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’?”