Many social networkers connect with the concept of keeping in touch or “paying it forward.” They may simply respond to requests to connect, or they may be proactively seeking connections.  These networkers intend to assist their connections as needed in anticipation that sometime in the future those individuals  or others will assist them.

If the social networkers have large numbers of connections, they may assume that the demands or needs of their connections will be minimal. They may not even consider that connecting with another individual will result in many requests from that individual’s contacts to connect with them and that the domino effect will come into play.

More often than not, social media connections are relatively passive.  However, some social media connections are very active. They are the ones who invite you to every network to which they are invited and, of course, have joined. They invite you to many groups, send you applications to consider adding to your profile, refer others to you to connect, ask questions, and ask you for help in connecting with someone or contributing to a cause, etc., etc.

Sometimes mega-connectors do not start out being mega-connectors–they evolve into it by virtue of responding positively to requests to connect.  However, at some point there may be a diminishing return. By connecting with many individuals, thousands perhaps, the law of diminishing return from might kick in when requests to connect, join groups, etc. pour in and require response. A social networker needs to consider the size of his or her network, and how they chose to use it. One thing to consider is the pay it forward to yourself concept.

If you agree to connect and have hundreds of connections or have even become a mega-connector, you need to be prepared to manage the volume that might ensue from your connections or make changes.  Connections may be passive until a certain event—war, economy, etc. impacts them, and all of a sudden, there they are requesting help.  Can you manage their requests? Are you willing to commit the time? 

The traditional self-help advice of taking care of yourself first in order that you can take care of others applies in this social media space. Decide what is your goal when connecting? Are you willing to connect to a large number of individuals based on them finding you as opposed to you finding them? Are you willing to take the necessary time to help everyone to whom you connect, to connect with individuals who find you through that connection and help them, to manage the eventual growth of your network based upon that simple decision to connect with any one individual? Are you willing to turn connections into live meetings when possible? 

The quality and quantity of your network is your decision, but do not count on your connections being passive!

What is your buzz about?