Building relationships: 10 ways to get the most out of social networking sites

Dustin Wax shares these tips in Building Relationships: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Social Networking Sites – Lifehack.org :

  1. Have a clear purpose
  2. Complete your profile
  3. Don’t follow the leader
  4. Accept everyone
  5. Add everyone you know, no matter how little
  6. Pick one or two networks and work them
  7. Send messages
  8. Have something to say
  9. Avoid clutter
  10. Firewall your personal with [sic] business lives

Dustin Wax, Building Relationships: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Social Networking Sites – Lifehack.org

I agree with most of his list, except for Accept everyone and Firewall your personal and business lives. Here’s why:

I don’t accept everyone. At least, not until I’ve had a good conversation with them. Many people on social networking sites seem to think that it’s all about collecting connections. The only time you’ll ever hear from them is when they send you a form-letter invite, and that’s it. I don’t mind connecting with people out of the blue, but I want to make at least a little effort to establish a connection first. I want to know more about my connections than just what’s on their profile. What’s the point of social networking if I can’t make a personal introduction? After all, if people are in my network, I should be able to vouch for them, or at least say something that people wouldn’t get if they just search the Net. So if people want to collect connections, but they don’t want to engage in at least one e-mail conversation about why they want to connect and what their personal goals are, if they’ve never checked out my blog or told me about theirs, if they’ve never even made an effort to find things we have in common and how we can help each other… I won’t connect. I’d rather limit my already-large contact list to people I feel comfortable reaching out to. Similarly, I don’t add people en-masse, just people I would like to keep in touch with. And (gasp!) I prune the contact list once in a while. After all, if people just want to keep an eye on me, they can read my blog or use lots of other asymmetric ways to keep in touch. My contact list should be a list of people who would read my e-mail or take my call if I needed help, and who are willing to spend some time helping me get to know them.

I don’t separate my business and personal life. People who do this miss out on such rich interactions. The truth is, you need that personal touch to make business relationships sparkle. I can’t tell you how many times my personal blog has led to interesting conversations with my clients and colleagues. Granted, there are some things I don’t blog (mainly because I don’t have the time to write about everything I do want to blog). But I won’t try to build barriers between my personal and business life. This is who I am: all of it, all my blog posts and sketches and rants. It is possible to have both integrity of self and honesty of self-expression.

How about you? How do you feel about open networking or work-life separation?

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  • Tracy Stuart

    Speaking of professional networking sites, does anyone have an extra invite to Virtudex.com? I’m going crazy trying to find one…

  • http://www.davidairey.com David Airey

    Hi Sacha,

    I completely agree with you that you shouldn’t ‘add everyone’. Far too many people think that social networking is about creating the biggest collection of contacts. For me, it’s about creating stronger relationships through another communication method.

    What’s the point in having a ‘friend’ you never talk to? Not much of a friend really.

    So you know, I arrived here through Google’s blogsearch, after searching for ‘building relationships’.

    I hope you’re well.

  • tracy stuart

    Hey guys! I would like to thank everyone. I received an invite yesterday and the site is really cool. If anyone wants to sign on to virtudex.com I received a code that seems to work more than one time its pass08

    One incredible thing they have is their privacy settings feature. You basically split all your friends into groups and decide who can see what info so if you do add 100 people you don’t know you just put them under a limited relationship status which keeps them from seeing certain info on your profile.

    Best regards!

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Hmm. I’m not impressed by the fact that I can’t get to Virtudex’s privacy policy or that most of their footer navigation doesn’t work, and it’s a little odd that there’s nothing on the radar right now. I wouldn’t vote for this site right now. Who knows, Tracy Stuart might even be astroturfing. ;)

    Me, I’m not going to explore this site until more people I know love it. =) Just so you know.

  • http://www.mediumandthemessage.com zoe

    Great post! I love how open and honest you are. It is so important in building trust in relationship (which my job also depends on).

    I came across this post doing a search for user reviews on Virtudex after someone suggested it on my blog. After visiting I didn’t feel comfortable putting in my information and I still haven’t come across and convincing reviews. I think I’ll stick with my LinkedIn profile!

    z

  • Gail Kent

    ALERT!!!! Do not go to Virtudex.com! I read about it on this blog (see Jason Gamby) and went to it and it is a phishing site!!! They got my email address before I realized it and there is no way to delete your profile from the site. Don’t get scammed!!!!

  • Gail Kent

    Edit the above comment — it was not Jason Gamby on this site — that was the name on a different site…But the alert is real!!!!!

  • Brandon T.

    Hi Gail, I’m the owner of Virtudex.com there is no way I would allow phishing on my site. I don’t know if you work for the competition, but I only offer the best services possible. My site is in Beta and really is supposed to be only for my Friends and Family, but it has spread far away from just that. If you wanted you account deactivate all you need to do is send us a simple email and we would deactivate it right away. In no way is my site 100% perfect yet, but it does offer some very useful tools especially for free.
    Oh and by the way I just went to erase your account and guess what there is no Gail Kent on Virtudex. So there is something Phishy on your end.
    By the way I appreciate all the constructive criticism written on this blog. I really would like to make Virtudex the best business social network available. If there is a social networking expert that would like to give their opinion I would love the advice.
    Thanks! Brandon

  • http://www.petewildermuth.com pete wildermuth

    Sacha
    haha
    I was going to say Don’t add everyone
    there are too many bots and automated scripts out there
    and have something interesting to say…or something amusing to say
    Interested if you could add to my list of blogs
    http://www.petewildermuth.com/2009/08/21-great-web-2-0-blogs/