

    Yes, our online personas are different than the people we allow our inner circle to see – but that is a natural filtering that is appropriate and present in most aspects of life. Some details are private and intimate.

    Having said that, as a blogger I reveal some of my private struggles and I am starting to do more so. I have been afraid of people judging me when they find out I am not as “perfect” as I may appear to be online. Now that I am shedding some of those illusions, I feel much more free and connected to my readers and online friends.

    I don’t believe that in Trey’s situation that it was a case of social media leaving him alienated – rather Trey demonstrated how important and real his social media friends were to him. But clearly, Trey’s personal issues and mental struggles were so overpowering that no one could save him.

    I have a feeling that Trey’s social media friends were one of his greatest comforts and sources of strength. Obviously they were “with” him until the end — as seen by his tweet. He knew he was loved and it wasn’t enough. With depression and mental illness all the love in the world sometimes can’t save someone.

  • BenjaminHale

    My 2-cents:”The worst form of inequality is to make two things equal, which are not equal.” -AristotleAlmost nothing is evil, in and of itself. Applying what is right for one situation to another is evil. There isn’t anything wrong with connections, or even more connections, unless they are being prioritized over friends.”Friendship is one spirit in two bodies.” -SocratesA friend is not defined by proximity, physical or intellectual intimacy. But by the level to which you value the other person in relation to yourself. The absolute true friend will do anything (except an evil thing) to preserve the life or fundamental human rights of the other person, unless that person refuses to be helped, or has placed themselves outside of the possibility of help.”[There is a time for everything.]” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8All relationships aren’t handled the same way and shouldn’t be expected to be dealt with as such.[Your real friend is only who acts as such.] Luke 10: 25-37If you had known that Trey was about to kill himself, would you have gone far out of your way to prevent it, if at all possible? If so, then you were his real friend, whether you say that you were or not. Trey might have only kept his problems private from his online friends because in reality there may have been very little that any of them could have done to have affected the outcome of the situation in any way, and since that was the case, it wasn’t relevant to discuss it. He might have preferred to keep it private because perhaps he genuinely enjoyed the interaction he had with his friends online, and he didn’t want to put a damper on the good times that he was having by bringing an issue into it that really wouldn’t receive any realistic benefits from being discussed in that venue.[Being fearful of what people think is evil, and what you say doesn't matter - only what you do.] Matthew 21: 23-32Not to make this political, but social media shouldn’t be socialist media. People should be themselves, within bounds of good judgment and morality. We shouldn’t wear fake smiles and speak approvingly of one another, in order to maintain that elusive state of neutrality. Absolute neutrality doesn’t exist. If the reason why we don’t share what we have to say, is that we are simply afraid of what others will think, and how it will affect our business or popular perception of us, then that is a problem. That is quite a lot different than keeping details private because it is inappropriate or unprofitable to share them.

  • BenjaminHale

    My 2-cents:”The worst form of inequality is to make two things equal, which are not equal.” -Aristotle. Almost nothing is evil, in and of itself. Applying what is right for one situation to a situation that it doesn’t apply to, is evil. There isn’t anything wrong with connections, or even more connections, unless they are being prioritized over friends.”Friendship is one spirit in two bodies.” -Socrates. A friend is not defined by proximity, physical or intellectual intimacy. But by the level to which you value the other person in relation to yourself. The absolute true friend will do anything (except an evil thing) to preserve the life or fundamental human rights of the other person, unless that person refuses to be helped, or has placed themselves outside of the possibility of help. “[There is a time for everything.]” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8. All relationships aren’t handled the same way and shouldn’t be expected to be dealt with as such. [Your real friend is only who acts as such.] Luke 10: 25-37. If you had known that Trey was about to kill himself, would you have gone far out of your way to prevent it, if at all possible? If so, then you were his real friend, whether you say that you were or not. Trey might have only kept his problems private from his online friends because in reality there may have been very little that any of them could have done to have affected the outcome of the situation in any way, and since that was the case, it wasn’t relevant to discuss it. He might have preferred to keep it private because perhaps he genuinely enjoyed the interaction he had with his friends online, and he didn’t want to put a damper on the good times that he was having by bringing an issue into it that really wouldn’t receive any realistic benefits from being discussed in that venue. [Being fearful of what people think is evil, and what you say doesn't matter - only what you do.] Matthew 21: 23-32. Not to make this political, but social media shouldn’t be socialist media. People should be themselves, within bounds of good judgment and morality. We shouldn’t wear fake smiles and speak approvingly of one another, in order to maintain that elusive state of neutrality. Absolute neutrality doesn’t exist. If the reason why we don’t share what we have to say, is that we are simply afraid of what others will think, and how it will affect our business or popular perception of us, then that is a problem. That is quite a lot different than keeping details private because it is inappropriate or unprofitable to share them.

  • BenjaminHale

    My 2-cents:”The worst form of inequality is to make two things equal, which are not equal.” -Aristotle. Almost nothing is evil, in and of itself. Applying what is right for one situation to a situation that it doesn’t apply to, is evil. There isn’t anything wrong with connections, or even more connections, unless they are being prioritized over friends.”Friendship is one spirit in two bodies.” -Socrates. A friend is not defined by proximity, physical or intellectual intimacy. But by the level to which you value the other person in relation to yourself. The absolute true friend will do anything (except an evil thing) to preserve the life or fundamental human rights of the other person, unless that person refuses to be helped, or has placed themselves outside of the possibility of help. “[There is a time for everything.]” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8. All relationships aren’t handled the same way and shouldn’t be expected to be dealt with as such. [Your real friend is only who acts as such.] Luke 10: 25-37. If you had known that Trey was about to kill himself, would you have gone far out of your way to prevent it, if at all possible? If so, then you were his real friend, whether you say that you were or not. Trey might have only kept his problems private from his online friends because in reality there may have been very little that any of them could have done to have affected the outcome of the situation in any way, and since that was the case, it wasn’t relevant to discuss it. He might have preferred to keep it private because perhaps he genuinely enjoyed the interaction he had with his friends online, and he didn’t want to put a damper on the good times that he was having by bringing an issue into it that really wouldn’t receive any realistic benefits from being discussed in that venue. [Being fearful of what people think is evil, and what you say doesn't matter - only what you do.] Matthew 21: 23-32. Not to make this political, but social media shouldn’t be socialist media. People should be themselves, within bounds of good judgment and morality. We shouldn’t wear fake smiles and speak approvingly of one another, in order to maintain that elusive state of neutrality. Absolute neutrality doesn’t exist. If the reason why we don’t share what we have to say, is that we are simply afraid of what others will think, and how it will affect our business or popular perception of us, then that is a problem. That is quite a lot different than keeping details private because it is inappropriate or unprofitable to share them.

    • KarlaHogan

      @BenjaminHale Very good insight.

  • jaybaer

    @DerekTac Thank you Derek!

  • BenjaminHale

    I’ve been thinking about this article more today, and I want to come back and leave another comment:Jay, I deeply respect you having the boldness to speak your heart on this subject. Even though I have a slightly different view on a few of your points, I do actually agree with the spirit of your article, and I think the details aren’t as important as the main point you made. I think your response is probably about as good of a response as we could have in the Social Media community. I’ve been talking about this point for some time, and I’m sorry that the wake-up call for the community-at-large is coming as the result of such a horrible tragedy. I just hope that there isn’t an un-beneficial over-swing by the community too far in the opposite direction. I think a brief initial over-swing is to be expected, as with almost any necessary transition, but finding balance is what we have to do. My article wasn’t intended as a contradiction to yours, but as a complementary one. I’ve been talking about this subject for a while and have been really thinking about it, so I just want to help out now that the issue has hit the mainstream.Anyway, I just want to close by saying that I truly respect your comments and insight on this issue that you’ve shared with us. Your honesty and frankness are refreshing and I hope to see much more of this. Let’s not allow this tragedy to wake us up for a few pleasant days, just long enough to remember that we have a conscience and good hearts, but let’s let it wake us up all the way, and let it change our lives for good. I sincerely hope to hear from you sometime, and hope to see more of these fantastic articles. You have made a new subscriber here and I’m looking forward to checking out your articles.

  • rufusevison

    I strongly agree with this and always have. I follow on tritter people I know and have met (with one exception). I have around 60 outstanding LinkeIn requests because I do not link to people i do not know. I never joined facebook and am only tentatively on Google+. That said I have met people online and had meaningful relationships with them of all types. When I wanted to find out about getting a book published I found one of my favourite authors online and we have since developed meaningful interaction off line. I don’t want to follow lots of people, nor to be followed by them. I do want to know good people. My linkedIn network is full of good people. If someone I know wants an introduction to one of them I do it out side of LinkedIn, even though it is there that they found out it was worth asking me. To make money it is probably quantity that matters but for life I feel it is quality that I prefer.

    • Wolfie_Rankin

      You’re right, I often see people chasing huge numbers of followers, and I don’t know why. There’s something that goes, I’d rather have one true friend than a thousand fair-weather ones. I have got around 1300 twitter followers, and it startles me a bit, I’m rather shy, so suddenly finding this many people following me is quite something… but I find myself talking within a circle of good, kind, respectful people. It’s lovely, I prefer quality too, seconded!

      About a month ago, a few of us met in a local park and made pancakes on the park BBQ, In this country pancakes are seen as a dessert rather than breakfast, and we had them with all kinds of toppings till we (and my dog) was stuffed. It worked well (we spent most of the time laughing) and we’re hoping more people can come along next month

  • http://www.ultimate-small-business-tools.com/ NatBouchard

    Jay, your article is touching me and make me think. I am a newbie in social media struggling to know if I am writing to my “real” circle or to the connections of my business. I grew up been said it is not the number of your friends, it is the quality of each you have. With social media, this principle seems to be reversed and you feel that you are push to connect with more and more people. As I get older I count less and less friends but they are definitely the gem I ever had. We seem to have less time with each other; each get together becomes more precious than ever. However, connecting in social media seems to fulfilled this lack, in a certain way. We exchange “news” on a regular basis and it helps until the next “real” meeting.

    On a business prospective, social media gives a great opening door to reach and to help more people. It is making me feel great just to think of the potential it represents. How to do it without becoming an impersonal connection is the challenge. We are still adapting to this web-generation of connecting to each other. I believe that business people can generate a personalize online service with thousands of “friends” if what they deliver is deep honest quality content.

    In regard of your friend Tray, I am really sorry. Unfortunately, there was and, I am afraid, there will always be friends or relatives, who wouldn’t be able to reach one hand for help. It is a tragedy for the ones left behind and who feel they could try to do something if they knew. It is sad to think that you might be thousand of them left behind who feel they could help him. I don’t think we really socialize differently than before social media exist, we just do it with more people and Tray seems to be a proof of it. The positive point is that more people are aware of that kind of situation and the mass may find a solution quicker. I hope you are right, that social media may find a solution better than what we have done in the past with our “lonely” individuals who can not make their own room in our society!

  • http://www.homesinpanoramahills.com/ soukoun

    Love this quote: “Social media makes a big world smaller.”

    However, this quote really sums it up: “To my friend Trey Pennington, one of the worst things about social media is we can be surrounded by so many and still feel completely alone.”

    Very good Article.

  • http://expatdoctormom.com/ ExpatDoctorMom

    Dear Jay

    I say this kindly: some/?much of this post is the impact of Trey’s death which is tragic. It has had an impact on you and the rest of the people who knew Trey. And it has made you rethink the intimacy scenario and what you do and don’t want. A lesson from this crazy thing called life.

    I did not know him but feel a sense of sadness (100,000 followers, a family, well liked… unfathomable that he is gone)

    You are right to some extent when you say: Social media forces upon us a feeling of intimacy and closeness that doesn’t actually exist. But I like it even better when you say:…” And that is social media’s fault and more so our own. So good for you for making an effort.

    I feel like some of the people I have “met” online are closer to me than some of those I know in person.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post!

    Rajka

  • mitchjoel

    We need to be somewhat careful here. Trey’s tragic death should not be confused with how “real” and “authentic” we are online (or how well we know someone). When someone commits suicide it’s an irrational act and trying to put a rational mindset around it is impossible. I know many people who have sadly committed suicide and I knew them in their offline lives only… people who do things like this actually tend to hide it quite well from others… furthering the irrationality of it.

  • natmich

    Thanks Jay for such an interesting and thought provoking post! I think this issue of how social media is changing the development of relationships is really fascinating and worth thinking about. My personal take is that we still haven’t gotten to the point where an online relationship is a replacement for a well-developed in-person one. That said there is some real new power in the ability it has given us to network more easily and hold on to relatively weaker social ties we would otherwise lose (due to time, geography, etc). So while we may at any time really only have those 150 (or however many you believe is possible) “true” and deep connections, we are able to switch them up much faster now (as we change locations, etc) and draw from a greater and more well-maintained pool of them.

  • mainegirl5

    Sometimes even my real life friends surprise me. One who I considered my best friend had her baby and I didn’t hear from her or her husband for a month. I searched out and contacted her mother in another town when I began to worry about her wellbeing. I wasn’t that close to her husband so I thought if anything had happened to her, I might not be told for quite a while. This was a woman who came to the hospital the day after I had my third child so I couldn’t understand why she hadn’t called me yet.

  • rufusevison

    mainegirl5 Sometimes people need to rest and rcuperate after a birth. She may have found, unexpectedly, that she was not up to visitors. I told my mum in advance that I would not let her know when the baby was born as we would need space. Perhaps it says how much she respects your coping with your kids that she did not wish to appear in a bad light?

    • mainegirl5

      You know the odd thing about it all is that we were talking recently (8 yrs later) and she thought I had come to the hospital to see the baby. I’ve never told her my concerns about her (did something happen to her? to the baby?) during that time. I do know her much better now and realize that even close friends won’t or can’t always reveal or share everything in their lives. I can respect that now. There is a certain place in that friends life that they can enjoy you, and vice versa. When you understand this you won’t be disappointed in your expectations of the friendship. For example I don’t like to call any of my friends on the weekend because they are with their families. My husband works from home so the weekends aren’t as special to us, but I know that it’s different for others when their children haven’t seen their father for a week. @rufusevison

      • rufusevison

        @mainegirl5

        I can see that. I always ensure I see my kids during the week but some things I do keep for weekends. That said I do particularly like to see my friends at weekends and my kids (2 and 5) enjoy it too.

        I seem to sometimes be surprised by finding out that people I have only ever seen a handful of times over a period of years suddenly refer to me as a close friend. I guess you can never get inside someone else’s head to understand what they are thinking. ..

  • NSchoenberger

    Great thought provoking stuff here Jay. I too lost a friend to suicide and while social has brought me to many really great people like any relationship it is what you make of it and how close you let them in to your life and what you share. I do not think it is dependant of whether you have been to someone’s home or met other people in their life it is what you mean to that one person and what they mean to you.

  • kakp

    @KyleStuef I thought about this after, 1 thing we didn’t touch on was internet dating. Forming a connection online before real life meeting

  • http://groovypinkblog.com/ KlaudiaJurewicz

    thank you Jay for sharing that with us.

    Your comment: “know more and more people, but know less and less about each of them.” – yes that true we know more and more people, thanks to technology we are able to connect with people from all over the world. We have hundreds, if not thousands of “friends” on Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/etc. – but in my opinion those are people we know and interact with by sharing content/having conversation/working together/etc. Among them we have those close friends (you mentioned about) those who know about our lives/kids and town.

    The number of people we know is bigger because of the technology but the number of close friends – I’m not so sure.

    It depends on us.

    I’m glad I can use technology, thanks to it I was able to know people I consider as Friends…so at the end of the day it’s all about the way we use that technology…

  • WhitneyPannell

    I too was shocked with Trey Pennington . He seemed to always be upbeat and full of insight , but then I again I didn’t truly know him. His family has certainly been on my mind a lot lately!

  • douglaskarr

    Well said, Jay. I feel like I need to wipe out the word ‘transparency’ out of my speeches and conversation and, instead, continue to use the word ‘persona’. The fact is no one really knows me online… they know the side of me that I want them to. That doesn’t mean I’m hiding anything, it just means that we all act differently online.

  • PRCog

    @jasmollica Ty sir :)

  • letstalkandchat

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/

  • sfriedman

    This post hits on a theme that is running though our society at all levels. Technology, and the tools it provides, are beginning to substitute for personal relationships. The same topic can be applied to our use of smartphones, with their ability to text instead of having to speak. Your average teenager (and older) can text 1000′s of times a month, but probably has relatively few actual conversations, relatively speaking, with another person. When was the last time you remember writing a letter, on paper, and mailing it to a friend or family member? Now, we just shoot off a couple of lines, without much thought, in an email, or, worse yet, in a text or a tweet. We are missing something at a personal connection with our friends and family when so little thought/effort goes into communicating with them on that personal level.

    • PJProductivity

      @sfriedman I think it might be true that some folks don’t utilize new media to communicate deeply, but that has to do with the person and not the technology. I don’t think the ease of communication makes personal connection harder or nonexistent. If anything, in my experience, the ease of communicating has made it easier to connect. I get your point, I just don’t think the “it was so much better in the olden days” thing is valid.

      • mcb1219

        I was sitting here thinking the same thing. Was pondering sfriedmans’s teen comment…

        “Back in the day” I could only talk to my friends in school and was occasionally allowed to tie up my parents phone line. If we didn’t make a plan by the end of the school day on Friday, we probably weren’t doing anything together for the weekend, I think that grammar and spelling have taken a huge hit, but as far as relationships, teens are much more connected and social than I was ever able to be.

        I was always awful about paper mail/letters, but I am much more efficient in staying connected to friends and family now using what’s available in this new digital age. We’re still feeling our way around like toddlers, but eventually we will all hone this communication dynamic. Posts such as this that engage us in discussion about how we’re doing it are a great start.

        I think you said it very well PJProductivity- it depends on the person. Personality, experience, age and views of social media uses play a role in how effectively, or not, that we communicate.

        • PJProductivity

          @mcb1219 Muy elocuente, amiga. You’re undoubtedly correct that there’s some generational aspect at play here.

        • http://about.me/Otir Otir

          @PJProductivity@mcb1219 This is definitely a very interesting conversation and timely points of view for me, as I experienced recently how eloquent and mature my own teenage boy was in a situation that was emotionally draining and difficult to handle: in a social setting, he did not shy from expressing himself.I would have never bet on such skills given the intensity of texting and typing, chatting and skyping that have replaced the “good ole’ hanging out in the backyards of my times…

          Let us not forget also, the fact that youngsters have the ability to connect in a cross-generation way through social media nowadays: ages are not the barrier anymore: people connect with like-minded, around the same area of interest, and they have the possibility to meet people with different experiences, different backgrounds, different ways: this is making the relationships richer, even if the “intimacy” of it has taken a different meaning.

        • mcb1219

          It is so true @Otir @PJProductivity that the gender, age, race and other social biases are partially removed through social media (It’s one of the reasons I’m such a big fan of twitter). We can base our opinions of someone based on thoughts and content sharing rather than appearances. We are now “judging the book” by what’s inside. Being able to show our children and ourselves how people live outside of our box has been such a gift, especially for people who may never move outside of their own small circle IRL. The only caution I have to myself and my friends and contacts about social media in the aspect of relationships is to not engage online to the detriment of our physically present families who need our interaction to thrive.

          Otir- how wonderful to have been able to experience such positive skills. Perhaps hanging out in many people’s digital backyards is actually just as useful as being out on the playground when it comes to learning how to handle life’s crap…uhhh, I mean situations. :)

  • jaybaer

    @heidicohen Thanks Heidi.

  • Ilana221

    I know it’s been a while since you wrote this but I just reread it as I think about writing a blog post about the “being human” part of social media. The fact is that we may not know our social media friends as they truly are but it’s rare that we know our real world friends — really know them — either. Maybe there are 1 or 2 people who we feel we know really well but virtually no one reveals everything and people are not predictable, so you’re bound to be surprised by even your close friends once in a while. There are circles of friends in social and in real life from the close emanating out to the bare acquaintances. My closest friends moved away 15 and 20 years ago and the relationship can never be the same. I know it was a blow to many when Trey committed suicide. That kind of thing makes us question everything we know but the truth is, we really never know what goes on in the minds of other people, even when we are close. Social media “friends” give us the opportunity to find a far flung person and bring that person close, in spite of the legions of false friends that we create in the process.

  • JonathanSteiert

    Jay,

    How coincidental that on the day we have our first correspondence on twitter (as complete strangers) you repost this poignant article. The entire reason I reached out to you and shared your content is because of 3 things: 1. You produce incredible work 2. You have great experience and influence 3. (Perhaps most importantly) You appear to be a genuinely good guy.

    When I honestly reflect on the impact of your words from this post, I do understand that what you’ve stated are ideas long echoed by those not as involved (or enthralled) in or by the technology and social landscape. I like social media because I like people, branding, technology, design, writing, etc. But I can really only point to one relationship where I would call some one my friend outside of the online world. Someone that had we met in real life, away from twitter, we’d get along just as well. It’s a quiet realization, one certain folks might not enjoy to discover. But it’s real, no denying that.

    I still believe that these online medias can open doors to new people in the real world. The next step where we build real, healthy relationships is occasionally the part where we drop the ball. It’s difficult when maybe it turns out that these people aren’t the folks we believed them to be on Facebook or the personality we loved on YouTube. So it’s time to focus on local communities once again like Gary Vaynerchuk has been harping on. These are the folks we have a better chance of building an honest relationship with. But please don’t get me wrong, Jay- I’d still like to meet face-to-face one day.

    • Doug Cohen

      @JonathanSteiert What you said.

  • LindaRogers

    Great post. 
     
    In the early days of the web, one of the things I loved about the new medium  was the frequency with which web conversations led to some very deep shared one-on-one conversations.  I have often thought about why this was.  I think that it was both the newness of meeting people from around the world who shared various interests and also it was a result of the simplicity and narrowness of the tools.  Maillists and discussion forums (when they came along) were so simple that hosts tried to keep people “on topic” with great zeal and so any off-topic conversation also went off-list quickly and little one-on-one email talks were the result.  I really miss those days. 
     
    Something seemed to be lost when huge forums and blogging became the norm and then social media emerged.  There is now a public place for every sort of conversation and we all have our own little personal public salons for communication: blogs, Facebook, etc.  That leads to every conversation feeling like chatting in an airport or public cafe, conversations in transit and in public with who knows how many people listening in.  It is the opposite of depth and focus on the other. I belong now to only one huge forum and I do enjoy the conversations there.  However in the more than 10 years I have participated there, the only times someone has emailed me has been when some brouhaha has erupted and they’ve dropped me an email to give me hell or commiserate. 
     
    What I have found in my 7 years of involvement in virtual worlds is a return to some small community online.  I host a concert series in Second Life and some of the musicians and audience members who attend events really have become friends over the years. There seems to be something different about the sense of being proximate and also the medium leads to frequent one-on-one conversations that spring up by serendipity.

  • sandrinecharles

    @ericadaloia very interesting article!

  • Anjali

    We cannot be 100% sure of the people both online and offline but, as people get more trust and security on virtual networks so are getting inclined towards social networks more. An interesting infographic is available www[dot]frydaypoll[dot]com

  • farrahhcollins

    You guys hear of http://www.formvote.com ?

  • ron_sparks

    To be honest most of my real friends don’t talk to me much online, and thats just fine, they are not in the same fields as me. This does remind me I need to call a friend I have who is feeling pretty depressed.Weather its social media or real life, the feeling of being alone is not connected to the number of friends you have but the ones that know you enough to stay with you even when you want to turn them off.
     
     

  • joegriffin

    @jaybaer I’m not your friend list!? Boooo :)

  • RussLoL

    @josealbis @SusanJones Thanks for the RT and understanding.

  • sick of it

    Ha. I don’t know how to change my name, but my name is Tamara and Thank you for this post. I am so glad that I stumbled across it, because I feel the very same way, especially since I have a husband who has become so engrossed in social media and his on-line “friends” that he seems to have very little time and interest in his family. While even my teenagers have seemed to discover the importance of face to face, intimate relationships and have minimized their friends list to people they know and spending real, quality time with people, my husband becomes further and further distant from myself and our family.

    All of his spare time is spent interacting with his online “family” whom he has even openly expressed his love for! I’m having a very hard time with this, because how well does he know any of them, really? I am pretty sure that none of his online “family” would be willing to help pay his bills, wash his laundry, cook his dinner, hassle on the phone with creditors or any of the daily mundane tasks that are required of a “real” relationship and a “real” family. Quite frankly it is extremely hurtful, especially that he believes that he LOVES these people and definitly spends much more time with them than with me. I have found myself begging him to include me! How pathetic is that? I AM interested too. I want to be able to communicate with him too. He is my husband for gawds sake! Yet, he shares virtually NOTHING with me and he won’t even accept me as a friend on fb, and then becomes angry if I even ask about his online “friends”. So to say that he LOVES hundreds of virtual strangers is extremely offensive to me. I think it is much more accurate to say that he loves how having hundreds of friends makes him feel.

    Additionally, if I try to say anything to him about his online “family” the wrath I endure from him is unbearable to say the least, and so I have learned to say nothing. In the meantime, he seems to have traded in a real life for a phony life on fb to the point where he won’t go anywhere with us, or do anything with us as a family. It is disheartening, distancing and hurtful. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media for the fact that I can interact easily with family and friends that I haven’t seen in years, but I think there is a problem when a person will trade their “real” life in for a bunch of virtual strangers. It’s easy to always show your best and be your best when you are the one picking and choosing what others see and know about you. My husband doesn’t seem to get that…..

  • nichoosss

    ho…great thought…this help me to do ma seminar wellll……..

  • Henry Westwood

    Am Mrs Bruce,i have a lovely family with 3 wonderful kids whom i love so much with Mr Bruce my husband i love him so much.trouble started when he went for a vacation in Canada and my husband refused to come back home,i try know what the problem was but he will not tell me. one day i was reading some testimony in the internet i read how a woman cast a spell on a man and the man came back home, for me i don’t know that they used spell.i contacted this man that i saw in the internet, he said send me the name and the photograph and after 4days your husband will come back to you. indeed after 4days my husband came back and was asking me what went wrong.today the family is back again, am grateful to God and dr abaka. his contact is abakaspelltemple@gmail.com

  • Henry Westwood

    Hello, my name is Angela Denise, I’m from Canada. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is genuine and real. I never really believed in any of these things but when I was losing Garvin, I needed help and somewhere to turn badly. I found consultant.ogun spells and i ordered a love spell. Several days later, my phone rang. Garvin was his old self again and wanted to come back to me! Not only come back, the spell caster opened him up to how much I loved and needed him. Spell Casting isn’t brainwashing, but they opened his eyes to how much we have to share together. I recommend anyone who is in my old situation to try it. It will bring you a wonderful surprises as well as your lover back to you. The way things were meant to be.” you can contact the spell caster on oguntemple@gmail.com he’s very nice and great spell caster he can help you solve any problem contact him on his email:oguntemple@gmail.com

  • Henry Westwood

    Am Mrs Bruce,i have a lovely family with 3 wonderful kids whom i love so much with Mr Bruce my husband i love him so much.trouble started when he went for a vacation in Canada and my husband refused to come back home,i try know what the problem was but he will not tell me. one day i was reading some testimony in the internet i read how a woman cast a spell on a man and the man came back home, for me i don’t know that they used spell.i contacted this man that i saw in the internet, he said send me the name and the photograph and after 4days your husband will come back to you. indeed after 4days my husband came back and was asking me what went wrong.today the family is back again, am grateful to God and dr abaka. his contact is abakaspelltemple@gmail.com

  • Bre

    I think this story shows the truth that everyone knows yet ignores. People are coming to think they have so many friends when in reality only a few of those people really have their back. People are calling strangers, “friends” when they’ve talked to each other in person maybe a few times. The true definition of “friend” is being lost.

  • Brennen McCulley

    I truly believe that social media is going to kill society, because no one has the guts anymore to say anything to anyone”s face that could mean a lot more than saying it through a message on Facebook or posting a Tweet. It’s ridiculous how no one can just talk anymore.

  • Lucy

    I dated a guy for about six months, I totally feel happy whenever i am with him. We got along great never fought but one night, i had much drink on me and then got a little jealous and then embarrassed him in front of his female friends, Because of that he broke up with me right there. For the first week i tried to do everything in my power to get him back but all were in veil. Till a friend introduce me to this great man called Dr.Grant of grantingheartdesiresspell@gmail.com. I was surprise when Dr.Grant told me that my lover will come back to me within 3 days. But the good news is that my lover is really back to me now all thanks goes to Dr.Grant. Contact Dr.Grant on grantingheartdesiresspell@gmail.com

  • mis

    Excellent. Social media ruins relationships&true bonds. Its ego. If fcebook friends are ur friends? Ud mke the effort to actually communicate in person. All social media enables excuses to NOT be real :/

  • NATALIE*

    L*oVE* this~*. And whole heArtedly agree, it is the true, small, connections that can last a lifetime~. That even large connections can be real, but are vastly different than knowing someone in a truly real life way. Internet is real, & I love it, but it’s not reality, in sharing time. We must all start sharing time, & realizing that a lot of people feel completely lonely, outside of iNternetlAnd, because all connections can’t possibly seem or feel real when at the end of the day, they’re just not. 3D. So thank you so much for this writing~. Your digitAl* friend ~*, Natalie*

  • Sam

    I found this elsewhere on the Web:

    “Researchers found that the number of Facebook friends and wallposts that individuals have on their profile pages correlates with narcissism…[and] is
    consistent with how narcissists behave in the real-world, with numerous
    yet shallow relationships.”

    • Keith Cassinger

      Wow, how true Sam, how true. Thanks for the quote!

  • james

    I NEVER BELIEVED IN LOVE SPELLS UNTIL I MET THIS WORLD’S TOP SPELL
    CASTER. HE IS REALLY POWERFUL AND COULD HELP CAST SPELLS TO BRING BACK
    ONE’S GONE,LOST,MISBEHAVING LOVER AND MAGIC MONEY SPELL OR SPELL FOR A
    GOOD JOB.I’M NOW HAPPY & A LIVING TESTIMONY COS THE WOMAN I HAD
    WANTED TO MARRY LEFT ME 2 WEEKS BEFORE OUR WEDDING AND MY LIFE WAS
    UPSIDE DOWN COS OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN ON FOR 2YEARS… I REALLY
    LOVED HIM, BUT HIS MOTHER WAS AGAINST US AND HE HAD NO GOOD PAYING JOB.
    SO WHEN I MET THIS SPELL CASTER, I TOLD HIM WHAT HAPPENED AND EXPLAINED
    THE SITUATION OF THINGS TO HIM..AT FIRST I WAS UNDECIDED,SKEPTICAL AND
    DOUBTFUL, BUT I JUST GAVE IT A TRY. AND IN 7 DAYS WHEN I RETURNED TO
    USA, MY GIRLFRIEND(NOW WIFE) CALLED ME BY HERSELF AND CAME TO ME
    APOLOGIZING THAT EVERYTHING HAD BEEN SETTLED WITH HIS MOM AND FAMILY AND
    SHE GOT A NEW JOB INTERVIEW SO WE SHOULD GET MARRIED..I DIDN’T BELIEVE
    IT COS THE SPELL CASTER ONLY ASKED FOR MY NAME AND MY GIRLFRIENDS NAME
    AND ALL I WANTED HIM TO DO… WELL WE ARE HAPPILY MARRIED NOW AND WE ARE
    EXPECTING OUR LITTLE KID,AND MY WIFE ALSO GOT THE NEW JOB AND OUR LIVES
    BECAME MUCH BETTER. IN CASE ANYONE NEEDS THE SPELL CASTER FOR SOME
    HELP, HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS;okutemple@hotmail.com ……HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT OUR OPPORTUNITY … CONTACT THIS GREAT SPELL CASTER VIA EMAIL:okutemple@hotmail.com

  • cindy kylie

    I am so very happy today of such exciting news. My heart is feel with much joy because of you kizzekpespells@outlook.com, you are truly a blessing to me and others. You make our life more joyful and peaceful, loving in every-way, so happy I found you in time. God gave to you a gift to help all who are in need of a BLESSING. Again thank you, Dianne”

  • DIANNE

    I am so very happy today of such exciting news. My heart is feel with much joy because of you kizzekpespells@outlook.com, you are truly a blessing to me and others. You make our life more joyful and peaceful, loving in every-way, so happy I found you in time. God gave to you a gift to help all who are in need of a BLESSING. Again thank you, Dianne”

  • kort

    This powerful WIN EX BACK SPELL is tailored to bring your lover back in your arms permanently and with no delay. I use the best spell casting techniques to make my lover come home and beg for my forgiveness. This spell is customized to your situation and deals specifically with the barriers that have risen between you and your ex-partner. One by one, all obstacles will be removed until your lover realizes that leaving you was a mistake and desire nothing but coming back into your arms.you can contact him his email address and beg for his help winexbackspell@gmail.com

  • SHAUN sheep

    Go a little further Jay; you are getting warm but you still need to make a living, hu? what about exploring social media over saturation. Irrelevant information and easy distribution of mass misinformation. What are we doing, and who is pulling the strings? That is the question.

  • serena mariani

    I bumped into this post just today and thought “well, this is spot on” – although I don’t know the author or Trey Pennington (sad story…), I feel very much like these may be my own words. I wrote a post about the false sense of closeness, the staging of one’s self and other paradoxes of social media interactions just recently, wondering “Are social media making us more alone?” https://medium.com/philosophy-logic/50bc381edf68 However, as someone who has been working in and with social media for 7 years now, I can’t say I have lost all hope; they are still a medium, although one with an unprecedented intrinsic power, and it is up to people to decide what to do with it.

  • http://www.wadeharman.com/ Wade Harman

    I love this Jay! You hit the nail on the head when you said that G+ is the platform where you can grow your following with a personal experience. Of all the platforms, I think Google Plus is the one where you can actually cultivate a real relationship that brings opportunities for your business and doesn’t tarnish the intimacy of the relationship.

  • ehisnoni

    LOVE SPELL

    This powerful White magic love spell is tailored to bring your lover back in your arms permanently and with no delay. I use the best spell casting techniques to make your lover come home. This spell is customized to your situation and deals specifically with the barriers that have risen between you and your ex-partner. One by one, all obstacles will be removed until your lover realizes that leaving you was a mistake and desire nothing but coming back into your arms.you can also contact him in is email address /dr.kokotemple@gmail.com

  • chris jennifer

    my names are Chris Jennifer and am from the united
    state of America, am here to share a little story of my past and how i
    got my healing and family back again. on 11th June 2013 i felt so ill
    and so my husband took me to our family hospital and the medical doctor
    carried out a text on me and the result came out to my surprise i was
    HIV-AIDS positive,i felt so bad and lost all my hopes of living again,
    so immediately my husband left the hospital living me behind, on my
    getting home i discover that my husband has packed out of the house
    living me and the kids behind so i look for him all over the town but
    could not find him on the second day a friend of mine came to my house
    and told me that she saw my husband with a lady in a hotel, so i started
    crying, due to my illness my business started crumbling and i lost
    everything all my good friends left me due to my condition so one day i
    was browsing through the net i came across a priest doctor, at first i
    never wanted to contact him but my spirit keep troubling me to lay my
    problems to him so finally i did and he told me to have faith that all
    will be alright with me, at first i did not believe that actually,so he
    carried on and he prepared a herbal drugs for me and gave me the
    instruction on how to use it which i did for five(5) days on the
    sixth(6) day i was feeling some strange feelings so i immediately call
    him and explain my body experience then he told me not to worried and
    ask me to go to the same hospital were i did my first text, which i did
    and the medical doctor conducted a text on me and the result
    was….negative i was so happy and i celebrated with every one around
    me but again felt sad because something was missing which happens to be
    my husband and i told priest about it he then ask for his photo and cast
    a spell on him, the next day my husband came back to me and started
    begging so we were happily together again but find it difficult to feed
    and i told the priest about it he then cast a spell for me and
    instructed me on what to do which i did, so now my friends am very glad
    to have meet with this man which i call a father, so my fellow people i
    know a lot of people will have same problem or have any other problems
    more that this just have the faith that all can still be alright with
    you all you just need to do is to contact the great priest on his
    mail PRIESTAZIBASOLUTIONCENTER@GMAIL.COM for he will accept you and solve all your problems and remember a problem share is a problem solve…………..

  • Gloribel Stancy

    My ex an I broke up about 3 years ago and he was my first love so it was pretty difficult to get over. Our relationship was immature but there was no denying this crazy connection. Since our split I have only seen him 4-5 times each time we say hello chat a little he smiles at me and we part ways with my heart left fluttering. His ex girlfriend and I work together and since she has started at my job all she does is talk about him. For the past 3-4 months I’ve been having these dreams where I’m either just meeting him and all in love all over again or he has a new girlfriend and I’m fighting for him to be mine like I had done after our break up in the past. I had though I was over him but her constantly talking about him, me seeing him recently, and these dreams have me questioning my true feelings.email extremlovespell5@yahoo.com,

  • Jun

    A nicely edited article with a little truth. Well, I would like to say a very meaningful comment, but to be honest I’m afraid. There’s particular norms that limit what anyone can say on social media about social media … Sad.