Posts Tagged ‘building connections’

Expectations of a Follower: Creating Meaningful Relationships Online

Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Flickr Image: Joelaz

Flickr Image: Joelaz

by Colleen Flood*

Recently, I was listed in a post entitled, “10 Communications Professionals Who Deserve More Twitter Followers.” After being number one (since I had the least followers) I received a slew of new  invitations from individuals looking to connect with me via Twitter. Wow, I was totally flattered.  But, with this new popularity (over 200 followers now!) came “tweeps” following me – presumably in anticipation of some good content and building a rapport with me – which raised a number of questions. 

While I am connecting with new people at a quick rate, how do I maintain these new relationships and how close will they become?  What is the expectation of a follower?  How engaged will we become with those we follow?  Maybe my new followers are looking to engage one-on-one and with a few I have already done this. I have even met some of my followers in real-life, at a recent tweetup. But how many followers can I actively engage with? 

My colleague at BurrellesLuce, Valerie Simon (@valeriesimon) recently guest posted on the PR 2.0 Strategies blog, regarding the limits to the number of people with whom one can maintain social relationships.  She mentioned the works of Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist who devised a formula to determine how many friends a human can emotionally interact with.  The “Dunbar Number” is a figure of approximately 150 people with whom we can maintain meaningful relationships. 

I know of people on Twitter who have thousands of followers and are following thousands, so surely this figure must have increased in the “online world that we all now live in” …right?  Wrong.  According to Dunbar: Facebook, Twitter, and social networking sites can definitely help us stay in touch. However, social media sites do not increase the number of relationships we can maintain.  In the past, without these types of social sites, a relationship with an old pal from kindergarten would have died.  In truth, according to Dunbar, we really must “get together” to make the relationship work.

The Internet and social networking sites, in particular, have created a sense of mass intimacy, but realistically anything over 150 friends is just too much according to Dunbar – a point not lost on social media users. In fact, some are even discussing “putting a cap on Twitter followers.”  Personally, I am not anticipating that most of my followers will become dear friends, but I do want to learn from them and engage on a “social networking” basis.  I enjoy their posts and comments and I think we have a lot to offer each other, even if we don’t make it to each other’s top 150. 

What are your thoughts? How are you managing to connect and engage with your followers and the people you follow in meaningful ways? Are you considering or have you already limited the number of people you connect with in social media?


*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce

#Tweetsgiving: Demonstrating Gratitude

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Flickr Image: cambodia4kidsorg

Flickr Image: cambodia4kidsorg

Valerie Simon

Are you familiar with TweetsGiving? It “is a global celebration that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude.” From November 24 – 26, 2009, participants are challenged to share their gratitude using online tools and at live events. You can learn more about this 48-hour event created by U.S, non-profit Epic Change  by following this link here. If you are on Twitter, you can also follow the hashtag #tweetsgiving.

Social media has provided a myriad of opportunities to “give back” this year. Another cause I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with is 12for12K. I was motivated by Mashable’s Summer of Social Good and could not help but be moved to support Drew and Anissa. Social media offers a far more personal opportunity to build connections and support for important causes.

Time and money continue to be limited resources, however; as you work to incorporate social media into your cause marketing efforts, consider the fact that you are not the only one using social media to reach out. Sarah Evans recently wrote a great post on this issue, “How to avoid online donor fatigue.”

Have you or your clients incorporated social media into cause marketing efforts?  How do you stand out? And what do you do to acknowledge and thank your donors and supporters?