In this social media world of ours, we have every opportunity imaginable to build a stronger network. Through blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other similar sites (including forums on industry sites, such as one I frequent), our connectibility outnumbers even the imagination.
But how do you make the most of it? How can you ensure that you are embracing your supporters, or the people who could be your supporters when you need the help?
Here's a quick to-do list:
PAY IT FORWARD
Do what Jen Singer did for me and a few other blogging friends today. She linked my blog to hers, with a very nice description I might add. So do the same. Add links whenever you can. Post them on your blogs, on your "tweets," on your Facebook page. Include them in your e-mails. Pass the word around about the people you meet in your online social network who are doing great things, inspiring others, or making people laugh. Spread the word. They'll spread it back. Your social media metwork should definitely be a Pay it Forward place to be. And you have a role in making it so.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Visit your friends' and colleagues' spaces online--and post comments. Engage in the dialogue, add to it, encourage others to comment after you.
ACT LIKE A LEMMING
Take part in Twitter's back and forth #followfriday exercise. Every Friday, if you're on Twitter, you have an opportunity to post the names/avatars of people you think make interesting "follows." These could be your friends, people who post funny thoughts, people who share inspiring messages, people who have interesting things to say. If they are worth it for you to follow them, then maybe others will think likewise. So share the names and help expand someone else's territory. And when someone recommends someone for you to follow, check 'em out. If they fit your interests, then follow them, too.
Offer a thank-you when someone does any of this for you. It's common courtesy. Besides, you don't want to take this stuff for granted. It takes a lot of time and effort to grow an online presence, let alone the network. So it behooves anyone involved to be thankful for the process.
If you have any suggestions to add, please post a comment. We can all learn from eachother.