Don’t transform Social Network into the next inbox nightmare

By Vinicius da Costa posted 02-11-2011 10:52


Whether you are leading Social Business transformation in your company or joining the bandwagon of Social Networking in your personal life, there are some few tips I wanted to share to make sure you create real value from the experience.  Approaching it recklessly will just create a new information overload nightmare to your clients or to yourself.

Eventually some will learn by themselves, but most, as we see with the widespread e-mail inbox craze, will become swamped and overwhelmed by the social space.  So, I will offer some ideas based on my experience going from excitement to disappointment to frustration to realization to happiness and value!

  • Control your ego:  Following hundreds of people just to get the same number of followers will be only good for your ego.  You will be able to tell people you have 10,000 followers and look cool, however, if you had to follow 10,000 people to get there you are probably missing any real knowledge.  You’ll never be able to scan through your activity stream with thousands of posts daily.
    My Recommendation: follow people who can add value to your network and whose knowledge will help you learning something important.  If the quality of what you have to contribute is good, you’ll naturally get followers.  But more importantly, you’ll be able to really get something interesting from your network.


  • Don’t waste people’s time:  If you only post uninteresting things and you are not a celebrity, people will cut you out of their network.
    My Recommendation: If you don’t have anything to say that other people can benefit from, don’t say it, it’s ok.  People are not expecting you have great insights every day, but they will notice if you post meaningless stuff in a daily basis.


  • You get more when you give more:  In the recent past, keeping your knowledge was a competitive advantage.  You could differentiate yourself by knowing something nobody else did.  With the democratization of the information, this has changed.  Most people with basic internet and networking skills will be able to learn as much as anyone else.
    My Recommendation: share your knowledge (not proprietary information) and you will receive back.  In today’s world, great thinkers and leaders are willing to freely share their knowledge, and in many cases will humbly connect with you when you share yours.


  • Social-garbage-generators:  If you are afraid you are missing important information in your activity stream or waste hours trying to scan it to make sure you didn’t miss anything important, it’s a sign you either have the wrong tool, or you are using it in the wrong way.
    My Recommendation: clean-up your network and communities.  In the social network space sometimes less, means more.  If you are connected to the right people and communities, you’ll be able to learn much more than if you are connected to everything.  But if you need to stay connected with a social-garbage-generator for political reasons, e.g. your mother-in-law, use filtering tools to hide their posts.  That way, everyone will be happy!

In summary, if your objective is to become a social celebrity you will likely sacrifice content and knowledge.  If you have more serious intentions, be selective in your content, connections and communities.

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