You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore

Where did the romance go? When did we stop asking, “Tell me about yourself,” “Do you like to take long walks on the beach?” or even the tired old line, “What’s your sign?” Suddenly, upon meeting someone new, they immediately try to score and ask me to go over to their place to seal the deal.

Am I talking about my dating life? Hardly. I’m talking about my relationships with people where I spend much more of my time – online.

Talk (And Listen) To Me

We’ve all read the advice that the most effective ways to leverage the opportunities to build relationships with new people online is to be engaging and interested in them, by having a conversation that includes both listening and responding. Why then are people and businesses promoting themselves and trying to get me to buy their stuff as soon as I connect with them? It feels like I’ve just walked over with my hand extended intending to introduce myself and I get propositioned. Uh…ewww. All I can say is this doesn’t work with me – not in the real world and not online. If this happened at a live networking event, the conversation would go something like this:
  • “Hi. My name is Irene. It is nice to meet you.”
  • “Well (pretend you heard your name here), I’ll bet it is nice to meet me. You’re lucky you met me just in time because, boy do I have the answers to all of the problems you have or may have one day in the future. I know you’ll love my product/service/website so much that you’ll want to run out and spontaneously tell everyone you know about it, so here are some extra cards to pass out to all of your friends. Hey, you’re awesome, hope to talk with you again soon. Bye now.”
  • “Uh, what did you say your name was?”

Have you had this experience? When this happens online, it takes the form of email, newsletters, Facebook mail or direct messages on Twitter. As soon as you’ve “friended” someone on Facebook or followed someone on Twitter, you immediately receive newsletters or messages telling you to “click here” to do something – which benefits the other person. I’ve seen this on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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You Lost Me At “Click Here”

I connected with you because I wanted to get to know you. Consider it a first date, or the possibility of a first date. I don’t want you to kiss me, tell me what I need or invite me over to your place. If you do, you’re out. On Twitter, this is one of many reasons I will immediately unfollow you. On Facebook, I’ll unfriend you. On LinkedIn, I’ll disconnect. Through our connection, you have additional access to contact me directly. This access is a privilege, not an opportunity take our relationship where I’m not ready to go. No, I don’t want to come over to see your etchings or listen to your stereo (yes, someone really did ask me to do this when I was in college). I most certainly do not want to click on your link to buy something or find out more about you. It’s rude and presumptuous. It’s spam and, most importantly, it’s all about you.

When you want to talk, let me know. I’ll be here. In the meantime, stop groping my email address and trying to get to 3rd base. It ain’t gonna happen.

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