Dear Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn (and any of the 1,827 social networks that I may – or may not have – have signed up for),

Sorry. I know it’s kind of cowardly not do this face-to-face, but I don’t know any other way to do it.

For four straight years of trying to win friends, retweets, likes and the elusive +1’s, we just can’t seem to get on the same page.

On a few occasions, I thought we had figured each other out, but by the time we were on the same page, everything seemed to change.

The harder I tried, the more I have failed. I’ve shared with you some of the things I like most, even some intimate moments, and I even created fun and (what I thought were) creative ways to win you over, but all I have received in response is “What is the point of this?”

A few weeks back, I reached a breaking point. I sat there for five minutes just trying to find the right, witty, yet not-to-over-the-top comment for you. But I couldn’t find the words.

I am done trying to win you over.

I am done checking you 47 times a day to see if you have liked my newest blog post or that interesting article I shared with you.

And I am done with people getting offended when I don’t follow them.

It’s too much work. I have enough stress in my life and this is the cherry on top.

Over the past few years, we have had a pretty strong bond. We’ve been able to meet some great people, like Hal Humphreys, Phillip Becnel, Oliver Mackson and Eli Rosenblatt. But at the end of the day, despite many promises, I’ve never really won you over.

It’s not you, it’s me. I am sure of it.

The “experts” will tell me, that I am doing it all wrong. I am sure I am. I’ve read countless “self help” books from the likes of Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk and Guy Kawasaki, but I just can’t get my arms around you.

Having said all of that, I am not totally going away. I am just taking a break from worrying about our relationship so much.

I am sure we will rekindle our love again sometime. Probably pretty soon. But I don’t want to make any empty promises.


Diligentia Group

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11 replies
  1. Keith Owens
    Keith Owens says:

    Brian, as usual, an insightful post. I put little stock in Facebook since they keep most of my followers from seeing my posts, and Google+ has no impact on anything. LinkedIn is a different audience for a different purpose. For me, Twitter is the one exception. Not because it changes my incoming business in any meaningful way, but rather because it seems to aggregate info from which I learn things. Lots of fluff for sure, but I am learning to curate that. Plus, there are my “Twiitter Friends”; professionals that I have never had the pleasure of meeting, but whom I get glimpses of based on their online interactions. I look for their tweets, and when they point to things, I know they are valuable and worth my time. You certainly fall into that group.

    So when you do tweet I’ll be reading, but I understand your feelings, and I agree that, at least in our profession, social media does not drive business through the door. But I am thankful for the professionals from whom I am learning things online, and look forward to continuing to learn from them in the future. Your blog is certainly a must read on that list. I’ll happily glean from your knowledge and experience in which ever form you chose to share it!

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      I agree Keith. I think that I have developed some relationships with people on Social Media and have certainly learned plenty through people I have met through social media. But as a lead generation tool, I am not sure how well it does in our business.

      For sure, being active in social media, does provide some “social proof” of a company. It’s one of the first things I check; to see if a company is involved in social media. It gives some legitimacy, and confirms that they are not in the dark ages.

      I guess the broader point is that I am going to stop worrying about it.

      • Keith Owens
        Keith Owens says:

        I like the idea of not worrying about it. I have started blogging more when I feel like I have something worth saying rather than when it’s “time” according to a pre-defined schedule.

        I would imagine that “doing” social media when you want to rather than when you “should” be doing it will make it not only more enjoyable, but also a more authentic experience. In my mind that is most likely what social media really should have been before it morphed into a hybrid social media/business tool.

  2. Marri Bernier
    Marri Bernier says:

    Kudos, Brian. Writing is obviously a talent you own, so spend your valuable time doing what you do best — outside of investigating, I suspect that that is writing. I don’t know you, but I’ve come to feel a certain camaraderie with you because you’ve given me a window into your world through your writing. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they write — as well as what they choose to write about. Without ever having met you, I have come to trust, respect and even like you. All from reading what you write. You’ve definitely hit on something here.

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      Thanks for the kind words Marri. You’ve hit on something really important – I “own” what I write here on the blog. People can get a sense of who I am and what I do. But on social media it’s totally different. It’s nearly impossible to get that across in a few hundred characters.

  3. Oliver Mackson
    Oliver Mackson says:

    I’ve been wrestling with the same idea, Brian. What you wrote makes a lot of sense. My problem is that I still have a (relative) newcomer’s insecurity about this business, and I worry that if I’m off Twitter, I’m going to miss something significant. The only thing FB’s good for is keeping track of client and potential witness postings.
    Thank you for the mention. I look forward to your next Webinar, and I’ll see you on your blog, which is required reading.

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      I know the feeling Oliver. But it’s a vicious cycle that does not go away. I’ve literally been wrestling with this for quite some time. Hope you can come to grips with it one way or another as well.

      One reason why I am not totally going away is that I need to know how social media works for investigative purposes. It’s still an unbelievable source of information.

  4. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    I did the same a while back. (See: http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2011/05/why-im-quitting-twitter-and-you-should-too/)

    It was the best thing I ever did. However, I got TONS of negative feedback from marketing people. (Of course, they market their “social media consulting” services to lawyers and accountants.) How dare I tell people to quit something that has no proven results.

    I bet you won’t be back. Your time can be so much better spent developing your blog or writing articles for trade publications that your potential clients read. Congratulations!

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      Thanks Tracy. Funny that I left a comment on your post nearly three years ago and it took me that long to actually do something about it.

      I think you hit the nail on the head – despite every marketing expert telling businesses that they need part of the social media “conversation”, it doesn’t work for everyone. My 2 cents is that blogging and other writing has been a much better use of my time.

      • Tracy
        Tracy says:

        I forgot that you commented on that article. Better late than never! I promise you it has been worth it. I have LOVED not having to check Twitter all the time, and allocating the time elsewhere has paid off!

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