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How Necessary Are Your Networks?

As business has picked up these last few months, I’ve noticed my time spent online on social nets has dropped off. In some cases, significantly and in others less significant but still noticeable. The obvious reason (and easy out) is that I’m busy… working! Doing the things that earn me a living and keep my family warm, dry and fed. The time I spent on social networks from 2008 forward was always, in part, about building business. And it’s worked, of that I am certain. My investment of time and content in the ‘net is a very real part of the reason why I’m “too busy!” to tweet or post as frequently these days.

The real issue, though, isn’t whether I’m too busy today… it’s how busy will I STAY without continuing to invest time and content into my networks. What I’ve noticed is that the parts of online social networking that always felt like work I don’t miss doing. I need to do some of that “work” anyway, but I don’t miss making sure I post something valuable every day to LinkedIn, or that I’ve found, read, commented on and posted X number of blog posts in my field/areas of interest and expertise. I still do those things, but I do them as I have time at the moment.

I DO miss, however, the interaction and relationships I’ve developed over the past two, almost three years… and that is a sign of how necessary networks are for us. There are people I’ve met (mostly only digitally) whom I truly miss interacting with, and that I intend to change. I suspect that more regular interaction with some of the smart, savvy, challenging, entertaining and just downright cool people I’ve come to know will organically lead me to great content I WANT to read, comment on, and share with the rest of my network. It always has :) Thinking specifically here of people like Mack Collier, Bobby Rettew, David Spinks, Becky McCray, Amber Naslund…. people who make me think, who help me grow and who help me find and share content that’s worthy of a wider audience.

I’m beginning to realize that it’s not the networking I miss, it’s the key people in the networks. It’s not a news flash that relationships are the engine of social networking. Social networking took off in a time of recession, job hunting, and shared woes. What happens as things change? How do we continue to fuel that relationship engine?┬áHow will we hold on to our best digital friends when we get busier? Have you noticed a difference in your own habits, and are you planning any changes?

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11 Responses to “How Necessary Are Your Networks?”

  1. Bobby December 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Mandy, Wow…I do not even know where to begin! Thanks for this little shout! I am so very fortunate to have met you on the “net” and the feeling is mutual. I was thinking the other day, how can I find a way to meet the people, people like you that share the same DNA. I consider you a colleague, one that understands what it means to do good business and always find a way to grow. I am glad you have been busy and I hope that 2011 is an AWESOME year for you. You ROCK and you deserve success! ~BR

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      I think the finding of colleagues who don’t share an office, company or even city with me has been the foremost benefit of being involved in various social sites. Yay for horizon expanding, precept challenging, butt motivating colleagues! :)

  2. Michael Butler December 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    Mandy thanks for sharing, I agree with Bobby and am thankful we aren’t just online friends, you are local and I am thankful. Happy new year and keep up the great content! What you are doing is good for Tulsa-and beyond!

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

      Michael… Absolutely! There are a number of talented local people that I doubt I’d ever have gotten to know without social media… you and your lovely bride among them!
      What next? If we do spend less time online as we all get busier offline, how do we maintain existing relationships and grow new ones? You have made such good use of social nets… are you noticing a difference in your time online?

  3. Becky McCray December 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out. :)

    Here’s why I take time to continue to invest in my networks even when I’m busy: I learn so much from others.

    That’s besides the side benefits of networking, like connecting with others, generating leads and new business, and maintaining a feeling of community even from my tiny town.

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 10, 2010 at 12:38 am #

      Globalizing community is a truly unique benefit of digital networks, I agree. Probably the strongest allure for me, too. I do love new biz, but I think getting to know new people is even better :)

  4. Mack Collier December 11, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    Hey Mandy, thanks for the mention ;) I wonder if tools like Twitter have made us less prone to ‘seek out’ good content? Because I know from my own experience, that before Twitter I spent more time reading blogs, and as a result, finding new content and new content to COMMENT on. Which lead to connects. But now with Twitter, everyone finds the content for me, so I don’t to seek it out anymore.

    I said the other day on Twitter that it felt like blog comments are becoming like hand-written notes: Something we don’t write that much anymore, but they are appreciated when we do. Maybe that means I need to be more interactive in my network.

    Thanks for the prodding, Mandy. And have a good weekend ;)

  5. Bobby December 20, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Mandy,

    I was reading Mack’s note and never really thought of it that way. Just today someone commented on my blog and it was a good friend from college. Her note was a pleasant surprise and a delight to reconnect. It was like a handwritten thankyou note. They not only tool the time to read but reach out! That is what community is all about…good friends and great conversation. Thanks for considering me as a part of your community! Happy Holidays! ~BR

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 20, 2010 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks, Bobby… I think Mack is right, too… Twitter does bring me content. I depend on it and on Google Reader to stay on top of news, inspiration and Facebook to keep up with personal events in other’s lives. I’ve fallen sadly out of a habit I developed in the leanest times of this past year of reading blogs daily, and trying to comment at least once every day. It made me feel connected in a more powerful way than just Twitter does. I am trying to figure out how to structure what I do on a daily basis so I can return to that habit :)

      Merry Christmas to you & Mack, and thanks to both of you for taking the time to leave me one of those handwritten notes! :)

  6. Kristen Atkinson December 29, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    I think the finding of colleagues who don’t share an office, company or even city with me has been the foremost benefit of being involved in various social sites. Yay for horizon expanding, precept challenging, butt motivating colleagues! :)

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