15 Days, 15 Seconds
At dinner last Friday with Beth Kanter, the scholar of social media and tech for nonprofits, used the phrase “a solo in a social media world.” That phrase has stuck with me. I wonder whether social media is changing the relationships I have with my friends?
Beth’s statement came at about the same time that Maki sent me to a study that explains the nature of relationships.
Some friendships are short and fleeting, while others may last years. Although a wide variety of factors go into determining the strength of our relationships, the long-lasting ones seem to share a number of the same characteristics, according to a recent study of a cell phone network.
Lasting relationships have these things in common. The most important of these is reciprocity.
- The more often we connect with friends in a 15-day period, the stronger our relationship will be.
- Most strong ties between two people lasted for just one 15-day interval. Only 20% of relationships lasted longer than a year.
- The strongest factor in lasting relationships is reciprocity — returning a phone call.
It’s a simple thing. When someone calls, writes, comments, links, or asks for help, do we respond or do we let it ride? Lasting relationships last because we are persistent in nurturing them.
By knowing the characteristics of persistence, the researchers could look at the features of the network for the first 15 days, and predict what the network would look like in the future.
Now we have access to a world of online and offline relationships, but we still only have so much time for reciprocity. Does social networking put us in danger of making vast communities of fast 15-day friends — folks we meet today and hardly know in a year? Is social networking causing us to neglect the reciprocity that made our relationships last?
Social networking offers us access to start and spark incredible new relationships. People connect, relate, and do business, who would otherwise never have met. Together we accomplish, build, create, innovate, solve, fix, and nurture. Some of us even fall in love and get married. Social media can have powerful, important, and lasting effects.
BUT, a 140 character touch within 15 seconds isn’t the same as a conversation within 15 days.
Friday, Rick Wolff said, “Someday, somebody’s REALLY going to plead for help on Twitter. . . . ”
Will that tweet be recognized?
Lasting Relationships in a Social Networking World — is that the new balance we have to find?
I don’t want to be a solo in a social media world.