In the past, communications were structured around a much more static, shotgun approach where traditional media channels such as TV, radio and print were used to deliver messages to as many people as possible. The Web has shifted this model to a much more dynamic, dialogue where our real-time conversations allow us to connect with target audiences and niche communities in a fluid fashion.
As social media continues to play a bigger role in how we all connect with one another, some users may still feel the need to take a “quantitative” approach to social networking, focusing their time on connecting with as many people as possible. But, is there really great value in having thousands upon thousands of Facebook contacts or Twitter followers? Are you really reading those 120 blogs you’ve subscribed to in Google Reader?
Unless social media is your full time gig, chances are you’ve at some point experienced the overwhelming feeling of trying to stay connected and keep updated with the frequently changing digital landscape. Tools such as TweetDeck help us to manage our content consumption and networks to a degree. But, realistically most people typically have 1-2 hours a day or less to engage in social media. So, rather than trying to consume every new blog post or be completely on top of every new trend, can your time be better spent focusing on your core network?
Social media continues to flourish because of the way we all use these tools and technologies to engage and interact with one another. Whether it’s through a smart blog comment that contributes to the conversation, a well-timed reply to a Twitter inquiry from a contact you’re following or providing a LinkedIn recommendation to a respected professional contact. As opposed to merely trying to create a plethora of “touch points,” meaningful engagement can help you stand out in the crowd.
Take a look at how you currently interact with others online. Can your time be better spent honing in and making a concentrated effort to pare down your networks and build conversation with your top 20 contacts?
Quality over quantity. In the end, it’s what makes social media of great value to us all.