To all the people who ask me to play without even introducing themselves, do you think I want to play with you?
This isn’t some highbrow statement or a rhetorical question. I’m asking you to really think about it. Put yourself in my place. Assume the presence of another human being for a few minutes. Can you do that? Can you imagine the possible things that must go through my mind when considering someone?
Imagine you’re being asked the same question. A stranger has just messaged you: “Hi, would you ever consider playing with me?”
How would you react?
To be honest, my initial reaction is “no” simply because of how I was asked. That message shows a lack of perspective, which equates to a disconnect between me and this other person. Even so, I’ll still go check out their profile. Their message may have put me off, but I’ll at least go see what they’re about.
I’ll check their ‘about me’ section: Did they write anything at all? Did they write something generic? Did they write a novel? Did they write a giant block of text or did they break it up and make it easy to read?
I’ll check their photos: Do they post a lot? Do they post pictures of themselves? Of friends? If there are other people in the photos, are they credited? Do they post a variety of images? Do they take flattering photos? Do they just have a bunch of online images and memes?
I’ll check what they’ve loved and commented on recently: Do they comment a lot? Is there a trend to the kind of comments they leave? What kind of content do they tend to like?
I’ll check their friends list: Do they have a lot of friends? Do they have local friends? Are they following all the popular people? Are they defiantly NOT following all the popular people?
I’ll check their writings: Do they write at all? What’s their voice like? What do they tend to write about? Do people love and/or comment on their writings?
I’ll check their groups: Do they belong to any groups? Which ones? Do they actually participate in them? If they do participate in discussions, what kind of attitude do they express in their conversations?
They asked if I would want to play with them. In order to answer that question, I have to find out about them. Ideally, they would strike up a conversation first, gain common ground, and try to gauge if we have any sort of connection before popping the question. But because they jumped right to it, I have to play catch up. In my mind they’ve studied me enough to think we’d be good partners; they wouldn’t be asking if they weren’t hoping for a “yes”, right? (I realize they probably didn’t check me out in the same way I would check them out, but I still feel the need to even out the effort.)
All I have to work with is that initial message and their profile. I can learn a lot about a person with just those things. Nothing conclusive of course, but enough to determine if I want to keep a discussion open.
So to all those who ask me to play without even introducing themselves, do you think I want to play with you? Have you considered how you are presenting yourself? Do you realize that your online activity speaks for you? What have you found out about me that makes you think I’d say yes?
This might be play but I take it seriously. I need to learn about you before I can consider playing with you. If you’re going to put me at a disadvantage right from the start, you probably won’t get the answer you’re seeking.