You have joined a variety of social networks. You have connected directly with hundreds of individuals, perhaps thousands through those networks and through email contacts over a few or many years. Perhaps individuals you do not know at all are following your blog or follow you on Twitter or are connected to you through Plaxo.
Many people believe that reactive interaction with contacts is all that is necessary. For example, if a contact reaches out to you to ask for a referral to someone else or simply to verify an address, you may consider that just responding constitutes contact and “counts” as a positive interaction. In truth, many contacts are satisfied with that level of interaction—they just want to know that they can reach you and that you will be responsive when they ask.
Other people believe that continuous communication with their contacts is the best avenue. They may implement that through blasting newsletters, posting continuous threads on groups to which you belong and ensuring that you receive emails about each and every thread, sending e-cards for all kinds of events, e.g., birthdays, holidays, etc., or touching base at least monthly with some sort of update about their lives.
Others take an approach somewhere between these two extremes of reactive and proactive approaches. They may reach out periodically, almost randomly, with a news article that might be of interest to you or some other reason. They may respond to your requests and occasionally make one of their own. They may send bulk invitations to join them on a group or a network.
Like many other things in life, we have the bell-shaped curve – those who primarily react on one end of the spectrum and those who are continuously proactive on the other, with most of the social networkers comprising the main bell component.
You may want to examine whether you want to change the value that you bring to your contacts. By reflecting on how and when you interact with your contacts you might decide to change your current modus operandi. You may decide that certain contracts need a different level of proactive outreach commitment than others.
Take the time to evaluate your commitment to your contacts at least annually. Think about the value that you bring to them. If you were they, would you be satisfied with your approach? You may be surprised by the revelations that you receive when you commit yourself to thinking about your actions from the perspectives of your contacts.
What is your buzz about?