People Watching by Left-Hand on Flickr

Photo Credit: People Watching - Left-Hand on Flickr

Social Media Relationships II

There is no correlation between having a big social media presence and

  • being good at what you do
  • being smart
  • having something useful to say
  • being worth the attention
  • getting your work done
  • making sales
  • closing deals
  • getting new business
  • innovating
  • being a good place to work
  • getting smart people to work for you

Social media is no different than any other form of advertising. The message and the distribution channels tell you nothing about:

  • the biases of the author
  • organizational affiliation
  • the truth or falsity of any claims made
  • the accuracy of the material
  • whether or not the material is good for you
  • the utility of the idea

When new publishing and advertising technology takes root, the early adopters appear to have (and in some ways actually do have) more influence and authority than might otherwise be accorded them. Prowess with new technology can seem like  subject matter expertise. Learning to tell the difference between publishing skills and functional utility is one of the new frontiers of literacy.

Here at the dawn of the communications era, we are just beginning to learn to distinguish between friendship and advertising; between relationships and connections; between being a spam target and being valued; between a network and a mailing list; between your pipeline and my community.

Resist the temptation to see answers where there hasn’t been enough time for them to evolve. A few years of experimentation with new media forms demonstrates little about their ultimate shape and impact. Think of the first few years of television, radio or the internet. The long term impact only becomes fully apparent after a decade or two.

In yesterday’s article, the bare bones of relationship maintenance were described. In five very concentrated hours a week, you can keep 1,000 relationships alive at slightly better than the annual holiday greeting card list level. Building an operational network requires something more. Much more.

Tomorrow: Value Driven Relationships in Social Media

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