Losing Friends and Influencing No-One (or how not to alienate your actual friends through social media business overload)



A really good friend of mine gave me this card one birthday. I laughed and laughed because I am the kind of person that finds it hard to believe that anyone could ever possibly have 500 plus friends (I am not sure I have even talked to 500 people on any sort of meaningful level during my entire lifetime).

In fact my social media friend number remains firmly below 100 and I am kind of ok with that. Basically I have told myself (ok it was a little firmly and had a tone) that I don’t really need to measure my self worth by the number of people that can see my kind of odd updates (usually about some totally bizarre interaction with my children where somehow I end up put in a rubbish bin or other such retribution that in a four year olds mind is pretty awesomely bad).

However, the small , but select group of social media friends that I cultivated, while having benefits, such as not blasting my intimate and slightly grumpy thoughts far and wide, also has some downsides.

When you start a business, an online business, that needs traction in the online space those few friends kind of end up being fatigued by my business updates. Bless them, they all follow muka kids, they love me and sing my praises, but sometimes I think they go beyond the call of duty. In what other situation would you expect your friends to accept constant banal updates about the state of play of your work day and not unfriend/unfollow you?

Picture it if you will.. a constant and tedious dribble of updates which include such gems as ‘today some dick in the staff kitchen room told me not to wipe my hands on the tea towel. I hate him’ and ‘the guy I sit next to went to gym at lunch time and did not shower for 2 hours. Again’ or ‘today I wrote some stuff, no one will read it, not sure I was even conscious when I wrote it’ and ‘today that piece of work I told everyone we should not take on because it was poorly considered and doomed to fail did indeed fail. I have been nominated to fix it up’ . You get the picture.

So to help assist in retaining friends while still cunningly leveraging their undying love and admiration of you, some basic rules for the social media/ business venn diagram of life:

1. Only ask friends for overt help with your business at very select times, like the starting phase, the launch of products, and maybe if things all go to pants then it would be okay to ask for help then too.
2. Do update your personal pages now and then in some meaningful manner, otherwise frankly they will think you have been consumed by the new business monster and may just forget about your existence altogether.

3. Tell them you love them. Frequently. Or at least that you greatly esteem them.

4. Consider giving them free stuff. Seriously. Your friends are your biggest fans and they will sell you with aplomb (but it will cost you, come on nothing in life is free people not even friendships forged under great challenge, or a drunken misspent youth).

5. Siblings totally don’t count and neither do partners or parents. Blast away with social media overload there; it is simply retribution for years of tormenting you likely suffered from siblings. Parents have to think the sun shines out of your important parts and partners well they just asked for it really (surely they could see that ‘I am crazy enough to start a sustainable business just after we have children and buy a house’ glint in your eye when they fell for you?)

6. Don’t expect all your friends to get your new business or think it is as great as you do. It will simply not be some peoples thing. Be cool with that. Really, be honest how interesting do you think their work sounds at times?

So if I follow these rules hopefully it will ensure that my friends stay my friends, they continue to think me a good person, and might even say hello to me if they see me in the street.. …

One Response to “Losing Friends and Influencing No-One (or how not to alienate your actual friends through social media business overload)”

  1. What a great post, can relate on all levels! Nice to be able to see the funny side of the social media necessary evil.

Leave a Reply