I live in Nashville and am fortunate to call a number of people in the music business friends – real friends. The word real is something I have been thinking about lately. We live in a world where accumulation has reached the point of hoarding for many people, even on the Internet. In Violated Online I have spoken about the value of online friends, when to accept invitations, when to ignore the potential intrusion and about the benefits of online purging.
You can be violated online without ever considering your exposure. As I write this, it is the beginning of another work week. As with most people, my email inbox was full and the first couple of hours were spent sorting and prioritizing. I had literally dozens of requests from people either wanting to be my “friend” or wanting to “follow” me; I recognized one name.
Each week, I am invited to new social sites presenting their “Web 3.0” social platforms for networking with other professionals. All it requires is a single click authorizing the new site to access my Facebook account. I don’t think so…
I’ve heard it said that our goal should be to gather as many people into our social networks as possible. And while I understand that in some cases this can be beneficial, my question to most people is, what do you do once you have 5000, 50,000 or 100,000 friends? The answer for most is, not much. The reality is that you have increased the potential to be violated online, developed connectivity but not relationship, and more than likely overwhelmed your ability to digest what is coming at you.
I am waiting for a new book by Astri Suhrke titled When Less Is More. It is a political book about Afghanistan and the content has no relevance to this writing. The title however sums up my recent conclusions – less may indeed be more. Fewer friends and likes may actually produce deeper and more meaningful exchanges without the need for constant posting in order to remain relevant. Being available 24/7 not only wears you out but potentially exposes you to online violations. You can become less vigilant and more flippant regarding accepting requests for online connectivity. Don’t fall asleep! Maintain your sanity and the quality of your life.
Businesses that take time to develop rich content are laying the groundwork for extending relationships. High value content positions you well as a single source for reliable information, products and services. Superficial connections in the thousands are not necessarily a solution for developing business online. If the goal is short term gains to present marketing offers, then yes, a million virtual connections may be of benefit you. It will not, in all likelihood, develop long cycle relationships that are valued.
Using social methodologies is far from free, so if you aren’t using them to their full potential, it might be worth rethinking why you’re using them at all, since it also introduces the potential to be violated online. Depending on how well you have built a pro-active online defense strategy, you may simply be opening yourself up to negative comments review and opinion sites. In essence, you can create your own online crisis. Sometimes the risks just aren’t worth the cost.
Be deliberate as you make your decisions regarding how much is too much; quantity, quality, exposure and benefit. You do have the ability to take back control. You don’t have to be passive and end up the victim of violations online.