Feel free to leave the conversation

While I was on hold during a call to my local camera shop, the voice recording encouraged me to “find the retailer on social media and join the conversation.”

That got me thinking: What’s this conversation? Why should I join it? Who’s talking? What happens if I don’t join it?

When it comes to my relationship with this camera store, I’m nobody. I pop in every once and a while, chat with the staff, explore the new gear, and then make some relatively small purchases (in the grand scheme of their monthly sales figures).

What else do I need from them? Why do I need to be further entangled in their operations?

The staff is pleasant and helpful while I’m on the premises, but I’m sure they aren’t interested in talking to me every day. They’re ultimately there to: (a) help answer my questions, (b) show me gear and make sure I don’t run off with it, (c) ring up my sale, and (d) move on to the next customer.

With that in mind, why should we converse long term? Do they really need to be concerned with all the random things I have to say? Are my musings about specific camera features that valuable? And on the flip side, should I be constantly on alert, waiting to listen to their updates, promotions, and store news?

As I thought about it more and more I became aware of the message’s hidden FOMO and attention-economy components: “Hey, you could be missing out on things other people are talking about! Don’t you want in on that? (By the way, please pay attention to us.)”

It’s OK to not be part of every conversation.

More often than not, I feel that most people – myself included – should not be part of the conversation.

What I wish I heard more of is: “Feel free to leave the conversation.”