Why do you follow me on Twitter? And while we’re on the topic, why did you add me as friend on Facebook? Or network me on LinkedIn? Or subscribe to my blog?
Seriously. Think about it.
Did you click me on a whim? Did you add me as a Facebook friend because we once hung out and used to play together in the sandpit after school? Did you network me on LinkedIn because you needed to get to 10 additions in your network?
And now that we’re connected, how often do we chat? How often do we trade information? How often do you read my blog or check my profile or send me an @message?
That’s 11 questions.
Here’s the kicker: I’m asking myself the same questions about you. You may think it’s kind of harsh. And I agree at face-value the questions are uncomfortable but that’s only because the answers are equally uncomfortable.
When we first hop onto these social networks we get all giddy, searching out people we used to know, adding every Tom, Dick and Aloysius we had even the slightest association with. I’m guilty of it too. But now with more social channels and more people on them, as individuals we’re fast approaching critical mass.
Social networks 101. The catch is the “SOCIAL” in social network. You need to socialise regularly with people to build relationships. You need to share, to interact, to communicate on a personal as well as a professional level. You need to add value.
I’m not talking only in the commercial sense. I mean social, personal or aesthetic value as well. And you need to be honest about if you’re able to add value from your side. If there’s no exchange of value then there’s no reason to continue the tenuous link you share with someone because you used to share sandwiches in lunchbreak.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying you should cut people left, right and centre. I’m just saying that maybe you could get more out of your social networks if you targeted your interactions to the ones of value. And that value-exchange level is wholly dependent on you.
The reason you may not want to ask those 11 questions is that you could find yourself with no “friends”. And if you do choose to go down that route and you do find your social network being decimated, then perhaps you should ask yourself one more question: were any of those people ever really your friend?
So, let me know if I add value to you and how I could possibly add more value to you. And if I don’t or can’t…