It’s funny, because when I think of social networking in 2008 and what it means to the web 2.0 crowd, all I see is a bunch of people hiding behind computers with a jpeg for a face, and a keyboard for a mouth. We all fall into that category of course, because our business is based on the computer – but does it have to remain there? I look at someone like Lynn Terry from ClickNewz.com who, whenever she’s attending an industry event, invites her readers to meet up with her for lunch if any of them are local to where the event is happening. Talk about extending yourself and increasing availability – Lynn is connected with some of the top dogs in Internet marketing and still makes it a priority to pow wow with her available readers whenever she’s on the road. I definitely encourage you to extend yourself to your regular blog readers and swap phone numbers. Get acquainted with each other because the relationships we build now are the most important, and going beyond the computer is something I practice as often as possible.
Let’s take a closer look at the term “social networking” a little closer: You have social, or socializing, which is an interaction between 2 or more people without any defined objective or purpose – you’re simply talking for the sake of the moment. On the other end you have networking, which can start off as socializing but eventually will lead to end-goals from that particular conversation. If you caught that last bit, then you will know that the core difference between socializing and networking is the objective or goal – why are you talking to this person? One can argue that every interaction has some sort of objective whether it be to prevent that greasy guy at the bar from approaching you, or to keep your wife occupied while your friend sneaks your golf clubs into his truck – because your wife thinks you have a doctors appointment and your friend is driving you.
Learn to balance the two…
With so many mediums of social networking available on the web, it can become quite challenging to find a healthy balance between the two. One thing I haven’t done yet is download some sort of third party Twitter application like TweetDeck, because I don’t see anything positive coming out of me having access to Twitter every minute of every day. Is it really that important that I respond to tweets or direct messages right away? No. Do I really need to have Skype open all day while I work online? No. If anything of dire importance needs my attention I will either be notified as soon as I log in (literally) or that individual whom I am waiting to hear from will contact me by other means, like phone or personal email. Choose when to be connected and when to skillfully disconnect in order to promote a more productive day.
Unfortunately, most of what we do online in regards to social networking and communication is merely glorified socializing – and that my friends is the ultimate enemy of productivity. When you choose to engage in social interaction, be conscious of the goals and objectives behind that encounter. Why are you talking to this person? If there is a specific reason, make sure it gets addressed within the first 2 minutes of digital conversation and if someone wants to tell you about their trip to the petting zoo, let them know that you can’t chat right now and to send you a brief email telling you all about it. Knowing when you make your exit will greatly improve your online performance, but also set the guidelines for others to know what to expect from you.
Try to encourage more networking and less socializing, and you soon realize how much time you were wasting doing the later. I know it’s hard to not jump on every new micro-blogging platform that enters the market, because we’re all nerds for that type of shit! It’s what we look forward to! Just know when to bow out gracefully if you do happen to indulge on a daily basis. Having an addiction to social networking sites is a serious problem – not only will it potentially cripple your business, but your home life as well, so be careful!
13 thoughts on “Real Social Networking”
Man, this article came at the exact time I’ve been trying to get a grip on yet “another schedule”. Because my priorities change often (new projects, help/design for others, etc.), it forces me to switch up my scheduling. One area that I can never get a proper grip on is “socializing”.
I love how you pointed out the difference of networking and socializing, and how the latter is of less importance on the big scheme of things….espeically “daily”.
I used to actually “schedule” my social networking time (sites, twitter, etc) , but I fell off, which as we all know, is extremely easy to do.
One thing I did do is try and get everyone to contact me vis one messenger (Skype) rather than have to have 4 different ones open. Now it’s either “contact me on Skype or email”. That alone has unloaded a bit of stress/chaos. lol
I try hard to schedule checking stats, sociial bookmarking sites, and twitter, etc. I’ve literally had full afternoons that were nothing but “socializing” by accident. lol
Don’t get me wrong, keeping in touch is very important. However, like I already mentioned above, there has to be a line drawn if you have work to get done.
Remember the time on Skype where I asked you a direct question about internet marketing, and that somehow morphed into a 2 hour discussion about old school hip hop? lol
That’s what I’m talkin’ about man! lol. Although, it was enjoyable, just gotta make sure that’s during “down time”.
I could write about this for another hour, but I’ll just hit you up on Skype and we’ll discuss it for the rest of the afternoon……doh! there I go again!….
@ SuiteJ – It was our experiences over the last week or so that spawned this post. I noticed how at first we were relentless with the IM’ing and we both realized how much time we were wasting, which lead me to no longer log onto Skype during the day to benefit the both of us! It’s definitely an ongoing challenge for sure.
I have skype and use it to mastermind with others. As far as social networking I use Twitter and I follow intresting marketers as far as checking it everyday…I really dont to that I mainly use it to kinda keep up to date on some trends….so maybe once a week I check and ignore the “drinking coffee” msgs and keep an eye out for marketing ideas.
I worked in customer service, so I LOATHE the telephone. It took several years before I stopped hyperventilating at the sound of a ringing telephone (thank the gods for ringtones on cell phones, or I’d be screwed!).
I actually love Twitter because I rarely get into long conversations, but it provides me with enough interaction to let me breathe while working. Of course, most of my Tweets are at my day job…. Once I get home and actually work on my own projects (which, ok, I also do at my day job, but I don’t feel guilty for slacking off on BANS while I’m on the company’s dime), most of my Tweeps are in bed. So, then I’m mostly talking to Jarret. 🙂
As for real life interaction, most of my internet friends and colleagues live a state or more away. The few who don’t are friends in real life who spilled over into my ‘net life. We do make the effort to actually get together over coffee, dinner, or movies, but conversation almost always revolves around writing (we’re all writers), or marketing. They’re the ones I started the Squidoo tutorials for.
Believe it or not, blogging and tweeting have provided me with the most opportunities I’ve had. Because I get chatty about my Squidoo lenses, I had a freelance Tweep of mine contact me for rates and info so she can suggest me to her freelance clients!
Sneaking off for golf? I’m so telling Veronica!
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@ Desmond – It’s always important to sift through the “I just made my cat a new toy” tweets and keep an eye out for the inside stuff!
@ WV – The golf reference wasn’t anything of my own actions.. I’m too much of an artist to be a golfer. I prefer getting a glass of scotch, watching art films that make no sense (Holy Mountain), and then making crazy noise vibrations in the studio with a friend until the we hours of the morning when I pass out drunk on top of a pile of vinyl records… All while Veronica sleeps.
Hahahaha, this is so true dude! That’s why I say don’t turn that stuff on unless you are free or looking for help. Otherwise, turn it off! No, not just “away” but turn that sum bee off. It’s the only way you will escape, otherwise, you or your pal will spark up a convo about hip hop, addidas, and dookey gold chains!
Good thing I don’t have friends in the real world to bug me on messengers then! haha 😉
But you made some great points Elijah, while I usually go agaisnt the grain, I have Yahoo, GTalk, AIM and TweetDeck all open right now 😛 I have had times where I end up trying to talk to 3 people at once all of a sudden when I should actually be working.
But I’m not much of a talker anyways unless it is something about how I can make more money, so usually the conversations only last a few minutes as I am quite boring when you actually get to know me…….
@ Joe – I can’t believe you just said “dookey gold chains”
@ Jarret – I would throw my laptop out the window If I had that many chat windows open. I only log onto Skype when I’m done for the day, or when I need help with something (as you know…)
Hahhahaaha, what you know bout dat son!
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Don’t forget.. I lived in South Miami for 4 years… you wanna talk about dookey gold chains.. let’s write a how-to guide..
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Yeah son! Them joints was bangin! I know you had one didn’t you? lol I know you did…you still got that sum bee…
Normal Joes last blog post..I Caught John Cow Talking About Me Behind My Back!
That comment about someone wanting talk about their trip to the petting zoo sure gets the point across. It is vital to clear up any misdirection in a communication before it starts to get quite involved, or it can go on for a long period of time with both sides not enjoying the process as the listener is not interested and the speaker can notice that the listener is not interested.
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