Some of us feel isolated sometimes. It’s true. I went through many Research Papers to study the ramifications of feeling that way recently. To simplify the results, it does not mean there is something wrong with you. You may be an introvert. You could be a talented introvert. From psychology to neuro science, I poured through abstracts, pdf files, research papers, and more. I have a good collection. Quite interesting, however I wanted to know why some of us feel like we are on the outside on social media. I called 50 people who are really dedicated internet people. I mean the kind who are bright, and use the internet for a variety of work related and social purposes. Taking notes and using my recorder, which is in dire need of replacement, I went over my notes for 2 days.
Feeling like you are not on the inside yet you are on the edge can be uncomfortable. I had one of my Med students work with me. I felt that I needed some new eyes. I chose a med student who did use social media often. We reviewed the notes and the research, and found a common denominator with all of our interviewees. We found that social media, does in fact have cliques. You may not be surprised. My med student ran to the dictionary and looked the word up. It is a noun that can have a couple of catchy meanings. The Urban dictionary has a meaning that is so stupid I won’t print it. I went to the more traditional route I wanted to share with you, that it is a French word (I am happy about that, I am fluent.)... A small exclusive group of friends or associates [C18: from French, perhaps from Old French: latch, from cliquer to click; suggestive of the necessity to exclude nonmembers]
Suggestive of the necessity to exclude nonmembers, I believe this can also incorporate new members in any social setting. social media is the perfect petri dish to grow cliques. Here is why. Although there can be meetings, and webcams, the majority of the time there is just dialogue. No interpersonal relationships. What gives us the “heads up” about this? Well, it depends. Some of you may feel that you have enough friends, or should I say contacts or however your particular media calls the people you type to. As time goes on you become more recognized and you find your niche. The word niche has a few meanings. For the purpose of our conversation, I am going to use this one: It can be a noun or a verb. I am going to use the verb, place or position (something) in a niche. Actually that’s pretty good. We are in the position on Social Media of placing ourselves where we want to be. Good for us. We will gravitate to those who we bond with. We prefer those who have been recognized by the powers that be because we have read their words and we want similar status. Let’s back up and take a good look at this process.
We tend to stick with those we have the most in common with. What happens with the new members? They don’t feel that connection, and yet the chosen ones who are given the titles to keep a social media platform growing care more about the clique and the niche than they do about real growth ! Cliques dominate comments and make judgments about the inexperienced new kid on the block. It is, in my opinion wrong and counterproductive. Members of the clique back them up with quick comments that are hurtful, super critical, and express only the immense ego of the veterans of a social media platform. There is not much to learn that way. Actually, they were chosen to be helpful and encouraging and most importantly positive. After spending one full week reading comments, on several media sites, it is difficult to image how super growth can come from this lack of caring. It can't. If someone has an issue with a person who is not as familiar with a site, doesn’t it make sense to send a private email rather than humiliate in a public comment? One other point I would like to present for your consideration is a “remove comment” button. By the time the comment has been removed, how many people have read the humiliating comment? There are always ways to assist someone less experienced. It is not rocket science. It is called respect.
We should never underestimate people. We should never pre-judge another person’s abilities. So often in life it is those you might never expect that end up changing the world. It is the not so exclusively visible person who can make your gig rock. It is not always the ones who comment very briefly the most, or critique the most, or who click that loveable “like”, or just bang out a quick one word like “Welcome” to a new member of your company or media site.
All of us should value each other’s purposes equally and recognize each other for what we bring to the table. In addition, none of us should shy away from or minimize the value we ourselves bring to this world. We should embrace it and own it and excel at it.
In conclusion, A social network, with reserved intentions, where we can fall into our cliques and circle of friends. We can dis who we want and accept who appeals to our discretion. Where the users will keep abusing, and abusers keep using. Cliques sanctioned by the powers that be.
Where those that think ignoring will keep one down and the wannabes will foolishly think themselves greater by the number of "likes" that pour caffeine into their coffee. We can jump on the bandwagon of likes, or reserve not to show we care.
(If I made any typos please email me. Thank you !)
Karen Anne Kramer