Tag Archives | social networking

How to maintain long-distance social relationships

Being humble maintains distant connections

social network superimposed on world mapThese days, many of your business contacts are long-distance. Even if they are actually not that far away, a great deal of your communication is effectively long-distance because much of it is mediated through the Internet. Goodness, we have all probably seen people email the person sitting next to them, rather than actually talk…!

The problem with long-distance relationships of any kind is that they are easier to break up than when you are really physically close to someone.

Interesting new research, admittedly looking at romantic relationships, gives us a clue as to how we need to behave online if we want to maintain those long-distance connections with business colleagues, customers, associates and so on.

The study found that relationships were much more likely to be maintained when the partners were humble. This was especially the case in long-distance relationships.

Being humble

What the research means is that online we need to be less arrogant, less full of ourselves and less wanting to be right all the time. You see a great deal of that kind of behaviour on social networks and what it seems to do is drive people away, rather than attract them.

Being humble also means accepting that you might be wrong, that the other person may be superior to you or know more than you and that they might be better than you.

In short, it is about treating other people in the way we would like to be treated. It comes back to the same old argument – see things much more from the other person’s perspective and your relationship will be maintained.

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Why some people hate social networking and what to do about it

Networking with other people makes us feel “dirty”

Network of People - Communication LinksIn spite of the billions of users of social networking sites almost all of those account holders are bystanders. Most people on social networks are “lurkers” – people who lurk in the shadows and watch what other people are doing but without taking part in it themselves. The bulk of social networking is actually done by a relatively small number of people.

Given the vast amount of articles, blog posts and videos online all demonstrating the significant benefits of networking you would expect the number of people taking an active part to be much higher than it actually is. Almost all Tweeting, for instance, is done by just 5% of the people on Twitter.

So why do people sign up, but then give up?

The answer could be found by considering what you might call “real world” networking. You know the kind of thing, business events where you turn up to meet like-minded people and get to know potential clients, suppliers or introducers. Most businesses do not go to such events. Furthermore most of the people there are also “lurkers”; they turn up, grab a coffee and a sandwich, be polite to people and leave having listened to a speaker or watched a demonstration of something. Most people who go to real world business networking events don’t actually “network” either.

Whether you look at online social networks or real world social networks the same behaviour is being repeated. People tend to lurk and not take an active part.

There is only a relatively small amount of psychological research on networking, but a recent study shows why this lack of networking is happening. It turns out that networking with other people makes us “feel dirty”. For some reason we don’t yet understand, social networking in the real world is perceived somewhat negatively by many people because it makes them feel impure in some way. That might also explain the extent of lurking in online social networks.

The research also showed that the people who don’t have feelings of being dirty are the ones in most power, usually the ones who don’t need to network in the first place.

But an intriguing part of this study was in finding what made people feel OK about networking.

It transpired that the people who do not have these physical or moral objections to networking were the ones who went to business events and gave something. In other words, you do not feel dirty and take a more active part in social networking when you give, rather than when you take. It is the going to networking events and seeing them as something which you take from that triggers the feelings of physical dirtiness, it seems.

So what does that mean for online social networking?

It suggests that the more you share, the more you provide information, the more you give other people, the better it will be for you. Social networking is not about taking, It is about giving.

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Why British Kids Prefer Screen Time to Playtime

It’s been a stunning summer, but despite the good weather British children are spending less time outdoors than ever – because of their obsession with social media.

One in three parents says despite their best efforts their kids have spent ten hours a day browsing the web during the holidays, while one in five has struggled to get them to put their phones down and venture outside.

According to a major new research from food manufacturer, Pork Farms, as a result, a third of us now thinks social media is ruining family time completely.

The survey, released to mark the world’s first Anti-Social Media Day on Saturday 30th August, also revealed four out of ten parents feel children playing with smartphones is the most annoying thing about trips away.

And it isn’t just children who can’t switch off – partners constantly checking emails was another major gripe, driving 30 per cent of us mad.

Jen Walshaw, mummy blogger and editor of Mum in the Madhouse, commented: “I think interacting face-to-face is so important to help build and strengthen relationships and as parents, we should be setting that example to our children.”

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Should you start collecting more online friends?

Quantity – not quality – could be more important for social networking

The debate about the number of social networking contacts you should have has raged on for years. Indeed, even before the era of online social networking business leaders argued over whether you should cultivate a small group of contacts who you know well, or a large collection of people who you don’t have such deep relationships with. Is it the quality of your business network that matters, or the quantity?

This is a fairly polarised debate. Networking strategist Andy Lopata, for instance, argued that quality is more important than quantity in his blog post “Stop Playing the Numbers“. Yet another networking expert, Thomas Power, the founder of the world’s first business social network, Ecademy, argues that quantity is more important than quality, which he did in a recent edition of “The Global Networking Show“.

Online social networking has faced the same issue. Should you collect thousands of friends and followers or should you just focus on a small group. Professor Robin Dunbar has argued that we only have 149 people in our social groups on average anyway, something which has become known as “the Dunbar Number“. So how come there are people on Facebook with thousands of friends, or on Twitter with millions of followers? Do they know something we don’t? Have they realised that quantity is better than quality in some way?

As ever, research and testing can help provide the answer. Thankfully, research from social psychologists at North Carolina State University has found the answer:

Quantity beats quality.


Well, at least in terms of one measure – money. It turns out that the people who networked the most, who contacted the most people and who took every opportunity to build the number of people they were connected with were the ones who had the greatest increase in income. The people who focused on a smaller group of contacts, did not have the same degree of financial success.

So, at first sight, it seems that the psychologists have answered that age-old conundrum and pointed us in the direction of quantity over quality.

It seems sure, therefore, that if you build up your connections in your network you will make more money as a result.

Except all is not as it seems. Even though the research found that people with big networks made more money than those with small networks, it was the behaviour and attitudes of the people that were more important. The people with the big networks that made the most money were motivated by growth and advancement. In other words, they probably were making more money due to this characteristic of their personality rather than the size of their network. The network size is probably a reflection of their behaviour – they attract more people to want to connect to them because they are go-ahead people. They make more money because they are go-ahead, not necessarily through the size of their network.

It is not quality OR quantity

What the research really suggests is that you shouldn’t focus on quantity nor should you concentrate on quality. Instead, you should focus on your motivation. Concentrate on growth, on building your business and on reaching your goals. In doing so, your social network numbers will take care of themselves. You will inevitably increase the number of friends and followers as a result of your go-getting behaviour. But it will not be those numbers, on their own, that make the difference. It is your behaviour that will do that.

 

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Your boss uses social media more than you do

Research shows that company bosses like to use social networks at the same time as telling their staff to stop using them

A like message on enter keyboard for social media concepts.Company bosses have been shown as somewhat “two-faced” in a new study about the way business people use social media. Company bosses have been shown to be avid users of social networks, whilst telling their staff to stop using them because they waste their time.

The bosses create a strange argument that what is good for them and the company is not necessarily good for the people who work at the firm.

But when you look more closely at the study you discover that it is all down to personality.

Bosses tend to be extroverted individuals. The problem with extroverts is their “reticular activation system” – a part of the brain which could be considered akin to a central telephone exchange, feeding signals in all sorts of directions. In extroverts this system is rather under-powered. It needs regular “kicks” to keep it going. Introverts, on the other hand have a reticular activation system that is all systems go and doesn’t need constant booting up.

But how does the system get its “kicks”? Stimulation from the outside world is what is necessary. That’s why extroverts behave they way they do. They are always “up front” because it produces constant amounts of stimulation from the world around them so their reticular activation system can keep going. Introverts do not need this amount of stimulation for their brain and so they don’t do many of the things that extroverts do, simply because their brain has no need for them to do this.

Social media helps extroverts

The world of social media was made for extroverts. They can post anything they like, whenever they like and get instant feedback – the stimulation they crave subconsciously to keep their reticular activation system fired up. Often, people wonder why some people appear to live their life online, using Facebook and Twitter to announce even the most mundane aspects of their daily life. Indeed, why did the UK comedian Jason Manford recently announce on Facebook that he had found a lump on his testicle before he had even made an appointment to see a doctor? Someone who is extroverted doesn’t always consider the impact of what they are doing on social networks, instead they are driven by the need for feedback to keep their brain working.

Company bosses also need stimulation to keep their brain in gear and so it is no surprise that they too use social networks personally. They also tend to work much longer hours than many of their staff and so can find the extra time at work to engage in social media activities – probably often when the staff have gone home.

So, you might not think your boss is using social networks because you don’t see much evidence of it during the day. But after you have gone home, they’ll still be in the office connecting with their friends. They need the stimulation this brings – stimulation they do not need so much in the day when they are surrounded by colleagues.

 

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