Social Networking: Relationships, Encounters and Spam

Everyone knows that social media and social networking continues to grow but I have also taken note at how it has evolved on many of the social media channels.  Are people looking for a relationship, an encounter or is it just spam?

The answer is “yes”!  Social media is all 3 of those.  People and businesses need to rethink exactly what their strategy is to connect with their target markets.  Think about your day as you network through any number of social media tools:

Relationships: People and brands want to build a relationship with you.  After all, everyone is told to build a relationship with your network.  Relationships are trustworthy connections, often forged at events or in person who does not equate to every single person you come in contact with through social media.  This is very small number of people in your network, those you could call at any moment and catch up.  A very important portion of your network, and a small number in your network.

Encounters: Most likely the majority of people/brands that you will be involved with throughout your day.  These are the individuals or companies that are working to connect with you, to exchange information and to bring you into their community.  This is often misconstrued as “building a relationship” rather than acknowledging exactly what it is, an encounter.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an “encounter”.  Both parties are gaining information and sharing feedback.  Also, you may interact with someone today and then not again for another few days or weeks.  But you have interaction with them and you are able to message them and reconnect practically at any moment.  Encounters are where we live online, are very helpful, but not to be confused with relationships.

Spam: The bottom feeder.  Finally, there are those bots or people that spam the rest of us.  To use somewhat of a cliché, Web 1.0 tactics in a Web 2.0/3.0 world.  These accounts are those that say they “get” social media but obviously do not.  They want to push information out as often and as rapidly as they can.  If you send a question to them, you will be hard pressed to gain a response.  Spam will always be around.  Why?  It is easy and is automated.  There is minimal thought behind it and is easy to measure results.

Is this cut and dry… nope.  Is there some overlap between “relationships” with “encounters” as well as “encounters” with “spam”… definitely.  Grey is the world in which we live.

Think about this.  If the majority of our day and time is spent making social encounters, this means that you must maximize your value.  Engagement is great and value is king.  People want to learn and share ideas, make the most of your time.

Power of Relationships

As with anything in life, the relationship begins with first contact.  It is important to be professional in every step of business but especially in HR.  HR is most always that constant contact for every perspective employee to help guide them through an interview process and help to on-board properly.


Sometimes I have seen managers not have the same outlook.  Yes, everyone is busy as well they should be but that does not excuse you from being unresponsive.


Put yourself in the candidates shoes for a moment.  If a manager is unable to make time to meet with you, what will change when you are working under them?  Will they suddenly have time for you?  Will they completely change how they work?


Unfortunately the answer is no.  Hiring a new employee does take time but if you vest your time correctly then it is an easy process to engage.  Don’t rely on HR to magically make things happen if you are not around.  Candidates want to be woo’ed in some fashion.  Are you friendly, engaging and easy to speak with?  Are you providing a good team atmosphere?  Have you set reasonable or stretch expectations?  Did you allow adequate time for questions?  Are you being honest?


All are critical to candidates to feel wanted.  They want to know what to expect and what they will be responsible for on the team.

Make the time to make it happen professionally!

Get in the Twitter Game

Twitter is everywhere.  It is on your computer as an application (, your phone ( and maybe even your t-shirt.

The fact is, Twitter is everywhere and everyone it talking about it.  Jon Stewart isn’t such a big fan though ( but the craze is here and growing rapidly.

Whatever your reason for being on Twitter, follow people who might give you valuable insight to it and how best to utilize the technology.  It is never too early or too late to practice good Twitter-tips.  I like Dan Schawbel (@danschawbel) as he provides a variety of tips on Twitter and on Personal Branding which is his specialty.  While I do not agree with everything he puts out, it is very topical and gives some good exposure to different areas.

Build a network of what is of interest to you; jobs, technology, news, politics, finance, gaming, sports, dating, or whatever else and build a common interest theme.  Then, add people outside of this concentration to allow you to join a plethora of conversations and get exposed to a lot of areas.

Once you are on Twitter, join the conversation.  The best way to build your network is to be heard.