Once upon a time, before even the Baby Jesus was a twinkle in the Father's eye, people first grunted and then spun out loquacious and erudite conversation with one another. Then, as the human capacity for invention increased, we started faxing papyri to one another and making use of the telephone. In the mano-a-monkey interaction, we learned how to pucker and wave our arms about to convey greater meaning to our grunts and tics. And so, dear readers, communication was born.
Evening and morning. The first social-media.
The measure of 'success' in that world was a reciprocal response, a reaction, a new friendship. That said, the moment was had and it vanished for ever. A word was whispered then never to be heard again. A smile stopped a heart-beat but was forgotten. The communication was transient, the effect lasting.
And so it came to pass that there came the Wise Men (and Ladies) who, by their efforts, gave rise to the Dawn of the Gadget. God saw and knew that it was good. Evening and morning - the second social-media. During the geeky revelry, there came a serpent - its name was Wikio, and it was hell-bent on wreaking unholy havoc in the Eden of the Gadget world of Parlay. The doe-eyes gadgeteers installed the widget unto their bloggies and partook of the Forbidden Fruit - the age of innocence collapsed and so it happened that those caught in the new world of social media could quantify their activity.
In other words, social media in the present age can give you numbers and reports. I get emails telling me who I have 'spoken' to, with what effect, under what level of reach and to which extent of influence. The serpent Wikio was quickly joined by the demons Klout and Feedjit, then the arch Leviathan Empire Avenue. All these things are, in one form or another, measuring devices. They chastise you when you have said too little, and reward you when you have been busy. For competitive men like me, it is like having an aggressive Mistress (not that I have the first idea how that would feel, you understand). I sometimes find myself making inane comments on Twitter because my Klout number fell, or posting some drivel on here because my Wikio number was lower than a snake's belly.
This is dangerous. I know I am not alone, but it is very compelling to those of us who care how we are perceived and received. Being social, in all its facets, is vulnerable under the auspices of self-measure. The much lamented Church Mouse used to post monthly the Wikio blog rankings, and the comments confirm that we bloggers and Tweeters really do care if we are successful in what we do. Gain is great; slump or decline is mortal tragedy. I regard this is a problem, and one I am trying to resolve. My rankings buttons will start to go as I try to be sure in my mind (and allow you the same) that I am doing what I do online for right reason, not simply for numerical success!