You have to kiss a lot of frogs….
I learn a lot talking with my daughter and others. Sometimes I'm not thrilled with what I learn, other times the great "Ahaaa" overcomes us. Dating and networking particularly have become very complex in recent years. Maybe you've noticed, too.
Networking is hot right now. But not everyone agrees about what networking is. There are two theories. I won't say either is right or wrong or that one is more effective than the other.. That very much depends on what your end game is.
Networking by the numbers:
For many, networking is getting all the contacts you can accumulate. What we see is a model that glorifies traffic for traffic's sake.These are the people who brag that they have 100,000, and more, names on their Twitter and Facebook pages. In many of these cases, there's a leader, a handful of active participants and the rest, a hord of silent followers.
We find in those kinds of networking situations that communication is largely one-way: is a lot of "Look at me… See what I'm doing… listen to what I say…." There may be a lot of activity and noise going on but very little real communication or reciprocity.
Networking by definition:
The second approach to networking is something very different. By definition, networking involves interactivity, sharing and support. It's a two-way street. In this sense the Facebook/Twitter model falls short. You won't find a lot of two way conversation, sharing or mutual cooperation among thousands of people.
In order to make sense of this second kind of networking, it helps to study the practices of leadership and management which focuses on how many people an individual can effectively interact with.
Now, the answer to that question is not as easy as it might seem. Some would say that the number of people one individual can effectively interact with is in the range of 8-10. But times and expectations change. In Europe right now the trend is leaning more toward managers being called on to manage as many as 30. It all depends on what kind of community you're trying to build and what the end game is.
Self Preservation in the Networking Game
If you want to network and build traffic at the same time, you need to be prepared to prioritize your contacts and your traffic. And you need to structure your contacts carefully. There will be some you will never really interact with.There will be those you can count on to interrelate with at some level and there will be those that you can work hand in glove with. It's important to keep your expectations realistic if you want to be successful at juggling both growth of your personal network while growing toward that large traffic count.
The key is to remember that growing traffic to your website, or Facebook or Twitter account takes time. You're not going to appeal to everyone. You'll constantly be looking for that group of people who are passionate about some particular topic. At the same time you'll be looking for the tipping point where your own passion and expertise mesh with theirs.But you can't stop there. You also want to maintain and foster responsive interaction with those who do choose to join the ranks of your followers.