Guest Writer: Todd Jordan
Do you take your network seriously? How do you keep it and treat it? Is it cared for like a well maintained garden, or is it overrun with half grown connections and weeds? When’s the last time you bothered to nurture and prune it?
Sounds funny at first, but the truth is our social networks are an extension of ourselves. They speak volumes about us and our attitude towards ourselves and others. Like flowers, your contacts can wither and drop off. A once vital connection, bringing you many interesting tidbits or even work, can stop bearing fruit if you don’t pay attention to it.
If the overrun garden sounds like it might be your network, then it’s time to get to work on it. It won’t be pleasant at first, but the work soon pays off.
- drop everyone that’s not following you – this is the hardest but most productive of all the steps you can take. Yes, you love following that news anchor but when was the last time he chatted with you? Like removing the undergrowth.
- stop following anyone whose stuff you bypass or ignore – this one often feels awkward. Chances are these are folks we actually cared about at one time or another. This one also greatly improves your network. Like removing those trees that never bear fruit.
- eliminate the spammers – oh, you think you’ve removed all the weeds? What about Jack, that guy that sends out endless messages about his kids, but has never sent you a reply. Or Joan, the lady from work, who friended you, doesn’t reply, but manages to talk to a hundred other friends. This is the weeds of your garden. They too choke off what you really want in your network.
- move contacts and reduce redundancy – huh? this means don’t follow the same person on half a dozen networks where they post the same thing over and over. If you follow Bud on Twitter and FriendFeed, drop him on Twitter. It’s like having two busy gardens next to one another. You’ll only really tend to one. This last one reduces the clutter, freeing up the rest of your network to breathe and be usable again.
Yes, the analogy seems silly but these simple steps are no joke. If you can implement these in your networks, you’ll see things begin to change. With the dead weight gone, the rest of your contacts will begin to stand out. Good growth will begin again. You might even find some old friends you’d forgotten. But once things start blooming, don’t forget to keep the pruning sheers handy. A good garden requires consistent tending.
How’s your garden?