Remember that new connection you made on LinkedIn that seemed interested in what you had to post?
Remember that friend that went out of his way to like everything you wrote on Facebook?
Remember that energetic commenter that used to support you on your blog?
What in the world happened to those people you used to be so connected to?
We all enter this online world at different times, at different speeds, with different levels of passion, and with various approaches to connecting to others. It is often the case that we happen upon someone we like, or someone we find interesting, or who is willing to really connect by replying and conversing with us and, before we know it, we’ve made a true connection, even a friend.
Then one day, it could be a week, 6 months, or 2 years, we see that person float by in our newsfeed, or on Twitter, or commenting in one of our shared LinkedIn groups, or because someone else mentioned them, and we think:
“What happened to her? We don’t connect any more. She used to share everything of mine, and I shared everything of hers.”
The reality is that, just as in our face-to-face relationships, some people will move in and out of our virtual lives in what seems to be a flash. Perhaps that is bothersome because you miss that advocate, that friendship, that connection, and, yes, sometimes that fan, that you thought you had.
What Do You Do?
First, you realize that maybe that’s okay. Maybe that person was a bright spot in your professional or personal life for a brief period of time when you happened to connect because you traveled in the same online circles for a certain period of time.
Second, you realize that you now have more connections, and more relationships, and it is likely that this person does, too. You have discovered more people, and so has your friend. This causes all of us to have to work to keep those connections we have.
Third, you need to decide if it is important to have that contact in your life. Perhaps you forgot about him for a while because you got busy or distracted, so you might need to take the responsibility for renewing that relationship.
Fourth, think about the relationship you had with her. Was it lopsided? Was she sharing more of your content than you were sharing of hers? Perhaps you needed to share more of her content? Some find it can get old extending the courtesy of promoting others when they don’t seem interested in your professional well being by giving them a boost now and then, too. Some feel invisible in online spaces when their courtesy isn’t reciprocated.
Fifth, do what you can, when you can. If you feel you are truly approaching social networking with focus, and with the mindset that you are there to help others, and not just to promote yourself, then don’t beat yourself up. As my friend, Tony Crecco, told me when we were going through Mari Smith’s social media training in San Diego back in 2009:
Think about the 5 questions above, then decide what, if anything, you need to do about it. If it isn’t important to where you are in your professional and personal life at this time, then let it go. Get that feather out, and use it…but only for a second, then move on, okay?
If it is important, then, just as with face-to-face relationships, back up a bit and renew those relationships you want or need to have in your life. By the way, this goes for online and offline relationships.
- Start out by giving.
- Be kind.
- Be gracious.
- Renew that relationship.
- Start with a simple hello, how have you been?
So I Ask…
“Hello. How have you been?”
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Trainer, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by intelligently integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.