One of the refrains when using online networking portals [ like LinkedIn and openBC ] is “Just because we can connect, should we?” Some have even asked the question many of us are too afraid even to think aloud “What if everyone got connected to everyone else?” Apart from the fact that alone time is precious [ “me-time” like Oprah raves about ], one cannot even begin to comprehend what would happen if we all connected just for the sake of being connected and having someone’s name on our contact list.
It’s great to be able to check my contacts list and find the right person for whatever it is that I was looking for, but having everyone on that list would be awfully boring.
Above thoughts based on this post on Tom Peter’s blog.
I have to add just because you have my email does not mean you know me!
A few years ago I was part of an e-learning network that has now grown to be a paid for business network. In the early days the group used yahoo groups before launching its own site. As a result of my former membership a number of professional networks have harvested my address and now invite me to connect on LinkIn, update my contact details on Plaxo and join them on network….
When I know nothing of these people, Google shows one common factor, membership of an online business network. The responce to stop nagging from LinkIn has been to decline with the comment that I have no wish to connect with someone who harvests email address.
With the leader of the network I have had to resort to complaints to Plaxo for them to BLOCK my email address and thus be networked with the most connected person on the net!
I agree – just because I have someone’s e-mail id I definitely do not “know” them. An e-mail id is just an enabler to get to know someone better. In itself, it doesn’t mean much.
An e-mail id enables an introduction. For example on LinkedIn, if we found someone’s profiles interesting and they ahve listed their e-mail id on their profile, it doesn’t mean they are open to connecting with anyone. What we can do with that e-mail is write to them separately and start a conversation – not necessarily pester them with requests to connect.
I believe that would be a better way of “knowing” someone. If we send them a request to connect and they do connect with us – there’s no guarantee that we will eventually get to know eachother. We will be just another name on their “list”.
It all comes down to the question of when it is time to stop sharpening your ax and start chopping wood. Acquiring and managing contacts can be fun, and that’s why there’s a risk that it becomes an end unto itself.
The number of contacts you have is not as important as the quality. On the other hand, the potential quality of a contact cannot always be judged beforehand.
so, by all means, network to your hearts content. When you need to be alone, disconnect your Internet. And don’t hesitate to turn off your computer and do something else! it’s not easy, but once you get the hang of it, you can lead a balanced and healthy life.
I used to agree with this statement:
“The number of contacts you have is not as important as the quality.”
Then I had a meeting with Thomas Power. He said something quite interesting: “If there are high quality contacts, you are assuming that there are also low quality contacts.” And that’s right. How can one prejudge and know if a person is going to become a high or low quality contact? We cannot know beforehand what serendipitous events may come out of the contact. And the more contacts we have, the more opportunity for serendipity.
Hands-on international management consultant specializing in overseas start-ups, growth and turnarounds.
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