As a dedicated blogger, I am particularly interested in the shift we experienced this summer within social media networks. From a personal perspective, I found myself filtering out at least 50% of what I typically participated in on a daily basis. The sheer volume of less-than-meaningful broadcasted information and attempts to connect became too unmanageable and unfulfilling. The more I ‘spoke’ about this with others, the more agreement I heard and read.
A quick online search of Wikipedia produced a list of over 200 social networking sites with this caveat – the list is not exhaustive and is limited to notable, well-known sites. Variety is toted as the spice of life, so why is dissatisfaction becoming a shared experience for many social networkers?
In analyzing this shared dissatisfaction, I recognize social media networks satisfy our desire to connect with more people, but for what end. Given the number of people opting out because of overwhelm, connecting for the purpose of selling products and services is certainly not enough. In fact, I think we confuse broadcasting sales and marketing information with what authentic connection entails.
In an age where the potential to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime is increasing everyday, what is emerging for me are a set of principles to guide my connection choices —
1. supports a mutually beneficial purpose
2. provides a purposeful, deep connection
3. contributes creatively rather than only consumes (buy, sell, etc.)
Because our life is short on this planet and needs are many, I want to align my greatest passions with the world’s greatest needs. In this way, I know I am purposefully engaging my creativity in contributing to the betterment of all. I also know that the complex needs of today’s world typically require more resources than one person can muster so I collaborate with others who share the same purpose. These purposeful engagements with others not only mutually benefit all parties involved but — through our interactions — build the openness, understanding and respect foundational in trusting relationships. A trusted relationship feeds the mind, body and soul because of its depth and intimacy (in-to-me-see). More simply put, purposeful engagements with others provide a rich learning environment for the self, which is one of my greatest passions.
I am curious about your experience with and reactions to social networking. Do you find yourself becoming more selective with whom you interact? What, if any, parameters guide your decision to connect?