Do We Know Who We Know On Social Media?

Well, this was an interesting interaction. Yesterday a local friend of mine came over to help me move a rock. That sounds weird until you realize the rock is more than 400 pounds. It’s actually a boulder that I bought at the beginning of September to try to keep people from hitting and breaking my mailbox time and time again because they come around a corner too fast, skid into my yard, and crash into it. I figured with the boulder, which can’t be missed, might be a deterrent and slow some people down.


Nope, didn’t happen. When I got home after two weeks out of town I was informed that someone had hit the boulder and it had moved. It moved to a point where it wasn’t protecting the mailbox any longer so it did its job, but it needed to be moved back into place. My friend Jesse came over, strapped the boulder, and pulled it with his pick up truck; all good once more.

I thanked Jesse in public on Facebook because he really didn’t have to do it but I was happy that he volunteered. He responded and all was good, but then someone else responded to him and they started having an interesting conversation. She was attractive so I decided to check out her page (for scientific reasons you know; cough) and they I asked him who she was, but where she could see it since it was my thread.

Talk about embarrassment. Turns out I had met her and was already friends with her on Facebook from two years ago; oy! But I’d added her after meeting her so I didn’t know her that well. Then she told me we were connected on LinkedIn; I went over there and saw that we weren’t and I told her so. She wrote back saying she thought we were, and we connected with each other to get that taken care of.

It got me thinking about social media, people we’re connected to, and how much we know of the people we’re connected to. Whereas I realize that many people I’m connected to on Twitter I don’t really know and almost never talk to (or never have talked to), I thought that everyone I was connected to on Facebook was someone I’d be talking to on a regular basis. I hadn’t seen this lady in two years, not in my stream and she’d never seen anything else I’d put out. If it hadn’t been for a mutual connection and a fluke yesterday we might have gone another 2 years before connecting, and I still wouldn’t have known who she is; guess I’m a bit more memorable sometimes since she remembered me and where we met (I got it like that with the ladies lol). 🙂

When we talk about social media and social media marketing, our expectation is twofold. One expectation is that people we’re connected to will respond to what we say and do and offer and will jump at the chance to participate. Two, we hope that they’ll like it so much that they’ll share it with others and help us grow even more.

But we also talk about making relationships, and it seems to me that if we don’t even know the people we’re connected to in places like Facebook, what does that say about our own relationship marketing? Why should we be expecting anything from anyone when, in the long run, we don’t really know who they are? I think about my Twitter stream and realize I’m connected to nearly 1,000 people, but I think I might really know only 100 of them; isn’t that a shame? How many more people on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus am I connected to for one reason or another who I wouldn’t recognize in a heartbeat if they suddenly appeared in my stream? And the lady on Facebook was very attractive; how’d I forget her for reasons other than being an old married man? lol

While it’s true that if we’re looking to branch out and reach as many people as possible that it makes knowing everyone we connect to impossible, it should remind us that we need to find ways to make ourselves more memorable and to try to bring more people closer to us if we have high aspirations for visibility on social media. I still believe Chris Pirillo is right when he talks about having those 100 core fans if you will, but how many of us can actually say that we have that? Yeah, Adrienne probably does. 🙂

Something to think about on a Monday morning; enjoy the rock, who saved the day and probably got the best of the encounter with whoever hit it.

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22 thoughts on “Do We Know Who We Know On Social Media?”

  1. I interact on FB with only people I know from either having met them personally or those that have come into my life via the blog world. The latter epitomised by you. In fact, I turn down at least three requests per week for friendships on FB and I don’t participate in Linked in. I do not participate too much in Twitter and only occasionally visit it.
    Rummuser recently posted..Story 17. The Gentle Man Who Vanished.My Profile

    1. Rummuser, I did know this lady; I just didn’t remember her. As to the rest, I have to admit that when I first signed onto both Facebook and Twitter the only standard I had was to add anyone who added me. As time went on and I knew I was going to hang around those standards changed. Still, just because one’s standards change doesn’t mean we remember everyone. And you’re in a different place professionally than I am because I’m trying to be known for my career while you’re done with career goals. I may be you someday… maybe that is. lol

    1. It’s not a bad way to go Andy but it turned out I had met this woman in real life; that’s when it’s freaky. And part of the appeal of Facebook is having someone reach out to you who you not only knew but actually liked from the past, though I will admit it’s freaky as well.

  2. Mitch I used to accept all friend requests in Facebook and then I stopped a day to look at my friends list just to know that I don’t know over 80% of them. I then did a mass cleanup coz that totally ruins the purpose of the word “friends”! From then on I only add people with whom I have interacted with and who I know somewhat well as my friend.

    As to Twitter, I know people by names – I only follow someone I know; but I am not too strict as I am on Facebook – since it is just followers here, perhaps? lol.
    Jane recently posted..A Not To-Do List To Boost Your ProductivityMy Profile

    1. Jane, for the most part I’m in total control of who I add in all social media areas, but the rules change depending on what they are. For instance, if it’s a local contact & they have a picture, I’m probably adding them even if I don’t know them because their local and it’s possible I’ve met them but don’t remember where. Outside of that I make my decisions based on criteria, but like I told Jeevan sometimes you just don’t remember someone you added for a business purpose or someone you connected with and got along with at a networking event that suddenly you don’t remember anymore.

  3. Hey Mitch,

    Well, I could have said that I knew all of my FB friends. I no longer can. I think it was last year, when I modified my existing principle of only accepting people I know personally (online or offline), to accepting all friends request with mutual friends. I am still picky though. If I haven’t seen him/her anywhere, I probably won’t accept their friend request.

    Not knowing most of my followers on Twitter is one among the primary reasons why I deleted my old account and started a new one. But, now I realize it is impossible to maintain an active relationship with all my Twitter fans. It’s too many people!

    I have heard that our brain is only capable of maintaining 150 relationships at a time. I wonder how that applies to the online world?

    I suppose we should just try to make the best out of it 😉

    1. Jeevan, Twitter and Google Plus are the easiest platforms for having people follow that you can decide you don’t want to follow back. Doesn’t happen on LinkedIn and it’s hard to do on Facebook. I block people being able to reach me if there’s no connection through someone else but once it happens, then I have a decision to make. I don’t mind as much there since the numbers are still relatively and yet, finding myself suddenly talking to someone I didn’t know I was connected to is kind of weird.

      1. LinkedIn is hard. I don’t (personally) know many of my connections; I have seen some around, while few are new to me. Only reason I accept is because we have common connections.

        Agreed 🙂 We don’t want to be in that kind of situation (or maybe it is for the good – an opportunity to make another friend?).

  4. Hi Mitch, it’s been a while when I put my last comment on your, although I’ve been following you in the last couple of weeks as well. But this topic has hit me, it’s such an interesting thing. I’ve just checked it, I have about 600 friends on facebook and about 1000 followers on twitter, and honestly, I haven’t meet or talked to them at all… at the beginning, I thought that facebook and twitter was for the personal contacts and real friends, but in the last couple of years people have started using these social media and web2 platforms as marketing tools and just for promoting their business stuff. It is sad but true: things will change, and facebook won’t offer a free service to billions of people without any business in the background. What I wonder is the behavior of the teenagers, who can change their minds from a day to another, and so they have left myspace, facebook, and started to use those brand new platforms which aren’t censored and hyped by the ‘adults’. The hate it when something is pushed and forced, that’s why they started to use tumblr, instagram and snapchat instead of facebook and twitter when they can be controlled by their parents.
    Peter recently posted..3D nyomtatás otthon speciális anyagokkalMy Profile

    1. Peter, the kids have moved beyond up in a strange way; they’re texting and doing video chats on their phones instead of waiting for Twitter messages that others can see. I see few kids on Facebook, way fewer on Twitter and none on Google Plus. However there’s still TV so most marketers of their stuff reach them there and on YouTube, where youth participation is very high. Of course Google’s about to change that up as well so I’m not sure what the kids will do.

  5. It reminds of one article that I’ve read earlier about “Build Long Lasting Relationships With Influencers On Twitter”. It has been somewhat alike since the topics talks about building relationships.
    And I have to confess that I concur with you, it will cause something at the end of the day. Or I must say that it is a good idea if you will be connected to the influencers and meet them in person so that both of you will have a quality time together and change some ideas.

    It is advisable for people to keep engaged with those who can help them in a certain field (if you needed to).

    This comment
    Metz recently posted..Work is where the WIFI is (with LogMeIn)My Profile

    1. Truthfully Metz, if one looks to only be connected to influencers in my opinion it means they’re not trying to be an influencer in their own right. I’m connected to some of them but strangely enough there’s very few of them that I connected with first. To me, it shows that in my own small way I did enough to get certain people to come my way; it feels so much better.

  6. Hi Mitch, this is one question I keep asking every one who shares his/her personal details on the social networking platforms and make friends with almost everybody. It is a free world but not a harm free world, you have to take care of your security.
    Rey recently posted..Test News Header!My Profile

    1. You sure do Rey. I put things out there because I have a business to promote, and of course I’m in the mode of sharing information and thoughts. And yet, there are things I haven’t put out there such as my cell number, almost any of my wife’s information, etc.

  7. Hey Mitch,

    I don’t know everyone but I do my best to make those connections and at least keep them going. If they decide to drop off the face of the earth there isn’t much I can do about that.

    I have less than 900 friends on Facebook mainly for that reason. I’ve deleted them probably twice now so a lot of those are family, friends offline, friends online, people I’ve met through some program, service or blogging. Now a lot of those people don’t stay in contact no matter what I try to do so I eventually will unfriend them.

    Twitter is a different story but you know me, I’m always chatting with someone and trying to keep that interaction going. I admit I can’t do it all but I’ll darn sure try!

    Thanks for the mention and sorry I’m just now dropping by. Hope your busy schedule is slowing down.

    Enjoy your week.

    Adrienne recently posted..Why Effective Consistency in Blogging Is CrucialMy Profile

    1. Glad to see you Adrienne and with all the networking you’re doing, I don’t expect you to find everything I do here, even when I’m mentioning you. 🙂 I think I have fewer connections than you on Facebook but I also don’t feel I have the time right now to even think about culling the list. Still, for most of us we have these connections that we don’t really know because we have our own agendas of sorts right? If we’re marketing we won’t know everyone, but otherwise we should have some idea of whom we’re speaking to, though it can be challenging.

  8. Mitch, has being on LinkedIn ever turned into anything tangible for you? I know most of the people I’m connected to on there, and for most of the others, I at least know why I’m connected to them. But for the most part, I’m just one more name in a customized directory. It might be a mistake to not be in there — the way a plumber needs to be in the Yellow Pages — but I’ve yet to see any positive results from it. I wonder if you’ve had a similar experience.
    bronxboy55 recently posted..I’ll Stay Home If I Want ToMy Profile

    1. Charles, for local connections there’s a lot of people I know and quite a few I met after connecting with them on LinkedIn. And I did get my contract for when I did some consulting in Reno through an initial contact on LinkedIn, so I can say yes to that question. However, it does take more work than I’ve been able to give it in the last few months.

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