As a sociologist, (well, one with a second class degree…) I often think about society and the impact that people have on each other generally. One of my favourite areas of study, although you can argue back and forth as to whether it is in fact sociological, is that of social networking.
If Facebook or Twitter was a recognised skill, I would put it on my CV. In fact, I’d lie and say I had a distinction in both. I think I am addicted to both networking sites in equal measure. Okay, probably Facebook more, but only because I use my Twitter account publicly (and to stalk celebrities…) and my Facebook account is more for just friends. But I use both quite a lot to rant and rave or to keep in contact with friends around the world and who I cannot necessarily invite to the pub for a drink and for fun! I mean, I enjoy updating my statuses, particularly to things that people may find amusing and it’s become a little bit of a hobby – not to mention it is good advertising for baby swimming.
The reason why I’ve got to thinking about the power of these social networking sites is simple. My huge channel swim is just over a month away. I have raised a staggering amount (nearly £5K!) and I publicise my fundraising website with outstanding frequency since March. However, most of my donations have been from the friends on social networking sites that I don’t particularly see IRL – old school friends and the like (thank you for your donations, I really do appreciate them and we should meet up more often!). In fact, only a couple of my closest friends have donated (thank you very much and I’ll see you when I see you!). What surprises me is this; no matter how often I publicise my fundraising website, the people who I consider close friends (and regular Facebook users) still haven’t donated.
Alongside this, although I’m a few months behind, I have been playing the 30 Day Song Challenge, where you have to post a different song that means something to you everyday. I am aware tonnes of my Facebook friends did this a small age ago, but I thought I’d kinda spark some interest into this and a few others would start uploading what songs they like onto their profiles. Nope. I was wrong. Now, I just look like the loser who had nothing better to do. Well, I didn’t really…
The sociology? Well, take my blog for example. I only publicise on Facebook, or you may have subscribed to the blog or RSS feed. You, dear reader, have made the choice to click on the link and read whatever it is that I’m rambling on about. People have clicked on my songs for the 30DSC and even gone as far as to like some of the songs I’ve posted. So why would the same not occur when you click on a fundraising link?
Surprisingly, it does not make me mad. The closest friends are friends for a reason. It makes me a little frustrated as I am working pretty hard for my swim and it seems as if that has not been recognised by these friends. I feel like shaking them one at a time and saying, “Come on, you actually met my Dad on several occasions. Someone who I worked with for one shift and has not really spoken to me again has even bothered!” Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But you get my drift.
I’m not slating social networking sites. I’m in charge of the work profile and it actually gets us new or returning clients. They search for us and then comment on our wall or post us a message in our inbox. I suppose that’s what frustrates me even more though; the donations are not going straight into my pocket, they are going straight to Cancer Research as soon as you click the donate button!
Emailing Dad’s old work colleagues has definitely helped the numbers but it’s different for them; a lot of them had known him for as long as I was alive.
It makes me sound like I only care about how much I raise and it kind of makes me sound really ungrateful to those who have already donated. I’m not at all. In fact, I’m overwhelmed with how much I’ve raised and didn’t expect to raise that much at all when I put the target to £1,000.00 in March! I suppose, sociologically speaking, technology does not help fundraisers. I should just go and bang on people’s doors instead.