When you decide to join a social network or a particular group on a social network, do you consciously decide to be stealth– i.e., just read the postings and not provide any comments or postings of your own?  It appears that the normal expectation of a member of a social network or group is that he or she fully completes whatever the profile requirements are of that entity and at least reads the postings. Sometimes, the nature of the social network or particular group is something that you want to follow, however membership might imply an unwanted meaning.

The term “Fan” on Facebook has that double meaning. Sometimes you might not want to be a fan but still want to watch and learn from a particular group. Perhaps one of the interesting terms that Twitter uses is “Follow.” You can follow someone and never agree with a thing that he or she posts. No one expects that you are a “fan” or that by following you agree to connect people together through in-mails such as connecting on LinkedIn™ implies.  Twitter permits passive participation and no one thinks the less of you if you elect to be passive.

Moderators of social networks and groups, as well as many bloggers welcome and encourage pro-active participation. The 80/20 rule does not seem to apply to social network groups. The majority of joiners and readers never contribute a written posting or comment. Often, those who do post frequently may appear to be monopolizing the group or forum just because there are so few other participants.

Many moderators carry the load for their network or group and, therefore, those groups have grown to expect that from the moderator. The moderators continue to post new topics in an effort to retain interest, spur conversations, provide information, or encourage the newest members to become involved. Moderators have taken on the role of provider as well as moderator.

Some individuals have chosen to conduct their business on a social network and rarely go off-line, depending upon that social network to maintain the history.  Entire transactions have occurred on Skype, Ecademy, etc., with no “off-line” communication. You can completely ignore groups to which you belong on certain platforms and have a thriving off-line or on-line platform connection with individuals as a result of shared groups. If someone goes to groups which you may have joined, there may be no record of active postings by you.

If we each made a commitment to contribute one posting or one comment to each of our groups at least once a year, can you imagine what the impact? Groups that have one hundred people would at least have one hundred different postings/comments to consider and groups of thousands would be greatly enriched.

Make a commitment to follow each of your groups or forums and to post at least once a year if you have something of value to contribute and being passive is not a condition in your mind of participation.  You will be surprised at the positive fall-out that you will receive by that small effort. Buzz about encouraging others to do the same and watch the proverbial snowball effect.

What is your buzz about?