There it was on my Facebook feed–another “friend” invitation from someone I don’t know. That isn’t unusual, and most of the people I follow on FB are people I do not know in person. Still, we all have some connection–writing, sketching, collage, some worked at companies I’ve worked at. It’s comfortable–I don’t post super-personal information. It’s not the people, it’s FB itself that makes me leery.
What made this different is that within minutes of accepting the friend request, I received another request: to “like” their business page, to join their private group, and for two of them, to contribute to their private fund-raiser.
It confused me. Receiving a friend request is not being invited to someone’s house, but it also seems awkward to ask someone for money you have just friended on Facebook. And yet, I have given money to total strangers–the homeless begging at the side of the freeway or in front of stores. So why not on Facebook?
Because there is no personal contact. One person friended me, then immediately sent me a private message wishing me Merry Christmas. Immediately after that came a request for medical expense money for his family. The photo could be any family, anywhere. The need could have been real, the request legitimate.
The homeless I give money to are people I “know”–also in a different way. I see the same people on the same corners. Tenuous as it is, it is a face-to-face transaction.
No matter what business you are in–from selling your ebooks to your art to your services–the personal connection is the one that will work. But it has to be real. Once people experience you, your service, your offer, your real work, there is something to react to. It can’t be an instant, one-way tag-game for the soft touch. That has never worked, and it won’t work just because FB makes it easier to connect.
—Quinn McDonald is a life coach and an instructor. She knows the value of relationships.