Online Social Networking – Is Anybody Listening?

I often wonder, is anybody listening to the people who have been practicing social networking for a very long time and who are willing to help shorten the learning curve for the rest of us? People like Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Charlene Li, Guy Kawasaki, Mitch Joel, Mari Smith and the list goes on and on. These people, with years of experience are willing to share, free of charge, everything they have learned, well almost everything. Yet, we see people who are getting started, who continue to make the same mistakes that were made before. Is anybody listening?It seems like everyone is so excited to start social networking yet they forget to find out what social networking is all about. I’m sure they read the advice offered, however, they don’t take the time to absorb it before they start networking.What is Social Networking? Social networking is like sharing with your friends and associates. How often have you been involved in a conversation with a friend and felt that they were not listening to you? Pretty frustrating, isn’t it? There they were, looking at you, nodding yet they “heard” only the words you said; they did not “listen” to understand what you said. That’s when you shake your head and ask yourself is anybody listening? That seems to be what’s happening with the advice and information we are providing online.Just because you don’t absorb all of the advice we give is that advice going to stop coming? No, in fact I’m going to give you some more great advice right now; I hope you are listening.Before you rush out and tell everybody what you are going to do for them make sure that you can actually do it. Not all of us are experts at everything, however, we all have areas where we can share information that will be helpful to our fellow social networkers. Take the Flower sisters on YouTube. They started sharing helpful make-up tips and have now produced over 500 very well received clips related to things young ladies encounter; helpful timely advice and information which has led to much more for them.That’s the advice I have for you, helpful timely advice and information will lead to much more for you. Social networking is not “what’s in it for you,” it’s “what’s in it for them.” Before you start social networking you need to listen to your “target” audience and find out what they want.It’s no different than talking to a friend. We all know that good listening is key in effective communication. We listen to our friend to understand what they are saying or trying to say so we can respond in a helpful manner. With social networking it’s the same thing. You have to establish a relationship with your network before much of what you have to say will be heard.You have to spend time listening in order to know how you can help them. Just jumping into a group, forum, blog, webinar or social site and telling everyone to join you because your upline or super-affiliate has told you you have a great product is not going to work. The social networking community is just that, a community, and its reaction to certain behavior is predictable. A person’s behavior will get them placed into specific groups.If you are a newbie, someone obviously just getting started in social networking, and make mistakes because you are following the wrong guidance or no guidance you will be given a little time to learn acceptable etiquette or behavior. However, if you don’t learn you will find yourself outside looking in with no audience to hear what you have to say. When you ask is anybody listening the answer will be no.There are also those people who are all business. They are there to advertise and promote their product or services. They have no time for conversation or other distractions. These people will soon find that they are being blocked by most people and are only talking to themselves.Then there are the people who post a lot and say little or nothing of value. Their posts or tweets are vain attempts to get noticed and they do get noticed, blocked and forgotten.It is the people who may be there for business, yet understand the need to interact, are social on a social network and realize the need to build a relationship, who are making social networking vibrant.These people openly edify other businesses and people within the social community. These are the people who post items of interest from all over the web promoting, educating and serving the social networking community at the same time. They create content that you look forward to seeing which helps them create relationships and friendships while they cultivate their business networking relationships.Which group do you want to be in? Is anybody listening? I hope so.

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