Twitter, The Follow, The Agenda

I’ve become a fan of TweetDeck as I try to organize my tweets and social media interactions. Someone observed that I had non-business related groups, such as music, food and wine, inspirational, green or eco-friendly. “Why,” they asked, “do they follow you and you follow them when you’re not going to get business from these people?”

My perspective on Twitter, and more generally with networking whether in person or through social media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, is that they are effective vehicles to build relationships, which means you take an interest in people and learn more about them and their world. My hope is that someday I can help these people even in some small way.

But the question really made me think of agendas. Some people are frankly too purpose-driven (to use an overused and often misrepresented term these days). They need to see people and their relationships with them in terms of what they can get from them.

So, for example, Opus Partners’ focus is on sales consulting, business growth and sales on-boarding. Based on that, some might say, my contacts and relational universe should consist of people in sales and marketing and vertical industries in which our company tends to specialize.

But some of my most interesting contacts and connections are from groups or organizations in which I participate for pure pleasure. We strike up conversations that often delve into matters both business and personal. These are the people who end up being supporters, cheerleaders when the going gets tough and just good to know. And they have often brought unexpected surprises—leads, business and additional valuable connections.

I usually assert that I don’t have an agenda, though perhaps I should more accurately say that my agenda is to help an organization or company while putting my own personal interests aside. That’s why my network consists of people from diverse backgrounds and industries.

In the end, I recommend you follow the people you like, think you would like and want to know better. Forget the agenda. Go ahead, accept the invitation to connect, friend and follow (assuming you know the person or they come highly recommended from a trusted source). And remember to reciprocate. No agenda. The results may surprise you.

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