I read a quote in this article about Facebook Friend Collector’s being pretty normal, that really sums up the value in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook for me.
“You can ask somebody, ‘Of your 300 Facebook friends how many are actually friends?’ and people will say, ‘Oh, 30 or 40 or 50,'” Professor Baym said.
“But what having a lot of weak-tie relationships is giving you access to are a lot of resources that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”
One of the common “complaints” I hear about people who use social networking, from those who don’t, is that following, or friending, hundreds or thousands of people, doesn’t mean anything becase you couldn’t possibly “know” that many people. It’s not about knowing everything about people, it’s having access to them, and their ideas, even in a limited way.
I follow over 450 people on Twitter currently. There are only a handful that I follow closely enough to really consider them close friends. I assume over time that number will grow, as I meet up with new folks in person and develop relationships, but I can’t imagine it’ll ever be the majority of the people I follow. That doesn’t mean that those other connections don’t bring value. I’m following them precisely because they are people I want to be connected to, people in my field that I read and respect, people who are sharing useful tech information, or information on local events and news, etc. It’s connecting me to people I wouldn’t have any other way to connect to, and giving me opportunity to access more resources through those connections than I would have through any other medium.
Ain’t nothing wrong with that, it might even give your employees access to more resources that make them better at their job, imagine that!
Besides, a new study even shows that a little Facebooking at work might actually increase productivity, but that’s a discussion for another day.