I did it! I finally deleted over 200 PEOPLE ON TWITTER!
*hold for applause*
What? You aren’t impressed? What if I told you that I wasn’t actually communicating with those 200 people, hadn’t met them in person, and I was communicating with them because Twitter told me they were a good match. I had started following them in hopes of broadening my reach online reach and expanding my global PLN. In this short entry, I’m going to advocate for something that’s a bit counterintuitive and tell you why less is more.
This post is inspired by my COETAIL course which provocatively asks us whether we are online lurkers who don’t engage in discussions, or are we creators who connect by being active?
Clearly we aim to be the latter. But the road to being a connected creator is a little more nuanced than run out there and start posting without something meaningful to add to conversations.
I believe we need to adjust our mentalities. Today, young people believe that success is having a large amount of followers. The other day, I heard a student telling another “congratulations on 100 followers!” It’s a milestone! It got me to thinking– are adults similar? Checking to see how many “likes” we get on a vacation picture? Do we look at profiles on Twitter at conferences and judge someone based on how many followers they have? Yes and yes. We aspire to be aspirational; we long to be loved; we fake it until we’re famous!
God I love alliteration.
Ok, this is a post about connecting and lurking, right? Well, here’s your big pay off that you’ve been waiting for. My point!
What if we have fewer connections. And those fewer connections are maintained, regular, and frequent? Rather than all of us aiming to be the next Gladwellian connector, we can be a good coworker? Friend? Partner? Teacher who knows his/her students well?
What if we focused on the quality of relationships rather than the sheer number of followers and fans? What if we asked ourselves on how we can connect with one another using technology in ways we couldn’t before? Tech should enhance what I would say most people already value: deep and meaningful relationships.
Ok, so not a revolutionary idea here, Alex. What are you really trying to say?
Well, now comes the fun part. If you’re buying what I’m selling here, then perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at your social media and ask– out of the people that I follow, how many of them do I regularly interact with? Could I do a better job at building my relationship with people before I start following them?
You can also ask yourself, how can I better build relationships with people in face-to-face situations? Can I be less distracted with my devices? Can I be more empathetic? Can I show more gratitude?
Look long and hard at your own ethics. What do you believe a good relationship looks like and how does social media help you to enhance them? Are you modeling these ethics?
But first step is first. Delete.