Are Your Social Networks a Relational Success?


In the past decade the size of someone's social network has become a bragging right, a metric of success.

How many Twitter followers, facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and of course the size of your email list, can be a deal maker or a deal breaker when looking at potential business partnerships and collaborations.

Yet it seems that the bigger our social networks get, the less we actually know about the people that we are connected to.

This is a shame, because when the rubber hits the road, the quality of your connections is way more important than the quantity.

In his article "7 Networking Mistakes Even Harvard MBAs Make" Joel Comm Contributor at warns that "Ignoring the need to create those contacts -- or worse, letting relationships wither -- is a mistake common to even the best-trained executives."

I couldn't agree more!

About a year ago, I made the decision to ditch traditional networking events and leads groups. They were eating up my time and my money and I was traveling way to much to attend consistently enough to make the most of the networks I was paying to be a part of.

More importantly, however, I felt drawn to deepen the connections I had already initiated. It made no sense to me, to keep adding layer after layer of superficial connection. Plus, I wanted a networking strategy that would allow me to be consistent and mobile at the same time.

I have 500+ LinkedIn connections, 1,000+ facebook friends, and a decent twitter following, as well as, the 70+ online groups to which I am a member. I knew I was just sitting, or perhaps typing on, an mostly untapped and under cultivated wealth of human connection.

Surely, there was a way to flip the 'meet in person and connect online' norm on it's head. I had already experienced this a few times, having communicated with people in my online communities and then organically moving these relationships into the 'real world.' In fact, some of these people have become dear friends.

So began my 21st century digital nomad networking experiment.

Instead of networking at Chamber meetings, leads groups, and conferences, I began to lean into my online communities with the intention of deepening into intentional relationship.

I began to strategically reach out and invite people to hop on the phone for a quick chat, to discuss their current interests and offerings.

As Comm mentions in his article the 7th most common mistake that professionals make when it comes to building relationships is "Failing to press the flesh." Meaning, failing to encourage real life interactions, such as phone calls and in person meetings.

This is especially true when considering the previously mentioned wealth of human connection that lives just behind the screen of your social media channels.

Why not reach out and invite your connections to really connect?

Well, I have discovered that this is easier said then done, because we often use social media to hide instead of connect.

Human connection and a sense of belonging is vital to our individual and collective well being. As we move deeper and deeper into a digital culture, it becomes that much more important to make human connection a priority.

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So my challenge to you is to be a leader in the digital space by:

  • rebelling against the new norm of superficial digital connections
  • intentionally and from a place of service and curiosity reaching out
  • building real connections with the humans living on the other side of the screen.**

Behind every profile lives a real person with hopes and dreams. People you may never have had a chance to meet in real life, but people that you could serve through relationship. People who could have a powerful impact on your life.

So there you have it. One of #MyMetric of success numbers is how many people in my social networks I actually know. Will it become one of your metrics as well?

*Let's start a conversation!

If you have a strategy for developing real connections with the people in your social media networks, share it is the comments below.*

Originally Published on LinkedIn Pulse:


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