I received a call from a real world friend the other day (hence forth “Friend”) and the conversation went as follows (cutting out the general chit-chat to save you all from falling asleep at your desks or driving your cars – which, by the way, you really shouldn’t be reading this while driving, but I know how it goes).
Friend: So I have this new prospect, ABC Corporation, and I’m up against some tough competition.
Peter: I feel for you. There’s a lot of that going around these days.
Friend: Yeah [nervous laugh] but you can help here.
Peter: Sure, I would love to help. What do you need?
Friend: I’m wondering if you could provide an introduction for me.
Peter: Uhhh… what now? You want me to introduce you to your own prospect?
Friend: [more nervous laughter] Oh yeah – I was checking them out on LinkedIn and you know their VP of Finance, Anne Accountant.
Peter: [pulling up LinkedIn] You’re out of your mind, I don’t know anyone named … son of a … yeah … I guess I do know her.
Friend: Cool! Can you provide an introduction? We could use the help to seal the deal.
[awkward pause as I'm clicking around furiously]
Peter: Oh man… I know Anne probably as well as you do. She connected with me a while back as a friend of a friend of a friend situation. I can start reaching out but it’s going to take a while. Let me see what I can do.
This exchange got me thinking about the role of social networks in our lives. Each and every week, most of us are acquiring additional connections on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and it bears asking “where does it end”?
A typical situation: your world collides with John Doe on one of the networks – maybe an interesting post or exchange or a comment on a mutual friend’s photo, whatever – and you connect. John and you may never speak again. Sure, you see each other’s posts on occasion but there is no real interaction, no real connection.
Are you and John friends? No, not really “friends” friends … although you may be “Friends” with the capital “F” on the network. And if I ask you how you know John, *you* will most likely be the one nervously laughing and come back with a “no idea”. In the meantime, your real friends, the one with the small “f”, will be buried in your Facebook timelines, Twitter streams, LinkedIn streams, etc.
So what’s the answer here? Where does it end? I don’t have the answer but while we’re thinking about it, please feel free to connect with me at:
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