Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Guilt Free Cruise on the Social Network Stream

Yesterday I spent a full day at the O'Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York listening, learning, and talking about social networks and communities. I wrapped up a long day talking with Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson and Mark Kuyper president of the ECPA organization. Michael is an accomplished blogger and twitter person (tweep? twitterer? I can never get that right) and we were probing him to learn how he could possibly keep up with running a large company, sending tweets and writing blog posts. His response was simply that he gets to the social community stuff in his small windows of downtime. Sounds so simple, but there is a unspoken discipline there that drives him. Chris Brogan in his talk yesterday mentioned that Michael's approach to Twitter is not 'what are you doing', but more importantly 'what has my attention'. That is a great line and cements the purpose of that particular platform.

I have tremendous respect for Mark, and simply enjoy talking with him, and we got onto the subject of his involvement with social communities and tools. He had commented that he had to swim through 1400 emails that day (that is harsh). Mark has recently joined facebook but is conflicted by the desire to be on twitter. He is concerned about making the committment to the platform and adding yet another baby to feed.

That got me thinking about my own involvement with these communities and I commented that, without really knowing, I did not twitter or facebook from Tuesday to Sunday last week. I was simply swamped and if I had the moments, I didn't have the mental energy to contribute to the cause. It struck me that my unplanned approach to social networks has been guilt free, and that we should not consider these committments in the same cateory of emails and phone calls where people are specifically reaching out to you. I likened it to a constantly flowing stream, where we can dip in and take some out when we have a moment, or add some into the stream when we have something to say. But, honestly, the stream keeps flowing wether we are engaged or not, and if we are not engaged for a little while, for whatever reason, then that's ok.

So, if you are one of the ten people that read this blog, and you miss this post, be assured that it is ok with me. Consider this a guilt-free exemption.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go twitter about this new blog post.