“How do you realize the value of being in a relationship? Take, for example, a Twitter follower – as an unengaged, passive watcher of my updates, that person is not that valuable. But when the follower responds to a request or retweets an update – in other words, engages with me – then I begin to realize value.”
– Charlene Li, author of “Open Leadership”
When you meet new friends, do you add them to your address book but never contact them? I hope not. Your initial efforts with these individuals would be a waste of time. Sure, you can casually watch your new friends’ activities from a distance. We have a name for that: “Lurker,” and if you exhibit creepy symptoms, “Stalker.”
Applying the same approach to social media technologies: when you meet new friends online and decide to follow them, I encourage you to interact: ask thoughtful questions. Be a source of encouragement and wisdom. Actively listen and respond.
True friends will reciprocate. Lousy friends will not. Unless you find their tweets and status updates interesting and relevant, I wouldn’t expend a lot of energy to engage with those who don’t interact. Eventually, I find myself un-following individuals who sit on the sidelines.
Bottom Line: the number of Facebook friends, twitter followers or LinkedIn connections you have is largely irrelevant. Rather, the value of your relationships will depend on those precious, highly engaging contributors who inspire you to be at your best.