Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bringing Value to Your Social Media Network

Have you ever taken a moment to assess how much value you bring to your social media network?

Equally as important, have you ever taken a moment to assess how much value your social media network brings to you?

A strong social media network is a prized possession.  When people collaborate, they create opportunities to learn, to share and to change the world.

But a strong social media network is like a classic automobile.  When taken care of and nurtured, it is a source of pride and enjoyment.  It brings a sense of purpose, fulfillment and joy to your life and to the lives of others and therefore provides value.

If it is not nurtured with effective, proactive maintenance, it eventually turns into something that takes too much of your time and appears to be of little value.  It may even become something you come to resent as you seek to find the value that you know should be there but is difficult to see.  It’s the classic automobile that has potential but which is buried in a pile of junk in an old barn out back, waiting for its potential to be rediscovered.

If there is no value in some relationships, why invest in them?

When you are on your way to work, to the mall or wherever, do you stop and chat for 30 minutes with every random stranger you meet with intent of building a lifelong relationship?

Of course not – if you did, you would never get anything done.

So I wonder why people would do the same thing with certain slices of their social media network; spending too much time trying to incubate all the relationships instead of focusing on the relationships that really bring value to each participant in the relationship (or third-parties who will benefit from their collaboration).

Many spend too much time with their “broad-side-of-the-barn” approach, get very little for their unfocused activity and then complain that they aren’t producing the results they would prefer to produce.  Many who spend a lot of time doing this lament that they are run off their feet because they are so busy.

Yet when their effectiveness (and sometimes happiness) are actually measured, the results are embarrassing.  They have confused activity with productivity and action with traction (completely different from the story of success that they claim exists).

I would suggest that growing a network of immense size and unknown value that takes a small staff to maintain is not the right approach.  If people selected the members of their social media network more effectively, they might find that the relationships bring greater quality to their personal and professional lives and the lives of others.

I know that some people will cry foul with this observation.  It is true that there are people who use their networks VERY effectively.  Others can learn from how they contribute to and participate in their social media network.

However, when many people complain of poor results or the fact that they have no time to get anything done, you realize that these people still haven’t figured out how to use social media effectively.

In fact, I don’t think they are using social media at all. I think it is using them.

As with all technology, control the use of social media effectively otherwise it will control you. 

In 2011, I have decided to eliminate 80% of the connections in my social media network.  My network is quite large and has reached a point where maintaining the network is becoming a full time job (for example, my LinkedIn 3rd degree network has almost 16 million people in it and drives a lot of traffic in my direction that I have no interest in and where I can offer no value in return).

I did this last year and it greatly reduced the amount of noise in my life.  It is time for a second pass.

Feelings will be hurt.  Some people will be offended. That is unfortunate but if we live a life doing everything that everyone else expects of us for their own gain, we would have no time to live our own lives.

My Life, the time I have remaining on this Earth and my unlimited potential to make a difference are too important to waste.

I believe yours is too important to waste also.

So why waste it?

To you and yours, I wish an amazing abundance of health, wealth and happiness in 2011.

In service and servanthood,



  1. Yes Harry, well said and I too have recently lopped over 80% of my network as it didn't equal my networth.

    Closing out a Twitter account with over 50K followers was freeing. I had learned, ironically, how to build large from the big boys. Interestingly, none of them are even still using Twitter as it had been a hit and run tool for them. They realized that numbers had no value and gave up. I felt a sense of responsibility so hung in there longer than necessary. Now I get to rebuild with intense selectivity and knowing that I will provide value and receive same in return.

    FB is similar, I think most indulge in drive by friendings, encourage by FB. Just because you know 20 or 200 of someone's friends doesn't mean they will fit you. It seems social media advented with few criteria and it behooves those using it for the long haul to create meaningful criteria and stick to them.

    Clean up, while necessary, is costly and when built right the first time, I hope to prove it can be avoided! LOL


  2. I agree with this. My twitter network has become unmanageable because when I started I studied strategies for growing my followers. I have since realized that its size has actually hurt me more than helped. I would definitely like to know what steps are you taking, and tools you are using, to perform this reduction.

  3. In the first week of January, I deleted over 4,290 Facebook "friends", reducing my network to about 18% of its original size.

    Already, the quality of my feed and my interactions are much more sharp, and in alignment with my purpose and the purpose of those in my network.

    It takes courage and is not a slam against those you unfriend - it's a question of bringing enhanced quality to every relationship.