twinkie

Building versus pruning your digital contacts

January 4, 2012
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twinkie Building versus pruning your digital contacts

To Twinkie or Not To Twinkie?

There’s two schools of thought on maintaining your contacts online.

1. The more digital friends and followers you have, the better. Throw enough crap opportunity on the wall and some will stick. It’s a numbers game baby. (I lean in this direction, using Lists. I explain why below.)

2. Like what Twinkies are to nutrition, having hundreds or even thousands of digital friends and followers is a time sucking vortex of noise, empty calories and insincerity. It’s about real relationships, my friend.

Which approach will work best for you and your business?

To Twinkie or Not To Twinkie?

The Anti-Twinkie Approach May Feel Good, But Is It Good For You?

When we burden our social circles with dozens, hundreds and even thousands of empty calories semi-friends, strangers and quasi-strangers, the noise value and quality of our important real relationships sorta diminishes in inverse proportion to the head count.

How does one restore real relationships, save time, have fun and add value?  The answer is duh-simple but not easy.

Prune the hell out of your social circles.  Lose the loosely or unconnected connections.  Also we can all use “Lists” to help us lovefest focus.



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(FYI, this post was inspired by Chris Smith’s recent blog post on the subject, I Started 2012 By Digitally Pruning (You Certainly Should Do The Same).  Read it and come back (please).)

The diminishing returns of a Twinkie Approach is also supported by the Dunbar Number.  In 1992 British anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized that the cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationship with is 150 people.  Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the Dunbar Number.

“this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.”

I  was totally onboard with what Chris, Dunbar and other supremely respected Alphas evangelize – Quality Over Quantity.  It’ makes perfect sense and feels right.  I quit eating Twinkies a long, long time ago (When’s the last time you had one?).  That is, I was onboard until 5:45am this morning.  Now I’m in a quandary. Read on and let me know what you will do.

Here’s the quandary, what if we’re analyzing and implementing strategy based on today’s-logic and known human limitations, instead of technological innovations – know and unknown?

The Semantic-Social-Search Black Swan Surprise

Over estimating what we know and under estimating what we don’t know is a human condition and fertile soil for surprise.  And opportunity.

This bombshell surprise paragraph is from an article titled, Google Gets 200+ IBM Patents, Including One for a ‘Semantic Social Network’

“For example, you may want to find someone knowledgeable about real estate in a specific neighborhood to ask for buying advice. But the right person may not list that as an “interest,” so you may not be able to easily find them in your expanded network (which includes friends of friends). A semantic network would find the right person to talk to by analyzing which people in your network post content having to do with the specific topic, and how much time others spend reading it.”

Yeah. Reread the article.

Do you suppose Semantic-Social-Search is valuable to Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al?  I bet it’s hugely valuable, therefore inevitable. When, not if Semantic Social Search becomes a reality, which school of thought will rule the day?

For real estate agents, will it be better to have as many friends and followers (and friends of friends) as possible, enhancing your chances opportunities (assuming you’re the right person for the job) to be discovered and hired?  Will friends and followers be the new Social SEO?  Will a Twinkie turn into a Success Super Food?

Or, will a tightly woven clan of rich and real relationships be the winning formula for success, health and happiness?

What Next?

I’m going to grow the size of my tribes.  Unless they’re a dumb ass spammer, I’m going to keep my social-boarders open and inclusive.  To ear muff the drone and noise of semi-strangers and to enjoy and nurture my real, important and valuable relationships I’ll use the List feature.

And of course, because the future is unknown, I’ll keep my mind open, learn and adapt from following Chris Smith, AG Beat and other Alphas.

What will you do?

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.


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  • http://www.AgentKnowHow.com Lynda White

    Well, Ken, I did prune my Twitter list at the suggestion of Chris Smith last week. I thought it was a good idea because I was getting a lot more noise than real conversations.

    Imagine my surprise when I went through 1,021 connections individually and could only pare them down to 950! Now I've added you for 951! Keepers: anyone in real estate, anyone local, anyone who inspired me, and anyone in my business coop group. Dropped: link spammers and annoying, negative people.

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