I came down with a pretty bad case of the flu this weekend, so my thoughts have been a little more difficult to organize. But as I was lying in bed, drinking 30+ cups of orange juice, and watching yet another Audrey Hepburn movie, my mind wandered to the people in my life. Of course I began thinking about my family and close friends, but then I started thinking about this whole idea of a personal “network.” In my humble opinion, your personal network is really consisted of those meaningful, professional relationships that you have developed in which you can call on those people for references, advice, career opportunities, support, etc.
In the “old days” your personal network was developed solely in person. By attending leads groups, BNI groups, networking events, churches, PTA meetings, school, whathaveyou… for the most part, your network was built by one-on-one, in-person contact – or with a personal introduction from/through someone else.
Now today, with the onslaught of social and online networks (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), the development of a personal network has evolved and how we meet people and foster relationships has completely changed.
Within our social networks, there are those we communicate with often. We know them by name, we comment on their content, we engage on a regular basis. We have developed a working rapport with these people.
Then, in our networks, we have the “lurkers.” The “lurkers” are those whom we are friends with, or follow, or are connected to, that we never, ever, ever, engage with. (I’m 100% guilty of this, too. We all are. So let’s not go pointing fingers.) These are people we ran into or had a brief conversation with way back when, and since then, we have dropped that connection. We don’t chat, talk, or connect at all.
SO, my social media tip of the week this week is: Make Better Connections (and renew old ones).
Find those people that you follow on Twitter, are friends with on Facebook, or are connected to on LinkedIn and spark a conversation with them. Renew that relationship. Make that connection worthwhile. You never know when you might need that person!
And the next time you follow someone, friend someone, or make a connection with someone, make it personal. Find a common interest, share a personal story, ask a question. Whatever! But make it substantial.
Rid your network (and your life) of those “lurkers.” Lurkers are creepy, anyway.
What do you think? Do you think those “lurkers” are always going to be there? Have you found a way to make your network more worthwhile?