A Flaky Society: We Aren’t Talking Dandruff, We are Talking Accountability

I am a musician, a bachelor, and a job seeker. As many 20 somethings do we seek to make our lives better. This is a short reflection piece on how people do not show social responsibility or respect to each other.

I think our world would be more effective if we responded to the messages delivered to us. I understand this is something that may be overwhelming to some, but don’t you think you have the accountability to make at least an auto reply if you do not have a way of filtering between good and bad content?

I think the act of ignoring people is a toxic behavior and too often people use social mores like “ you don’t owe anything to anyone” or “ignoring someone is valid” as a means to validate irresponsibility and I don’t think that is something that should be acceptable.

To elaborate here are a few examples:

Email

Whether you are emailing your family member, your coworker, your client, someone you want to book an event with you should probably respond to your email. If you are in your 20s and you are bragging about how many emails you don’t respond to on your smart phone then honestly I don’t want to be affiliated with you and want to stay far away from you. Besides there is now an app called Mailtrack which is really useful for people who need to track who to follow up with and by not replying after you read it the app tells you who to put in your “never contact again” box. Too often in all aspects of my life I find that people ignore their email. I understand it is not the most effective form of communication ( email open rates are as low as 24.7% across industries), but it does not dismiss that you should at least be accountable for the email that is sent to you, much like the paper mail that is sent to you if it yields a response, then respond to it.

Text

In Philadelphia I have been seeing billboards about people not talking to each other anymore. Why? Because people are obsessed with texting and sending messages and keeping up with their social timelines. I am guilty of it, but does it call for you to be slow and avoidant about replying to your text messages? Or does it call for you to be a dick and constantly text someone? Honestly I think they are both toxic behaviors. I categorize people who are incessantly texting someone has text dependent and people who are constantly avoiding their texts as text avoidant. I hypothesize ( I have no data to back this up) that people who are text dependent are either slightly narcissistic and entitled or genuinely trying to get attention out of someone because they are often ignored and have responsibilities and commitments to accomplish. People who are text avoidant are people who may either be very rude, self absorbed or have anxiety issues. The fallacy of text messaging is no one knows what the other person is doing on the other side ( unless you tell them or face-time) , but I think what is most important is that we take social responsibility by being text flexible. By being text flexible you neither depend on the responses of others nor do you avoid people, you talk to people in a fluid manner just as you would in an in person conversation. I wish more people would recognize that, it would make the world a more “text friendly” place.

Job Seeking/Journalism

I have no shame in admitting it but I have been underemployed since I have been in grad school. Am I alone? Not at all. In the past 3.5 years since my masters degree I have been seeking a better job and have applied to over 700 jobs yielding a little over 50 jobs. What does that tell you about the job application process? Not even recruiters or companies will take the accountability of telling applicants of what is wrong about your application and yes I have checked my spam box, not every company sends an automated robot message. I think it is better and more socially and corporately responsible to send some sort of feedback.

The same applies to sending our press releases to get an event or music promoted, no one replies they just click delete delete or just don’t respond at all. It’s almost like you can be convinced to believing what is the point in trying when no one cares to respond to you anyways?

Dating (Online or Offline)

Dating no matter how you meet the person ( Tinder, Okcupid,Bar, Coffeeshop, Concert, etc) can be very troubling. Why do I say this? Not because of the sex, not because of the getting to know someone, not because of the pressure of whether the person wants to be serious. It’s because of the communication. This weekend alone I was flaked on two days in a row after two people confirmed and said they wanted to meet up and show up. I showed up to the location only for no one to show up. Did I flip out on the people? No, but I asked myself why do people do this? Why not take the social accountability and responsibility to tell them you are not interested? How would you feel if your job told you to show up to work and you were fired before you entered the office? Does that not leave someone with a better ability to move on? Just like a job telling you you don’t have the qualifications or a journalist telling you your music is not good enough? I think you are getting the common denominator here.

The Workplace and Teamwork

No one likes a social loafer and if you don’t know what a social loafer is I will tell you. A social loafer is the lazy asshole who says yes every time to a group project and never contributes. No one likes the person who never contributes, often times this is also the person who shows up late, never replies to their email, never edits documents, never follows up with clients, and lets life fly by just by bullshitting. I can’t explain why these people exist, maybe they are privileged, maybe they haven’t gotten the silver taken out of their mouth. But one thing for sure is, they lack social accountability and probably are some of the biggest offenders of modern day flakiness. Don’t let these people be empowered, call them in, motivate them to contribute, and don’t allow them to flake on you.

Booking Tours

Lastly, booking events and tours. Too often the people you contact for booking are people who also lack communication skills and the ability to be diligent. I am inundated with Facebook statuses by irresponsible people who say they are slow to reply to messages and don’t reply to messages and show inquiries at all. I don’t have data to back it up, but I am sure the response rate for promoters and events are lower than for journalists, publicists and other people in industries.

Ultimately I think it would be best if promoters and bookers took the social accountability of using an auto reply message at the very least and actually sending their messages back to tell people if they are interested or not.

Conclusion

I can’t control people, nor can I take this modern day rejection personally. I have to dust myself off and try it again. I have to make more effective ways of changing myself and networking, dating, and ultimately finding the things I need. I know the best way to change things is to be patient with yourself, but I am writing this post because I think every person could use a little digital and social responsibility. We need to respect each other.

I think it is curious that people can be so dismissive to people they barely know or have not met. I think it is rude when people don’t reply and I know I can’t always take it personally. Sometimes people may have genuine psychological issues or are dealing with other matters in their own lives. I may also be considered intimidating, or maybe the world is racist ( I mean really people definitely have probably ignored me because I am black I can’t deny that). I could come up with many ways of why people don’t reply and find myself in a endless state of pity. Or I can write this blog and share my thoughts on communication. I think it is important we learn to be socially accountable, responsible, and flexible to respond to people in various dynamics instead of making false promises. A world of false promises makes us no better than any politician especially Lord Cheeto. We know in this climate we don’t want to bullshit the same way our leaders have bullshit us. So what am I really trying to say here?

Don’t be shitty to people you haven’t met yet. Don’t ignore people,and be open to at least trying to communicate with others. Don’t be afraid to say no and stand up for what you believe is right.

People say they don’t owe you anything, but death,taxes and bills are still debited to your budget and I think the one thing we do owe each other is respect.