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Confessions of a social media outcast

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY If I were still a high-tech executive, safely tucked away on an airplane 30,000 feet above an ocean somewhere, I'd have no use for social media. Sure, I'd have a LinkedIn account and all that, but I wouldn't like it, not one bit.

It's not like a religion with me; there are just a few things I like to do, and communicating with people over distances has never been one of them. If they show up here in the Bay Area or I find myself in their neck of the woods, I love hanging out with friends. It's always like we were never apart.

I'm pretty good at face-to-face. I can also do phone and email because you can actually have a substantive conversation. Besides, I've been doing that for decades in both my personal and business life. I'm comfortable with that.

But since I've somehow managed to find myself writing commentary, social media's become a necessity. And the truth is I'm really no good at it. I mean, I have no idea what to say, how to respond, what people really want to know and what is considered too much information.

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It's like I'm going through those awkward teenage years again where talking to girls is scary and you never know what to say to adults. And you know what? It's more than a little embarrassing. I feel self-conscious. Sort of like an outcast. Just like when I was a kid.

What's even worse is there's actually a part of me that wants to be in with the "in" crowd. You know, accepted. I see other bloggers, people I think are clueless idiots just out to make a buck or get attention, and they've got way more followers than I have. While I hate to admit it, I'm jealous. I know that's nuts, but some layer of my brain that still thinks I'm 16 and living in the 70s is actually jealous.

And here's the thing. When I actually try to respond to someone and say something I think is cool or interesting, half the time they don't respond back. Then I think I must have said something inappropriate or creepy. I know I shouldn't obsess about it, but what can I say, it's just the way I am.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love hearing from readers. The feedback is important because it tells me that I'm connecting with the audience I want to reach. Not only that, but I do this to help people and, whether that's one-on-many or one-on-one, it's all good. So when readers tell me what they like or don't like or ask for advice, that's great.

Come to think of it, maybe the problem is that I've never been interested in superficial conversations or relationships. I like to connect with people and get to know them. And, until I do, I'm not really sure who or what I'm dealing with, so I don't know how to approach them or what to say. Yeah, I think that's it. Also I'm overthinking it.

So now that I've spilled my guts, I've got a question for you. Am I alone? Am I the only one who has trouble connecting with people through social media? Who feels that maybe it's a little too superficial at times? If so, I can live with that. If not, at least you know you're not alone. Maybe we can start a support group or something.

One more thing. Be sure to "tweet" or "like" this article, OK? Gotcha.

Image courtesy of Flickr user jodieodell