We seem to be bombarded with invitations to join social media web sites, social media networks, and various groups. It is very easy to look at the description, or perhaps just the title of a group which someone sent to you or is on a web site, and make a quick decision that a particular group peaks your interest. You decide to click and join. Then what? 

Sometimes, someone whom you respect asks you to join a group. The invitation could be a standardized language invitation generated as a result of that individual’s contacts being loaded and compared to current group members.  Alternatively, the invitation could be individualized or at least given the appearance of being individualized.  Does that matter to you?  Do you join because the individual inviting you is a business associate, a client, a colleague, or a friend? Do you join just so your name shows up in the members? Do you join planning to be stealth or planning to participate?

One of the large social media networks has recently chosen to limit group participation to fifty– a relatively small number in comparison to other platforms.  It has limited group ownership to ten. These actions have caused many individuals to recast their group participation on that platform. Individuals now have to proactively consider which groups to join and which to leave in order to hit the platform operator’s pre-determined magic number.  

You may find the following exercise helpful in getting and maintaining a handle on your groups.  Create a spreadsheet and list the platforms you are on. List the groups on that platform that you are on. List the web site link to each platform and to each group. List the web site email post address if there is one. Then step back, and look at your list.  Perhaps some of them are designed to be passive. However, most are designed to facilitate conversations. Are there more than one hundred?  Maintain the sheet and you will be amazed as the list grows. You will start to see a pattern, a pattern of platforms which are actively growing, groups which are actively growing, moderators who are active, and participants who are active. This little worksheet will give you a window into your preferences and your affiliations.

Joining a group is optional, assuming that you meet the criteria for group membership.  Usually, pro-active participation is also optional. Leaving is not so easy because may group owners will follow-up asking you the ‘why’ question.  Replying back to them in an inoffensive way is that his or her group is no longer as significant to you as before might be a little difficult for you to articulate.  

Take control of your group life. Decide which groups are truly interesting to you and to which you want to participate and maintain your association. Decide which groups are not significant to you and leave those groups to those individuals who have the interest in them.

If you do choose to control your group life, you will find that your responsibility burden will lift and you will become more energized to participate in the remaining groups or new groups that are in your interest area. Buzz those groups often and enjoy the positive aspects of being in groups that are the right fit for you.

What is your buzz about?