Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Social Media for Social Interaction

I have experienced a lot of social media activity lately that unfortunately has contradicted my concept of social media. My definition of social is "pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations." I previously wrote a post at http://toddthigpen.blogspot.com/2009/03/personalize-your-linkedin-invitations.html that addresses the problem of sending the standard text provided by LinkedIn as the only content of invitations to me. These invitations from people I don't know are not constructive, and I consider them unsociable. I'm not saying that I only accept invitation from people I know, but give me a reason if I don't know you to accept the invitation. Furthermore, the reason should be sociable and not some unauthentic pitch.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Increase your value by serving as a connector

I believe being a connector is a great way to strengthen relationships. When you can connect two or more people together that can add value to one another, you should also increase the value of your relationship with each person because of the value you gave them. You can also be a connector by connecting someone with information or a resource they need. This is why I believe an open mind that entertains information is important. Although the information may not be relevant to you, it may be relevant to someone you know or will know and you can pass along the information. I see many professionals dismiss information because they feel that it isn’t relevant to them.

I believe it is possible to serve as a connector as stated above while also benefiting financially. There are many ways, one which I have proposed throughout my blog, to gain income through affiliate programs or network marketing. The aspect here is that the income is a benefit and not the purpose. The purpose is to help someone. If you help a person you know by introducing them to something or someone that will help them, you should strengthen your relationship while benefiting financially.

I know someone may get agitated by the thought of marketing something to a friend. Marketing may be an option, but I'm talking about being connectors where you introduce someone you know to a person that can help them. For example, you may be an independent associate of Pre-Paid Legal Services in my organization and simply refer someone to me for assistance with their needs. You don’t market or sell. You simply know their needs and refer them to possible help.

Some people may feel that they don’t want to introduce their friends to possible assistance because they think that there is a possibility of hurting their relationship with their friends. I look at it this way. I would rather inform someone of the resource and have them reject the resource rather than not inform them and have them suffer through burdens. Within my network, I would rather have someone propose something they believe may help me than someone that doesn’t. I consider the proposal as thoughtfulness and consideration.

I thought of this the other day as I watched a story on the news about people fearful of their unemployment benefits ending. I know several people in this situation. Well, everyone knows people and people have needs that you may be able to address just by serving as a connector.

Regardless of the possibility of benefiting financially, you will definitely increase your value by serving as a connector. After I started attending meetings of the Triangle Networking Group in December 2003, I looked forward to every meeting because it was an opportunity to learn, talk with people and, more importantly, help someone in any way I could. The meetings gave me a sense of empowerment and purpose. If nothing else, my sense of value increased and I believe that is something that many unemployed people need.