Placebo is when you have a “fake” medication that makes you think you’re taking the real thing. I was reading someone’s blog post on Facebook, but the formatting of the link read: “Facebo” and it made me think — Is this a fake relationship? Do I have a lot of “friends” on Facebook that are not really my friends and don’t belong there? Do I have connections in LinkedIn that are not really people I know and can talk to for business purposes?
Let’s talk about the numbers race, the competition. There’s a subtle and not-so-subtle phenomenon among online users that takes place and maybe you’ve experienced it, felt it, done it. The race is to see who has the most friends — It started in school, right? I’ve said enough; you know what I’m talking about.
There’s an argument to be made that as you meet new people it is totally appropriate to add them to your Facebook or LinkedIn or Myspace network. I do that myself. But have you ever just clicked on an invite or friend request from someone you weren’t even sure you knew or who was a friend of a friend of a friend? There may be value in that, depending on what you do for a living and if it somehow enhances your personal relationships or business networking. But is it the race to have more friends and connections than the next guy?
As most of the readers here know, I’m a huge user and fan of social networks, but mostly from a business perspective. I participate in those networks though and care about them. I spend time reading their posts, their updates, their photos (less so here, honestly) and try to get to know my contacts better. Isn’t that part of why we do it — because we’ve run out of time to do it as much in-person.
Gerald Celente, trend expert, talked about how we would start to “cocoon” into our homes and physical communities as the world got more separated by location, distant, because of technology. Think about working from home options, even from major companies, and you’ll see what I mean. Teleworking. Remote Workers. That has happened. I don’t know that he predicted the ability to maintain and enhance friendships and business relationships by way of online connectivity. But this has happened, too.
The question is — are we as honest in our online relationship building as we are in person. What are the filters we apply to accept people into our networks? I routinely clean up my databases of friends and connections — sounds harsh, I know. But relationships grow old and sometimes irrelevant or not useful. That’s life. I guess since these friends take up no real space in my life, after all they are digital in this regard, there’s no harm in leaving them there. I just like knowing that if I send out a message to all my friends and connections that it is relevant, wanted, and sent to the people who will care in some way, shape or form about that message. What do you think?
TJ McCue is a content guy at Q4 Sales. He blogs about marketing, small business, and entrepreneurship and the helpful resources you need to take your company to the new heights online. His work can be found here and at Fast Company, Sales and Marketing Management, and the Telemarketing Appointment Setting Resource Center for Small Business.