As facilitators and bridge-builders, establishing and maintaining networks is a core function of a community developer. So, why would I question becoming over connected? Social media tools can vastly expand our networks but is it possible to become so connected, so caught up in maintaining or monitoring these connections, that we lose sight of our effectiveness? I do use clouds and sites to share photographs, transfer documents, join webinars, write blogs and correspond — and I have occasionally walked along the edges of, peeked in or explored a few popular social networks. For the most part though, I avoid those networks and tools that reduce my efforts to one-finger typing, thumb scrolling, and soundbites. Why? I suppose it’s a personal choice. I stay connected personally and professionally by asking myself the following questions:
- Who is important to me?
- What is the nature of my communication-networking-exchange-sociality-community needs?
- What do I need from my communication tools? What don’t I need?
- How much time do I have for social networking and how can I best use my time?
- Can I still reach those people I want to stay connected with, even if we’re not in constant contact?
- Can people still reach me when they need to?
- Which services and networks help maintain good quality connections?
I have come to know that:
- Making and maintaining connections is important
- My circle of friends, relatives, colleagues and clients spans around the world and my life is richer as a result
- Relationships are not static; some connections will thrive and others will disappear
- My circle has expanded beyond my capacity to stay actively connected with everyone regularly
I’m not always good at keeping in touch — that does not mean I’ve forgotten or I don’t care. I have emailed colleagues and friends after 10 years and they have responded in kind, rekindling those connections. It actually happens quite frequently and I am ecstatically happy these connections and friendships still exist.
On that level, this community developer can never be over connected!
p.s. There are 800+ top social networks, apps and digital services available to us according to Craig Smith (expandedramblings.com, June 29, 2015). Wow!