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? How 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?