Finding Order in Social Networking Chaos

4 Min Read

That is my mission for 2014.

I am throwing out the rules. I am eliminating the notes and disclaimers. I am retreating into the past.

That is my mission for 2014.

I am throwing out the rules. I am eliminating the notes and disclaimers. I am retreating into the past.

When I began speaking at social media conferences in 2009, I auto-followed 7,000 on Twitter and had nearly 1,000 Facebook friends. Drowned by the cacophony of voices, I gradually felt guilty if I missed the updates and conversations from my first friends. Over time I decided to unfollow and unfriend to find the people who matter.

And that’s how it’s been ever since. I kept trying to impose new rules — be my friend if you meet this condition or I’ll follow you if you meet that condition — and it was fine for a period of time and then I changed my mind and confused people. I don’t know how many times I unfollowed Ken Burbary or Chris Brogan. It’s no wonder they block me today. To Ken and Chris and anyone else who blocked me, I’m sorry.

As I wrote in my 2014 primer, I am adhering to Thom Singer’s coffee, meal, and beer rule:

I do not link to people on LinkedIn and Facebook whom I have not interacted with personally… A conversation that lasts 45 minutes establishes a baseline for a minimum level of contact before the online link is made. I also have “digital equivalent” options such as phone calls, Skype conversations or Google+ Hangouts… as in today’s online world our relationships can certainly grow via virtual meetings.

On Facebook and LinkedIn specifically, I have to know you in the way that Thom describes. I have to have some sort of pre-existing relationship with you, whether it’s going out to eat or talking at an event or tweeting or commenting on blogs or something. There has to be something that binds us mutually.

On the other sites including TwitterPinterest, and Google+, I will follow you because. Just because.

I am quickly embracing the fact that I will see a lot of content. You will show me a lot of pictures, video, links. You will share what’s on your mind and what’s on your kids’ and cats’ minds. You will bore me some of the time (and some of you already admitted that to me, that I will find a lot of boringness in your updates). I say bring it. Bring on the chaos. Give me everything. I will see what I see and skip over the rest.

“Personally I find the democratic chaos of the Internet fascinating, and for the most part really benign.” – Moby

I hope that if I inspire you across social media, and you can click those links to see me there, follow me or add me as a friend in return.

Thanks for reading — and thanks for saying yes to being social with me (again).

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