F*ck Social Networks, Make Friendships

Over the last couple days I’ve had a couple of conversations about social networks, and in particular, those that lead to opportunities. It seems to me these days a lot of people make a living by being “social media experts” or some kind of nonsense like this. I found this completely ridiculous.

For an individual, the goal should not be to increase your social network by whoring yourself out, adding as many as friends as possible. This simply dilutes your message and makes you look like a wanker, as my friend Frank Chimero would say.

What you should be doing is finding like minded people to collaborate with and learn from. Often times I think of a social media site like LinkedIn, which is supposed to help you get a job. How many people do you know have gotten a cold call from an employer based upon them finding a profile on LinkedIn? I bet one or two of you may have had this happen, but I bet the occurrence of this happening is slim to none. Most likely someone knew someone who had an open position and the prospective employee was Googled, a LinkedIn account was found, and further assurance was given to the prospective employer.

But if you take the time to nurture relationships, even if they’re over email or Twitter, you’re doing more than just amassing a list of random strangers you’d like to work with. For me personally, I’ve met more people in the last 2 and a half years that were worth a damn than the last 10 combined. People who used to be my heroes are now an email away, and if I need a favor I can simply ask. Why? Because we’re friends now.

Don’t waste your time adding people, create amazing things, be genuine, and good things will come to you.


21 Comments F*ck Social Networks, Make Friendships

  1. alex January 27, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    Totally agree.
    Please be my friend !! hehe :)


  2. Lee January 27, 2010 at 7:35 AM

    Well said =D

  3. JeffyM January 27, 2010 at 7:41 AM

    I kinda love this post. Couldn’t agree more.

  4. Bryan Heredia January 27, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Couldn’t agree more. Really great post. Thanks!

  5. Lynda January 27, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    I couldn’t agree more. I also noticed that teenagers nowadays (and perhaps also the young adults who had the Internet invasion start when they were just teenagers themselves) are more computer/social-media savvy but less sociable in person. What is the point of having 300+ friends on Facebook or Twitter or the like when you are not able to communicate effectively in person?

  6. Frances January 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Very eloquently put.

  7. John January 27, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    I’m sort of disappointed by how elitist this blog has gotten over the last couple of months. Rather than a collection of cool pieces, interesting art plugs and the like, it’s become a forum for elitist hipsters of the past generation making derogatory comments towards the younger generation and its practices.

  8. BobbyBobby January 27, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    @John – How on earth do you get any elitist ideas from this? Please explain to me how I’m being elitist, cuz’, I’m extremely curious how you came to this landmark revelation Sarah Palin.

    And please fill me in where I even mentioned younger people, let alone were derogatory to their practices? Dude, I’m 27, I’ve grown up with every major social network since Friendster.

    If you want a blog that’s just filled with pretty pictures only and no ideas there are plenty of other blogs to visit. I will always impart my “elitist hipster” point of view on everything I post on here. If you have a problem then stop reading this.

    It’s also funny that the six people who commented before you happened to agree with my “elitist”, “derogatory” opinion. Clearly I must be doing something right…

  9. dana @ yellowtrace January 27, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Brilliant article. And I LOVE your concluding sentence:

    “Don’t waste your time adding people, create amazing things, be genuine, and good things will come to you.”

    Cheers, Dana.

  10. Rob January 27, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Wise words, I especially love reading some of the recommendations on linkedin for folks who you wouldn’t trust to make a cup of tea…

    That said it does have its uses when hiring and looking for new opportunities.

  11. Thomas Christopher January 27, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    you speak my mind!
    shitty content stays shitty content, no matter how much it is forceably featured or redirected….

  12. pensato January 27, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    you nailed it

  13. Amy Stoddard January 27, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m returning to an area I haven’t lived in for 10 years, but because I took time to keep in touch, it makes all the difference for me as a freelance web developer. Its always good to keep in touch w/ former co-workers and employers…no matter the departure circumstances. Its just the way the world works today.

  14. Chipotle January 27, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    I don’t know about you guys but I started on social networks trying to look cool or following a trend, not because I needed them. Nowdays some of those social networks are realy useful on work, to share thoughts and ideas, others seems to be made only for compensate lack of social skills on real life so people could create a better version of themselves, but digital. Now I just follow my own trend. About John’s comment saying that KN’s becoming an elitist blog I definitely disagree, but I going to talk about on the gentlamens private club’s cigar room about it later on.

  15. saer January 27, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    I left all the ‘social networks’ I was connected with mid last year and can honestly say it was good-riddance. To your point about making connections either for work or projects etc, I have always, always found that the people I know contact me directly for either myself or to reccommend someone. It hasn’t, at least for me,spawned from any of the social networks I belong(ed) to.

    I also found that I put more detailed effort into maintaining my friendships – calling on the phone, emailing or, heaven-forbid snail mailing…!

    That being said, I feel there is a huge and growing deficiency in face-to-face social skills for those who have been overexposed to technology as a placeholder for literal communication. But I do feel that there is a positive move towards willingness to collaborate. So that’s something.

    I just wonder, as technology evolves how it will impact social culture even more.


    ps – I love the fact that you said ‘wanker’ and meant it. Made my day..

  16. Kjell-Roger January 28, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    Good article Bobby. It’s nice to see someone actually give the social media wave some critique and what you are talking about is good practice. I have followed your blog for quite some time now and I love it and I do not agree at all about it being elitist, just saying.
    I do however have some comments regarding the social media experts-comment.

    I work as an communication advisor at the Mayors Office in Kongsvinger, Norway. Because of our work with internet and social media we actually have won alot of prizes and got alot of attention in the norwegian press.

    I work alot with the use of social media and I’ve spent alot of time on seminars regarding this subject, with the socalled social media experts.

    What we use social media for is to be where everyone is. We are currently on Facebook, Twitter and have blogs. Now I totally agree with what you are saying about not adding alot of random people and dilute the message. I don’t believe in forcing people.

    But here’s my take on it. Using social media for exposure in this day and age is quite necessary. When it comes to most social media networks adding a organization/individuals art page is always a choice. We’re not forcing anyone to add us, but we do add people we find interesting on Twitter, I personally have you and some other favorite designers/bloggers on mine, because it’s a fast an easy way to stay updated, and I’ve added them because I think what they have to say is interesting. Same with Facebook, if there’s an artist I like I’m glad to be a fan of his page, because it keeps me updated. I don’t expect anyone to add me back.

    I’m all for nurturing friendships and relationships, with social media this has gotten even easier. And being there has also gotten me some new friends, people I didn’t know but who enjoyed my works and started chatting with me. As an example, through social media, I’m now collabing with an artist that is one of my biggest inspirations since I started designing back in 98.

    While social media never should replace personal relationships like face-to-face and even phone it’s a great tool to stay updated and keep in touch. And even reach possible people of interest, because they find you interesting. I might have went abit off-topic now, but from my experience with social media experts they don’t tell you to add as much friends as possible, they tell you to use it as a tool to get more personal with your people of interest, be it customers or others. They tell you to be there and communicate, because it might benefit you and others.

    One of these experts said last seminar: Never stay on the first step of the ladder, which is being there and just spewing out information to everyone, take the next step: Communicate and listen.

    I use Twitter to communicate and get help. I use facebook to reach my friends and get comments on the stuff I do and I’ve gotten freelance work here as well, I use blogs because I have something I want to share or talk about. And all these are under the term social media.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work, I’ll be reading!

  17. Dea January 28, 2010 at 3:26 AM

    Excellent article!
    I agree with you about not adding a bunch of random people, my twitter account is a challenge to manage because of the large number of people I follow.

    However I do think that social media can be useful as a tool to branch out, for making connections and finding great content

    I found you through twitter and I live in a small island in the southern mediterrenean, thanks to your blog and a link on your blog (actually one of the blogs on your blog rolls) an unemployed sicilian web designer I know was able to find work in London. This was great and this woman is so grateful to you eventhough she doesn’t know you.
    Have a great weekend :) Dea

  18. Dea January 28, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    sorry I meant blog roll and I live on a small island not in… sheesh! 6 yrs away from the states and I’m beginning to forget my english!

  19. erin January 28, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    here, here! as a waiter i especially notice the shift in how people socialize. when folks are more interested in individually being on their “smart phones” rather than talk to each other at the table there is a problem.

    as far as the “elitist” statement goes, i couldn’t disagree more. i don’t think you’re thumbing your nose at anyone or singling out any particular generation, rather simply saying social networking can be a tool, but shouldn’t be a crutch.

    anyway, keep the opinions coming!

  20. Lux January 28, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Wow! Could’t agree more!

  21. Pingback: Make Friendships, Not Friends | joshua paul premuda

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