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Do you play the milestone game with your Social Media accounts?

When you first sign up, you aim for ten connections.  Then 50, 100, 250, and finally the coveted 500 – you’ve arrived.  And then you aim for 1000.  How many is too many?

As I look at my own LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, it struck me that most people give precious little thought to how, or why, they say yes when asked to connect. Yet this is one of the most important things to do if you are truly hoping to use Social Media productively.  Consider these guidelines:

1) Set a policy:  For each Social Network, choose an appropriate-for-that-network connection policy – one that ties directly back to your goals for using (or not using) it.  For me, I accept friend requests on Facebook from everyone who asks.  On LinkedIn, however, I only accept connection requests from two groups: those who I have a real-world relationship with, and those who are members of the same professional associations.  Other people may set different connection policies: people they met once, people at their workplace, school, etc.

One approach that is not recommended is the so-called “LION” (Linked In Open Networker) approach; these people seek to be connected to everyone, whether there is a relationship or not.  While acceptable for recruiters who use their connection lists to connect to job candidates, others who use this strategy often use their vast connection lists to send spam status messages.

2) Communicate politely:  It is flattering – and a credit to you – when someone asks to be your connection.  But if you don’t want to add them, reply to them with thanks, then suggest an alternate way of connecting with  you: perhaps in person or over the phone first, or perhaps via Twitter.

3) Cleanse your connections:  Spend time going through all of your connections, and prune those who don’t measure up to your current policy standards.  Unlike when you make a connection, disconnects are not broadcast throughout the LinkedIn (or Facebook) systems.

This week’s action item:  It is easier to measure network strength through numbers, but the value of your network is best measured through the quality of your relationships.  Setting a policy, communicating it, and cleansing your connections won’t help you reach your next quantity milestone, but will increase your network quality.  This week, if you don’t have a Social Media connection policy, set one – even if you may need to change it later.

Bonus insight: The act of thinking through your policy will help you clarify how to better use your Social Media time.

PS:  For the record, I have 997 LinkedIn connections…  and 210 invitations from others I am ignoring.  Yes, I probably have too many “friends”.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

Who is your Mahamood?

by Randall Craig on December 6, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking

Tagged as: , ,

Ever wonder about the impact you made with those you’ve touched? Whether you would be remembered or not? And for what?

Every so often, we get a stark reminder of this: someone doesn’t remember you – but you think they should. Or someone comes up to you and reminds you about a special conversation – but you have no idea who they are.

Recently, I had an experience that reminded me about the importance of connection – the real world sort. I was invited to a reception for the most senior, respected, veterans of the speaking world. (I was just elected to a board and the invitation was a courtesy.) This was something I was quite looking forward to, so it might seem surprising that the first 15 minutes of the reception were not spent with the honorees. They were spent with Mahamood – one of the waiters.

Seven years earlier, I ran a series of public seminars – about 45 of them – at the Marriott Eaton Centre in Toronto, Canada. Every Tuesday night I would show up to the hotel with video projector, screen, and supplies, and begin preparing for the evening’s workshop. And every Tuesday night, Mahamood did the room set-up.

Fast forward: when I showed up at the reception, Mahamood was one of the waiters. He recognized me instantly and thus began our conversation. It was wonderful reconnecting after so many years.  This reconnection is what made the event so special.

This week’s action plan: It’s not just the number of connections you have, but the impact you make. This week, answer the question: Are there any Mahamoods in your midst?

Postscript: I’ve written to the Marriott Eaton Centre, and shared this story with their management. The hospitality industry is filled with many Mahamoods, but this one is special… and has a great memory.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

Too Many Friends?

by Randall Craig October 28, 2009

Can you ever have too many friends? In real life, the answer is no, but when we’re talking about social media, the answer is definitively yes. If you have been collecting so-called friends, contacts, connections, and followers online, then you probably notice that some are more valuable than others. Others have very little value at […]

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Networking fundamentals

by Randall Craig June 17, 2009

With the change in seasons, the venues for networking may change, but not the fundamentals. Consider these five key networking concepts; are you doing them all? 1) Give to Get: Add value to your network by sending magazine clippings, web links, or other materials to them, without asking for anything in return. This concept – […]

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