Social Media Voyeurs

Wes cropped 18 mo peekabooI’m doing a workshop this weekend on social media for people who are afraid of it and the rise of social voyeurs is part of the problem.

Facebook and Twitter were designed for people to interact with each other. Hence the word SOCIAL in “social media.”

Some people are on these sites and browse but never interact. It’s the equivalent of someone with a binoculars looking in the window of your party but not coming inside to participate, even though they have been invited to.

Now, granted, one cannot respond or engage in every status update of every person who posts something on facebook. Voyeurs rarely even post anything themselves, much less on ANYONE else’s walls.

Why? Maybe they are shy? Maybe they are kind of like the snoopy town gossip that was once humorously characterized in old television shows. Wearing a hat and a self-righteous expression she listens to every conversation to be “in the know.”

So how do you handle voyeurs? This can be hard for several reasons, the primary one is that you don’t often really know they are there. Until they say something to you.

I had one voyour tell me my facebook posts were all “bragging” and “prideful.” Hmmm. Well, I always check out criticism and from those who do follow me on facebook the unanimous concensus was that no, that is not me or they way I come across on social media. Do I sometimes share happy events or successes but I also share the less than favorable aspects of my life. I’ve had people say “Oh, you’re the funny one on Facebook! I love reading your posts!”

Well, I’m not funny ALL the time. I’m not a comedian. But I do sometimes have an unusual slant on life.

So what do I do with a person who would so harshly criticize me to my face? Well, for one they seem to forget that I am an author and  this is my platform. Obviously there are going to be “haters” out there no matter where you go. I could have unfriended this person, but instead I “restricted” her to only my public posts. Almost all my posts on Facebook are for friends only. If I tweet and it posts to facebook, those are public. Those are comments that I cannot control WHO follows me. I don’t necessarily get as personal in those venues.  This person doesn’t even notice (I doubt) that there is a difference. They are probably patting themselves on the back for how they made me change my ways. They didn’t change anything at all except what I share with that person.

Now, there are other voyeurs though that I don’t mind. One who has been a friend for over thirty years will actually ask me about things he’s read on my Facebook page. He doesn’t interact with me on-line, but when I see him he interacts. He stays up to date with me and he’s interested. Wait! Oh, no! He’s being SOCIAL! Whoa!  I call him my favorite Facebook Voyeur. And he is. Love the guy!

The rest you really can’t do much about unless you want to cull your list down and decide that no interaction at all is your litmus test for deleting friends.

Generally speaking, I allow the voyeurs to stay. I can’t judge their interest in me or my writing and that’s fine. But someday they might help me when a book comes out. They may never tell me they have but then some of the best blessings are done invisibly. Maybe they will be one of those. I can only pray so!

Are you a voyeur (yeah, like you’re going to respond here?), or have you had a negative experience with one?


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