I have been lucky enough to experience an “a-ha moment” lately. I did know it from before, but I have not been aware enough to put the knowledge into good use.
A while back I joined David Zinger’s Online community; The Employee Engagement Network. All I did was to register and create a profile. I was hoping that it would create more readers to my blog. But I was wrong, deadly wrong, until I had an eye-opening dialogue with Craig Althof about online networking. He said:”The more I think about it, the more participation / contribution on the EEN and other forums is a classic manifestation of engagement. People must feel motivated to contribute, which involves setting aside a portion of their scarce discretionary time. They must put forth extra effort, but must also get something out of the effort—personal satisfaction.” – A valuable lesson suddenly landed in my lap. In order to get something out of a network, you need to contribute and participate, It makes logic sense.
500 Baseball Cards or 5 Friends for Life?
“There are a lot of joiners who collect network and group affiliations and “personal” connections like they were cheap baseball cards” – Craig Althof. This is also an interesting view. The size of your network is not important at all. So why do you want to network in the first place? This is a question that you need to answer, what are you looking for? What can you do for them? And what people do you need to interact with and why? If you can define this you can be more specific when looking for online buddies. I for one would love to find, fellow leaders with passion for writing, a leadership mentor or other call center managers.
- Join an Online Network Where You are Most Likely to Meet Peers
Spend some time to search for your favorite network. You do not need to be in ten different networks, as it would be impossible to be equally engaged in all of them. You might ask around if someone knows of any specific network where you can find matching interests with a group of people.
- Read the ContributionFrom Others and Engage
Start by reading what other people are writing, if you find someone with similar interests you might find your first friend. Or you can posts your interests in the “Here I am” – post. A lot of networks have designated areas where you can introduce yourself. Why not put the poster up right away.
- Do Not Go Maniac Friending Everybody
Yes I am guilty as charged, this is one of the mistakes I have done so far, but it stops here. In every network there is someone that adds everybody to their friend list, most likely because they think it will drive traffic to their blog or web service. I thought people would be curious about who is this bugger, friending me for no reason at all. Resulting in them visiting my blog to fall in love with my amazing content. Well here is the stone cold fact: This method does not work! A while back the numbers of visitors became unimportant anyway. I would rather write for five people that get something out of my writing and give me feedback, then to write for 1000 people marking my e-mail as spam.
- You Can Just Read
There is no rule stating the obligation to contribute with writing. You might learn a lot from a many great ongoing discussions. You do not need to write if you do not feel that you want to or have anything to contribute with. But sure it is a great benefit to write for a bunch of other reasons, not needed to be mentioned here.
- Greet Your Friends
I got a personal note from my first interacting friend on The Employee Engagement Network, and it made me smile. I felt that I was accepted for real. You should also great your friends. Maybe it is a good idea to create a two way interview, to get to know each other.
So to fully enjoy an online community or network, you need to participate. You need to step forward beyond just adding a friend. Start caring about the person and the people. Create friendship and dialogue. Engage and interact and you will be spending many good quality moments in front of your computer, and even in real life.
Also read this:
– Phil Gerbyshak’s 10 commandments