As I fall into a daily routine of managing my extensive social media network and web properties, I have become exceptionally efficient. It takes me about 2 hours every day that I split into blocks of about 20 minutes to maintain this practice. Google knows me; the Chrome browser has my most visited pages outlined to reflect my perfunctory practice of assessing, addressing and replying to the responses gathered through various platforms and applications.
It is often interpreted as a sign of both expertise and outstanding time management techniques when you’ve optimized your work flow to the point that you see steady exponential gains in return while seeing a steady decrease in input. In any industry this is one of the primary objectives of every division; complete more with less.
Part of the work flow magic is having good filtering mechanisms and character judgment. If I see three links cross my Twitter feed I can tell if they are scheduled, generated, or genuinely broadcast. Over time you come to disregard things such as the paper.ly mentions and tweets that are obviously fed from an RSS feed. You learn to pass judgment quickly for the sake of efficiency, and you gradually take on a power networker’s mindset.
Earlier today I caught a mention from my friend Bonnie Sayers, who also does some heavy online networking. She was replying to someone on Twitter who had sent a simple message asking us “Have you saw Digital Learning Daily?” They didn’t provide a link, and their account was showing an egg instead of an avatar. Bonnie replied, “I have no idea what that is, or who you are”. I went on to accuse the person of being a spam bot, in fact I was under the impression that I checked the account and saw several hundred similar tweets, but Bonnie noticed that this was the only tweet that ever originated from that account.
I looked once again and saw an organic following of several popular accounts, and several accounts dealing with autism and diabetes (Bonnie is involved in Autism awareness). Even though @LiveWell_2 only has 1 follower, they’re following 42 accounts that have clearly been selected carefully. None of us know for sure how long this person has been using Twitter as a news feed, or how closely they’ve followed Bonnie’s tweets, but after I take everything into account I’d say that this person has a special affinity for Bonnie. After all, what does it take to coax a silent user to send out their first tweet? @LiveWell_2 is like the majority of social media users, a normal person who spends more time doing other things.
Looking back I thought Bonnie’s response to them made her sound abrasive, and my response made me sound pretentious. We, the social media authority, failed at connecting in this instance. I believe that Digital Learning Daily is probably a paper.ly document that @LiveWell_2 stumbled across and thought was important. When Bonnie re-tweeted an article I wrote pertaining to business, Live Well wanted to spark a conversation and believed that we (Bonnie in Particular, the one he follows) would be familiar with an established daily online newspaper (we know paper.ly is an annoying app, but Live Well doesn’t).
The longer you use social media on the level of a power networker, the farther you are removed from an average user. Close connections seem to become a smaller part of your overall output as curation and self-published content invades your feed more and more. Since Bonnie shares several articles a day without giving it a second thought and I am speeding through my routine as efficiently as possible, we begin to become disconnected with a huge community of tweeters who are talking about their favorite TV shows, restaurants and music. We do talk about these things, but with other power networkers. Power networkers understand each other’s actions, and it pays to become acquainted with other influential people to expand your reach. Those networkers suffer from the same disconnect as you though, so before long you are effectively networking with a bunch of salesmen and pundits.
The conundrum is this: there are far fewer power networkers than there are regular people. If you’re selling a book about power networking, it’s a great network to have, but ultimately you’d have more opportunity by selling a product that average people use and marketing it to everyone. Seth Godin has surely made lots of money from selling books, but it would be safe to say that Apple makes more selling iPhones.
One of the best examples of average users creating colossal connectivity is the Beliebers faction on Twitter. Through one common interest there are some teenagers who have followings numbering in the hundreds of thousands. They have normal and general interests, they don’t use tools, and they influence thought like a hypnotist. The only routine thing they do is log into Twitter; the rest of their day is as unpredictable as it is unstructured. These are the same type of people who get millions of views on YouTube, and draw an above average number of likes because they’re real and relatable.
Using a strategy like asking a question every day and responding to the responses makes you seem even more artificial, so don’t try and strategize your way out of this one. It takes organic engagement, and it’s the epitome of a popularity contest. I am not advising you to stop being a power networker, but try and mix in some average communication that isn’t directed at furthering your agenda. By relating to others like an average social media user, you’ll begin to understand the average social media user.