Losing My "g+1"'s

It all started when I stopped getting "g+1" on my blog posts.

For quite a while everything I wrote had this symbol pop up on it.  I didn't know what it stood for but I figured it was something good.

I got used to seeing it after every post, even the ones I thought were average ("See Jesus in Toast? You're Not Hallucinating").

But all of a sudden, they stopped.  Had my writing declined?  Was there only one person out there stamping my posts with the graphic and now he/she's stopped reading them?  Or, worst of all, was I now boring the "g+1"ers?

I try to keep my posts interesting and up to date, and well, kind of out there, like "Avoid Breast Cancer. Don't Pump Gas," and one of my favorites, "Married and Depressed? There May Be A Connection."  

But suddenly it's seeming I'm not quite the good read I once was. Then I saw Bruce Feller's essay in The New York Times, "For the Love of Being 'Liked.'" and it all clicked in.  I'm not as okay as I once was. 

Visions came racing back.  Not being allowed to sit at the right table in high school.  Being the last one picked for softball (or soccer or dodge ball or jump rope, you get the drift).  Not getting married till I was almost 40 (but that, I blame on my husband).

Foremost among the patterns we're now seeing, Feller writes, "is a mass anxiety of approval seeking and popularity tracking that seems far more suited to a high school prom than a high-functioning society."

OK.  I get that.  (Like the people who buy "likes" and "friends," and yes, that option is out there, so you can feel more, well, popular.)

Feller mentions people who feel a buzz of euphoria when their cell phones ding, who use FavStar and SocialBro to monitor their Twitter accounts, and HootSuite to "audit remarks" about their blogs.  Huh?

I certainly don't go in for all this but my day crashed the first time I went on my blog and saw no "g's" or plus signs.  And it keeps happening! (Now I try not to look for it when I post something new.  Doesn't help.)

Feller says while getting lots of likes or retweets feels great, "The feeling of rejection from not getting them is often greater."   People (me included) so love the good feelings that come from knowing lots of people are reading -- and approving -- their posts, it's almost like they're loving us.  And when it stops?  It's that personal.

I know there could be lots of reasons I stopped getting the "g+1"'s.  But none of them feel good.  It doesn't help that I never knew what it stood for, anyway, or that people stop to tell me they liked my last op-ed in the newspaper.  I miss them, and I just want them back.  


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