If you are like most of us, you have various social networks to which you belong, each having its particular set of participants and rules of the game. You may have chosen these networks for a variety of reasons including but not limited to the following:

  • Branding your name or your business
  • Keeping track of the activities of certain people  or trends, products, or systems
  • For fun
  • Just to have a presence
  • Business development
  • Someone you do not want to offend invited you to join and you did.

The question then becomes how to manage these networks which invariably grow to have groups or forums and ultimately, you join some of them as well. Some of these networks help you manage the volume through RSS feeds or email alerts. Some permit you to select whether to receive information immediately or through a daily or weekly digest. Some actually permit you to make changes to your preferences without having to sign on and change your profile. Regardless, each is a time consumer–another item on a growing to do list.

How do you decide which ones to which to pay attention on a frequent basis? Do you pay attention to the one which constantly notifies you via email to alert you to check your in mail and which fills your In-mail on its web site, such as Fast Pitch? Or do you ignore those constant messages for days assuming that they are internal marketing messages? Perhaps you have some social networking sites such as LinkedIn™ and you have signed up for their groups. In that case, you receive no notice that any discussion has occurred in the group and you must proactively sign on to review.  Perhaps you have some social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook which you joined initially for fun and now you are discovering that you can create and conduct business on them through innovate applications such as Business 3.0 with its additional social shopping mall application b3buy.

You may manage your social networks through a daily review, or weekly clean-up review process. Perhaps you just decide to ignore some of the messages and daily emails that you receive from them imploring you to check what someone posted on your wall or your group. Perhaps when you have a pressing business issue, you simply ignore everything from those networks for a while.

However, you need to remember that you have created a public presence. There is an expectation from others who reach out to you through those networks that you will acknowledge them. You have a decision to make—either respond as appropriate in a timely manner or minimize your obligations. Ignoring your social networking responsibilities to which you committed does not make a respected social networker. It may hurt a potential business alliance or friendship and it will weigh on your mind until you manage it on a timely manner. Make the decision to be a responsible partner in this fast-paced environment.

What is your buzz about?