Most everyone in business is familiar with the term “due diligence.” Individuals and companies conduct due diligence when determining whether to invest monies into a new venture or going concern, for example. In addition to reviewing the known factors such as current competitors, investors also evaluate financial predictors and determine the potential return on investment (ROI).

Most social network individuals spend a good bit of time joining networks, joining groups, posting or commenting on posts, responding to invitations to join networks, groups, clubs, applications, or forums by saying yes or no or simply ignoring, getting RSS feeds, and using social media tools to communicate – such as Skype, Jaxtr, Twitter, Pownce, Pulse, or other instant message programs. Most people are on a react mode. They move the data—whether it is a request to join a group or a posting which drops into email.

However, we doubt that just the minimum modicum of serious due diligence is undertaken by the social network participant who reacts to the torrent of requests. If we really thought seriously about the ROI, would we join so many networks, or groups, clubs, or forums? Would we take the time to read posts which do not add serious insight or knowledge value?

I had the opportunity the other day to hear a strong proponent of social networks tell someone else that he or she remains connected to a social network which is not giving a positive ROI and saps time, because that individual believes that he or she is expected to have a presence there.  “Hoisted by one’s own petard” so to speak, giving credit to Shakespeare for this initial thought and verbiage which is now modernized.

There are many reasons why individuals react as they do to all these stimuli. Most people want to respond positively to others who present something to them to consider, whether it be an invitation to join a group, or an invitation to participate in a podcast. Facebook has an interesting option called “ignore” which permits the meek or the indecisive or others to table a request and not respond “no.” Does not an “ignore” decision equate to a negative reply and not a positive response? Somehow, there is a perception that to ignore a request is a gentler way of dealing with the tough decision and response of replying “no.”

However, with all these options, how much due diligence, how much thought, how much reflection and evaluation do each of us do when we make these social media decisions to process data? We challenge you to look at your stream of social media data and apply the ROI eye to it, if only for a day. You will be amazed. Take time to smell the flowers (the beautiful stream of information you receive) and think about the nectar you are collecting through your decisions. Do your decisions make for good honey at the end?

What is your buzz about?