I have one husband.
I have one child.
I have four close women friends.
Compare this with the fact that I have 261 "friends" on Facebook, 239 people who have added me on Google+, 500+ contacts on Linkedin, 2,575 followers on Twitter, and 1,437 subscribers to my blog.
This is not a popularity contest.
My challenge is this, how in the world do I (and you) manage all of these relationships?
I am struggling to figure this out.
The promise of social media is its ability to connect us to amazing, new people across space and time. And while I have met new and interesting people on Linkedin and Facebook, that I wouldn't have bumped into elsewhere, I can't keep up with all of these connections. Not in any meaningful way.
I hate to admit it but I don't have time to thank everyone who RTs (retweets) my stuff on Twitter. I don't have time to check status updates on Facebook. Heck, I hardly have time to get through my inbox!
So what's a marketer, fundraiser, aka relationship-builder to do?
I think the answer is twofold.
1) Create a small tribe - a core group of peers, colleagues, friends, etc. and build deep and authentic relationships with this group over time. Regardless of the tools you use to stay in touch, nurture these relationships with great care. These people should get the bulk of your time and attention.
2) Create or join a big tribe - a group of peers, colleagues, friends, etc. and stay loosely connected to these folks over time. Read their blog posts when you can. Send an email twice a year. But instead of aspiring to know these people on a deeply personal level be content with living at arms length.
The trick is determining who goes into which group and why.
It may seem obvious, but my husband, daughter, friends and co-workers belong in the first tribe. I spend most of my time with these folks. More important, I have committed to making these relationships work. If I do my core relationships right, my peeps and I will blossom over time.
Vendors, past customers, clients and collaborators go in tribe two. I nurture these relations as best I can but I don't expect big ROI from these connections. I spend the minority of my time with these folks. Sometimes (though rarely) someone moves from tribe two to tribe one.
The PAIN of technology is that it has made us more scattered. I am easily lost in a swirl of insignificant communication.
Don't let this happen to you. Put your most important relationships first. Choose your tribes wisely and allocate the majority of your time and attention to the most important people in your life. Then let go of the guilt that says you're not doing enough.