Would you like to connect with me? Would you like to be friends on this social network? Would you like to follow my tweets? Great, that’s good news. What next? I guess some level of interaction, recognition of posts and status updates or articles, that kind of thing? No? No contact at all after connecting? That’s strange. That’s how a lot of other people act after connecting though.
What is the point in being connected if you are going to touch base with your contacts once in a while? Showing interest in other people and building connections with people beyond an initial interaction is a good thing. Networking with other people widens our experiences outside of our day to day bubble. I am all for communicating with other people, so what gets in the way? Why don’t we keep in touch with connections as much as we would like to do so?
Why don’t we?
Is it a time factor? We know that people are there if we want to speak to them specifically, but we may not have the time to contact people just to see how they are, what they have been up to recently, and if there is anything of interest going on that they may like to find out about.
I know I am not very good at small talk, or initiating conversations with people I don’t know particularly well. Once I get to know someone, I don’t do too badly. I think I can be quite nervous at first, not knowing what impression I would be giving out, what might they think of me? I know that I am more comfortable writing than speaking, and this is multiplied when it is to someone I don’t know as well as other people who I am more familiar with.
Don’t we know what to say? We may have worked with someone a number of years ago, but have not had much contact in the years since. It could be we went to school with them years and years ago, but haven’t actually spoken properly since then. How do you bridge that gap of time? How do you start finding out about the relevant pieces of life that have happened in the interim time period? There are so many questions. Where do you start? Or don’t you bother? Do you just react to any news that they post rather than build on former familiarity?
Interacting not just connecting
There are people we have connected with that we don’t actually know at all. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It happens. There are people I have connected with who were friends of friends, people I have thought I recognised but may have just spoken to once or twice maybe, or people that we kind of know about but haven’t had a meaningful conversation yet. Should we do something about this? I think it would be great if we all made progress getting to know more people better. It is interesting finding out about people, – finding connections with them, finding similarities and sharing experiences. With the invent of social media and the connected world, we should do more to interact rather than just connect.
A challenge for you
Here is a challenge that I wonder whether you would take up or not. Why not start communicating with all your contacts? Yes, all of them. Not all in one day, that would be chaotic. How about, getting in touch with people one by one and seeing how they are, maybe find out if they have any favourite memories that you aren’t aware of, what they see are your strengths, any bits of news you might want to share with them, that kind of thing. How about see if you can get to speak to all your contacts within a year. 365 days is a long time. You could start off by getting in touch with people you see quite often. You could concentrate on people who live further afield maybe. If you have a number of people in a certain area, maybe arrange to go and visit that area for a weekend and try and catch up with as many people as possible. Make it a fun thing to do. Seeing people you know is a good thing. Getting to know people better is a great thing to do. Finding out about the wider world outside of our day to day lives is an amazing thing.
The challenge is set – let’s go and connect with people, and let’s interact with them too!