Monday, January 19, 2009

Does (Network) Size Matter?

Everywhere I go, whether in the real world or online, there are folks out there collecting as many contacts as possible, at any cost. In the real world, I've rarely seen this be a successful tactic, and I don't see it working so far online either. I know of a lot of 'LIONS' on LinkedIn, and folks with many thousands of followers on Twitter, but in most cases, it doesn't seem to make them happy or more successful. I'm not saying that there aren't people with large followings and networks that haven't achieved success, I'm just saying it isn't their social media networks that were the cause of that success, they have other skills that have done that for them.

I know you've seen these folks in real life networking events. They show up at the event, grab a drink at the bar and quickly move to the closest conversation in progress, with 5 of their business cards in hand before they ever say word one. They insert a few words into a conversation, just enough to get attention, others in the conversation are polite, and introduce themselves, and vois la, they have an opening to push cards into the unwary hands of everyone, who now feel obliged to find a card and provide it to the intruder, out of polite response. The members of this conversaton are soon left by the 'networker', and barely notice as they continue their conversation. These folks will all be a bit suprised the next day when they get at least one, if not several online networking invitations to become 'friends', as well as an email, and most likely a voicemail left before business hours.

There was no 'connection' between the networker and the conversations that he repeatedly joined throughout the evening. He didn't really join in their topics of discussion, or contribute to their quest for knowledge or humor (whatever they were looking to discuss). Why does this person now feel that he can reach out and innundate everyone he's met with requests that, if accepted, show a close personal or business relationship with others? This same person will also forward more requests for connections to your network than any of your closest network combined, and you'll get tired of using the 'ignore' button much sooner than you think (should you actually accept their 'friend' and network invitations.

Please people, take a breath, enjoy the work you do, and when you network, join 2, maybe 3 conversations during the evening, that really intrugue you, and really participate. This is true online as well - find groups and discussions that you are passionate about (either pleasure or work related). The people you meet, will see your knowlege/passion on the subject, and over time, will come to rely on you and when they need something you have to offer - they'll think of you first, because you are the right choice. You don't need a network of 10,o000 friends and followers - you just need enough quality relationships to help those who need it, which will provide you with all the sales you'll ever need - really - I promise.

2 comments:

Keith Pape said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roseann said...

Hi Keith,

Cute headline.

I agree with networking being about making QUALITY connections. I've learned the people I meet and like-that like me and what I do- are already prescreened to an extent. They think out of the box. And you look them in the eye and they're home. The don't have the LA "Who's standing behind you?" bob and weave.

I have the best set of friends. Which is almost sad. I could invite them and not show up to the party and they'd have a blast. That's why my funeral requires heavy consumption of all the alcohol at my home bar and pizza delivery so they don't drive home drunk.

I know. This is the internet. But this is how I am in real life. I'd tell it to you in person and to your readers.

If you can create relationships with the people you meet and bypass the Vegas-style card dealers, it's worth every moment building the quality vs quantity relationships. Oops. I went on, didn't I? giggle

Nice to meetcha! And I'm thankful for the Twitter friends I've made. I think there are a lot of quality people on Twitter. And you screen out the ones that don't fit like you do in real life, eh?

Roseann in Phoenix