Recently I wrote a post titled, Are You A Social Hoarder Or A Social Networker, and as one commenter pointed out, "I think explaining what a "social hoarder" really is would have gone a long way with this piece."
Michele Chambers, you are right and I dedicate this post to you, once again, thank you for the inspiration.
Definition: noun /ˈsōSHəl hôrdər/ A person who accumulates online connections and hides them away for future use.
Are you a social hoarder? Your knee jerk reaction is going to be no. After reading this post I challenge you to answer that questions again.
So, what exactly is a social hoarder and is it a bad thing? A social hoarder is somebody who connects with as many different people as possible with the hopes of being able to do something with them in the future, but never really gets around to it. In other words, they collect as many friends as possible on Facebook, followers on Twitter, circles on Google +, and connections on LinkedIn.
A social hoarder is under the false belief that more is always better. They feel that each connection will give back to them sometime in the future. They hold on to the belief that if they grow a big network that they will be able to reap the benefits of it.
A social hoarder feels strongly that success is in the numbers. It's a boost to their ego to see thousands of followers on Twitter, it makes them feel good about the work their doing, so strong in fact that they see it as success.
The social hoarder works hard at what they do, growing their numbers each and every day, they are almost methodical in their quest for an ever growing network. Each person they connect to is a victory with the promise of being able to reap some sort of benefit from their connection in the near future.
How can you tell if you're a social hoarder? Look at your network, whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or whatever and ask yourself, how many of these people do I really know? You can use David's Hierarchy of Social Connections to get an idea of how to sort who you know, from those you don't know. If your community at large is 25% or higher than you may be a social hoarder. Also, think about your connecting policy? Do you connect with everybody? Do you always follow back everybody that follows you? Do you accept every friends and connection request without sending a message to introduce yourself?
Yes, I'm guilty of some of that, I'm getting help for my social hoarding affliction by spending time to get to know more of the people I'm connected with. My life is more enriched because of it, I've meet some really cool people both online and in person because I'm taking the time to get to know the people in my network. I'm networking, giving and getting referrals and learning a ton!
Getting Over You Affliction
Reach out. Stop clicking the accept and follow buttons so quickly. First, click through to their profile or bio and ask yourself, "how can I help the person I'm about to connect to?" How can I strike up a conversation with this person, right after I click the button to connect?
If you find it difficult to answer those two questions then it's probably not a good idea to add them to your network. Painful I know, because growing numbers can sometimes feel good, but that doesn't mean it's good for you.
I challenge you, don't add another connection to any of your social networks for a month unless you personally know the person or is a potential/current client. Then, spend some time getting to know the people you're already connected to.
So, I ask you again. Are you a social hoarder?