I had three separate, similar moments on the running trail yesterday morning, each paralleling the experience of posting on Facebook.
I was running on the Cherry Creek Trail and as I approached an oncoming fellow runner I did/said what I usually do/say: "Good Morning (as I wave)!" Consider that my aerobic version of a Facebook post, my status update. I am reaching out to another human being(s).
As is the case on Facebook, the recipient of my advance has three options: they can do nothing, just wave, or wave and verbally respond. Each of these happened on today's jaunt.
The first person that I spoke/waved with/to, replied "Good Morning, how's it going?" Buoyed by his response, I answered, "Fantastic. Awesome morning, huh?" In our own way, we connected, even if it was just a brief couple of seconds.
Excited to be making friends and influencing my fellow runners, I continued my cheerful mood with the next approaching runner. "Good Morning," I said with even more enthusiasm. Response: Nothing. Not a look, not a wave. Nothing. Bummer.
Undaunted, my next target was given the same greeting, but replied with barely a wave of acknowledgement (not even a princess would have used this wave). In the end, I considered myself one for three for the morning.
The verbal reply was nice. It was the other humans way of saying "Hey, I see you out there, I appreciate you greeting me and this is me greeting you back. It's what we humans do." It was like a comment on my Facebook post; someone taking the time to reinforce my status, so to speak. A person attempting to connect with another person.
The no reply was just that - no reply. No acknowledgement of my greeting, in fact, no acknowledgement of my existence. And, hey, I get that. Not everyone is social, not everyone is having a good time on the run, not everyone likes me. I get it (and by the way, I should mention here that I was dressed appropriately for the weather and the surroundings and in no way, shape, or form would have been mistaken for some sort of deviant). The no reply is like a no response to a Facebook update. Sometimes we didn't read the post. It got lost in all the other items on our wall of life. Sometimes we were too busy to respond at all even if we saw the post and many people in and on Facebook are like folks on the running trail, they just don't respond. I get that. No harm, no foul.
The third response was that half-hearted wave. I'm not sure what this attempt at semi-greeting means, but as the recipient, it felt miniscule. It seemed to say, "Yeah, hi, whatever," or "I suppose I should wave back," or "You're not worth my words, but take my token wave" (Okay, that last one sounds like therapist fodder). Nonetheless, the wave was barely, and I mean barely, better than nothing. This, and you know what's coming here, is like pressing the Like icon under someone's Facebook update. Generally it means, "I see ya there, but I've got alot of Like icons to push before my session is over. After all, I've got people to sort of connect with here."
I've been told the operative part of the phrase Social Media is SOCIAL. The Like button, while being a version of connection; of social-ness, is a distant cousin at best. That is why when I discuss Facebook in any of my classes, we emphasize that if your goal is to connect with those other people out there on the Facebook running trail, post real live, relevant comments . Anything else comes up short. Anything else is the halfway, non-connecting wave.
I'm also not sure if this posting is a complaint, a lesson, or just an observation. Feel free to take it any way you like. And yeah, feel free to "Like" this post.