Dustin Wax shares these tips in Building Relationships: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Social Networking Sites – Lifehack.org :
- Have a clear purpose
- Complete your profile
- Donâ€™t follow the leader
- Accept everyone
- Add everyone you know, no matter how little
- Pick one or two networks and work them
- Send messages
- Have something to say
- Avoid clutter
- Firewall your personal with [sic] business lives
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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