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Finding Order in Social Networking Chaos

That is my mission for 2014.

I am throwing out the rules. I am eliminating the notes and disclaimers. I am retreating into the past.

This image is chaos.

When I began speaking at social media conferences in 2009, I auto-followed 7,000 on Twitter and had nearly 1,000 Facebook friends. Drowned by the cacophony of voices, I gradually felt guilty if I missed the updates and conversations from my first friends. Over time I decided to unfollow and unfriend to find the people who matter.

And that’s how it’s been ever since. I kept trying to impose new rules — be my friend if you meet this condition or I’ll follow you if you meet that condition — and it was fine for a period of time and then I changed my mind and confused people. I don’t know how many times I unfollowed Ken Burbary or Chris Brogan. It’s no wonder they block me today. To Ken and Chris and anyone else who blocked me, I’m sorry.

As I wrote in my 2014 primer, I am adhering to Thom Singer’s coffee, meal, and beer rule:

I do not link to people on LinkedIn and Facebook whom I have not interacted with personally… A conversation that lasts 45 minutes establishes a baseline for a minimum level of contact before the online link is made. I also have “digital equivalent” options such as phone calls, Skype conversations or Google+ Hangouts… as in today’s online world our relationships can certainly grow via virtual meetings.

On Facebook and LinkedIn specifically, I have to know you in the way that Thom describes. I have to have some sort of pre-existing relationship with you, whether it’s going out to eat or talking at an event or tweeting or commenting on blogs or something. There has to be something that binds us mutually.

On the other sites including TwitterPinterest, and Google+, I will follow you because. Just because.

I am quickly embracing the fact that I will see a lot of content. You will show me a lot of pictures, video, links. You will share what’s on your mind and what’s on your kids’ and cats’ minds. You will bore me some of the time (and some of you already admitted that to me, that I will find a lot of boringness in your updates). I say bring it. Bring on the chaos. Give me everything. I will see what I see and skip over the rest.

“Personally I find the democratic chaos of the Internet fascinating, and for the most part really benign.” – Moby

I hope that if I inspire you across social media, and you can click those links to see me there, follow me or add me as a friend in return.

Thanks for reading — and thanks for saying yes to being social with me (again).

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Join The Conversation

  • Toby Crabtree's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 3 years ago Toby Crabtree

    Thanks Ari for sharing this interesting blog. I truly believe social media has completely changes the style of promoting services and products. Personally, I feel its a very useful way of branding your business.

  • Caro Wags's picture
    Jan 12 Posted 3 years ago Caro Wags

    Yes, I share your confusion. Is too much social popularity bad for the health? One remedy for this is to have different accounts/pages for different purposes or groups.  Even then I still get irritated by some connections that seem to post stuff every 2 minutes. "Hey, this is me in the cafe'"  or "Hey, I just had this thought!" I get tired of seeing the same images recirculated time & again but I've found that the marvellous thing about Facebook is if you don't respond by 'liking' or 'commenting' that friend's stream will stop elbowing it's way to the top of your newsfeed so you won't have to unfriend them. Enjoy your frivalous bombardments at least you are popular, right?

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