Your virtual presence is all that’s requested


@postaday 89; #postaday2011

My Twitter friends in Hawaii say I don’t get out enough. I don’t do tweetups much, I don’t join in at lunch wagon roundups or attend social media events designed to make us better at social media.

I’m not exactly worried about it. I used to do these things a lot, but, I find most of these people more interesting online than IRL. I’ve made the effort to show up to find people with no there there. I’ve made the effort to find that no one really wanted to talk to me IRL anyway. What did I learn? I can do without the strain. And IRL saps the confidence out of most on-line personalities.

What makes people influential on Twitter and Facebook? I guess that’s important to those who can smoosh the numbers into some kind of analytical presentation. Does it mean these are the people who are most employable? Does this mean these people have tangible talents that can improve corporate bottom lines? Because no matter what, I think profits matter a whole lot to companies. Happy employees add value.  And I think my own organization, Hawaii Medical Service Association, is all about the happy employee, part of which involves allowing us license to engage with the world through social media. Several of us write for the Island Scene Online site, and our updates and tweets are  designed to get our stories out into the virtual landscape.

The question we always ponder? What could make us better at social media? What do the experts say? Retweet? Reshare? Tweet back? A few weeks ago @MakikiGirl unfollowed me on Twitter. She told me that it was because I didn’t respond. That’s a great reason to unfollow someone. Imagine, though, if we were to unfollow everyone who didn’t respond to our tweets? But is that really such a bad idea? It might diminish our level on Klout, but in the end, are we talking about statistics or relationships? I thought @MakikiGirl was very brave, and I appreciate her for kindly telling me why she dumped me. It’s OK. It gave me pause.

I have shaped my Twitterverse with news sources, people in Hawaii, people in Hawaii health care, people who ride bicycles in Hawaii and all over the world, people who support President Obama, people who think love belongs to all of us.  I block boob bots and bigots. I block the sexually explicit. As a result, my Twitter stream is mostly fun updates about bicycling, stuff going on in Hawaii, recipes, wine and news. Who are the Hawaii influential I follow? @Hawaii, @superCW, @Melissa808, @Neenz, @HawaiiRealty are among them. These and others are posted on this results page on Klout. I looked and I don’t follow everyone who is listed and who is on top, but most of them.  At first place is @hawaii with a score of 70. I’ve known Ryan since the early 1990s when we were journalism students at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and on staff at the newspaper, Ka Leo. He has been virtual and nerdy and open minded for as long as I’ve known him. It won’t stop, and that’s why he’s first. That’s why all of these people are early on this list. And I will admit that I was happy to see that I was on the list, too, with a score of 51.4. But as the double rainbow guy queries, “What does it mean?”

I don’t waste that much time thinking about it. I guess if I felt something were missing, I’d pay up for the privilege to worship at social media forums where virtual somebodies can talk about how to be the high-tech Dale Carnegie in a world of spin where even a 13-year-old girl with a bad voice can sing about it being Friday and take over life for a little while. And isn’t it interesting that the people who can make it to the top don’t have to be tall and flawless?

But what if one of these forums were to address how to cultivate friendships with Twitter followers? People who’ve not yet met IRL and may never? What if such a forum were to address the first-time IRL meeting of two people who have known each other virtually for a long time? Would that be a forum on manners, hiding shock, surprise  and disappointment? All this time we’ve titillated with our pith and wit, our razor-sharp humor, and then we find that in IRL neither of us resembles the sharpest pencil in the box. It’s really hard to be very cool through all that. No matter how many blind dates you’ve been on, you’ll never get good at this one thing: hiding an initial reaction.

It all boils down to our being minds and souls on the other side of a screen or a smart phone. We may disappoint each other when we come face to face, but all this time didn’t you love each others’ minds? Sigh. You know what they say: On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.