I’m big on saying thank you–a hard habit to break.
Taught as a child by my parents to thank anyone and everyone who did anything at all for me, I now think the practice was overdone. It would’ve been better to teach me to thank God for my many blessings. Instead I learned that I didn’t deserve to be treated well just for being me, a child of God. Someone had to be doing me a huge favor to act kindly toward me. I carried that mindset into adulthood (grateful for any positive attention from a verbally abusive husband) until I noticed other adults looked at me strangely when I thanked them for every insignificant little thing. But further reviewing my emotional baggage from childhood is a post for another type of blog at another time.
Today I see a lot of thanking going on in social media, particularly thanks for a follow on Twitter. Admirable, but like my childhood thank-you, perhaps overdone? I’ll admit it feels good to receive such a thank you from individuals I know and respect, but I honestly don’t expect one, I don’t become angry if I don’t receive one, and I don’t know how most people find the time.
Early on, I tried to tweet a thank you to new followers, but I was afraid of offending someone by inadvertent omission if I’d recently tweeted a thanks to someone else but not to him. So I finally gave up and tweeted a general thank you every now and then. I do try to thank individually for a re-tweet, but I’ve probably missed a few of those, too.
In most cases with social media, as with life in general, wouldn’t actions speak louder than words? Actions often prove more practical for me–and I hope more appreciated by fellow tweeters. Yeah, I know part of the appeal of the tweeted thank you is the recipient’s address going out to all my other followers and calling attention to it, but…
When people I don’t already know follow me, I check them out. I know that takes a couple of minutes of my time, but I simply can’t do the automatic follow-back. If they appear to have something interesting to say other than trying to sell me something, then I follow back. Isn’t that a form of thank you? Do I have to actually say the words?
BTW, if I follow you back on Twitter and you immediately message me with a sales pitch for your diet supplement or marketing services, you’ll likely be booted! No excuse, even if you have a manager for your Twitter account. That’s no way to thank me for following you! (Same goes for connections on LinkedIn.)
On Facebook, if another author whose name I’m familiar with likes my author page, I reciprocate–unless it’s an author of material I find objectionable, which hasn’t happened so far. That’s a nice thank you, isn’t it? (I wish more would do the same for me when I like their pages first.) Plus, I occasionally post a general “Thanks for the new likes” on my page for any unknown persons.
If, like me, you don’t spend hours per day on social media, how do you show appreciation? How necessary is it to do so? Big-name authors and celebrities don’t acknowledge my follow, and that doesn’t bother me. Do most people even care about getting a thank you? If they are truly interested in what you have to say, will they drop you because you failed to thank them individually?
On the other hand, a few adults I’ve known personally never say the words “Thank you” anywhere at any time. Some don’t know what it’s like to write and mail a formal thank-you note for a gift. That’s not good. I’ve wondered if they do better or worse showing their thanks on social media than they do in more conventional situations.
But as Jerry Seinfeld once said after receipt of free tickets to an athletic event, and I paraphrase, “How many times do I need to say “‘Thank you’?”
lol – I agree. I think oftentimes it boils down to the intent behind the thank you. If you’re wanting to acknowledge their action, then as you said, a like or follow back more than conveys you noticed what they did and reciprocated. I’ve gotten some of those “thanks for following” tweets and more times than not, I only did it for points in a giveaway so their thanks feels misplaced.
At work, when I email a colleague several times a day, I don’t need a thank you every single time. While it’s nice to be appreciated from the clients I only interact with on a less-frequent basis, getting a “thank you” email every 30 minutes from the same person starts to get annoying when I’m trying to focus on work.
I do believe in saying thank you in certain situations where others might not. Like I usually say thank you after the server delivers our food at a restaurant. But we went out with a family recently and they said thank you over and over after each cup, each plate as the server went around the table. It started to crack me up.
On the flip-side, I wasn’t raised to send thank you notes. Either you thanked the person as you opened the gift or you called and thanked them. Sending notes after my wedding was probably the one and only time I have done so and I found it extremely difficult to force myself to sit down and do. Sometimes I worry if we should be making our daughter do them. But I much prefer the personal touch of calling Uncle B to thank him for donating to her Jump Rope for Heart fund rather than sitting down to write out a card.
Sparks, glad you enjoyed the post. Your answer gave me a few giggles, too.
I’m really glad you posted about social media. I almost gave up on my Twitter, and I’ve cut way back because of being inundated by people trying to sell me stuff, sometimes several tweets a day. I like the idea behind twitter and being to reciprocate–as you mentioned. It was taking up waaay too much time. I’m trying to better organize my followers by category, so I can read important feeds first. A work in progress.
I didn’t know I could organize my followers. Thanks, Vanessa.