You’ve seen them. The links to tiresome posts proclaiming that you, too, can “gain 8,000 Twitter followers in 30 days!” As if that suddenly makes you a social networker.
I can also pick up 8,000 soda bottles to be recycled in 30 days. But that doesn’t make me Dr. Pepper.
Everybody that does social networking probably has, at the back of their minds, the goal of building a large group of connections/readers/followers. Hey, it’s fun, it’s a challenge, and it’s self-validating. The more the merrier, right? But then there are those who have connection-collecting at the FRONT of their minds. As if the short-term goal is some astonishing number of Twitterites, whose attachment to you is just as superficial and meaningless as your attachment to them.
News Flash: You’re not networked. You’re subscribed.
Building a quality network organically takes time and steady effort. It means interacting, writing good quality stuff, sharing, caring, and (yes) getting away from the computer screen to meet some of these fine people in real life. And, wonderfully enough, when you build deep connections with a smaller number, you grow your network anyway. Because people want to share you with their friends.
Sometimes it seems like a big yearbook party – whoever can gather the most signatures is the most popular. Bah, humbug! We don’t need tricks and techniques to gather a bunch of disembodied subscribers so we can pound our chests and say we’ve arrived. Just quietly provide value, open your heart and mind, and get to know people. That’s real social networking.