On Christmas Eve, as I was wrapping the last gifts and uploading some video to #HRCarnival, I had a bit of a social media epiphany. The message “Have a great Christmas” came up in my twitter stream from @ChrisBrogan. Not to me exclusively but to the many thousands that follow Chris . Unless you live under a rock somewhere, you will have heard of the name Chris Brogan. You’ve probably also read his excellent book on social media, “Trust Agents.” (I read it recently after a great review by Andy Headworth in Sirona Says.)
In the spirit of Christmas I sent a reply returning the wishes and thanking him for his work during the year. I have learnt a lot from his blog. I also commented that I did not expect a reply.
I did this because Chris has received some bad press in a few blogs recently for not replying to tweets. I don’t really get that. I understand the point that is made in “Trust Agents” that you need to engage and be involved, but if you are being followed by 113,624 people and are following 93,550 people, outside of a select group how can you really do that?
I have a following of 3252 on twitter and follow 2991. I know how busy my twitter stream is. I get between 150 and 200 mentions or messages a day on these numbers. Sometimes it is hard to keep up and reply or comment on all but I try. On like for like figures that means Chris must get at least 30 times the messages and mentions I do (and I’d guess it’s many more.) That means about 3150 messages and mentions a day, impossible to reply to more than 1/10th of that number I would think, and that is before we start talking Facebook, You Tube, Blog etc.
With this in mind, I was somewhat surprised to receive a tweet back stating “Happiest to you too, Bill. Do good things. : 0″. When you’re following a real social media rock star (who coincidently does not use the words guru or expert in any of his bio’s), this means a lot. It doesn’t take a lot of time, it contains no real earth shattering facts but it does bring the network and the following on to a basic human level, person to person. However big or small your network is, it means a lot to the people who follow you.
I thanked Chris with my next tweet, thanking him for taking the time to reply and got the following response ” I do what I can. Hard to reply all the time, but I do what I can. : )”. We probably won’t communicate again, but it did remind me of the best way to build a network. Keep it personal and reach out when you can even if it is just to say Hi! You don’t need to make every tweet earth shattering or full of revelation, remember people are people, and some help, acknowledgment or a kind word will go a long way to building a great network in whatever community you wish to belong. Never think you don’t have something worthwhile to say, treat your network as a group of close acquaintances with a few friends thrown in.
This was an epiphany for me, because in all the talk of R.O.I, science and technique it reminded me of what the real key is. Simple human conversation. So, Happy Christmas Chris Brogan and have a great New Year. The same to everyone who takes the time to read my blog, follow my tweets or follow me in any way.
Be ambassadors of conversation, have a great one with your loved ones.