Is it time to let go?
Like many people, I do my share of “socializing” on the usual portals currently in vogue.
(Not Tweeter, I find it to be a platform for broadcasting 140 character burps usually veiled as valid information. Just read the political entertainment section of the app’s one liners for confirmation. I know many will disagree, but this is my single-minded opinion.)
We seem to collect more and more connections to grow our “network” be it for potential business, we naively believe, or to extend our ring of friends.
But how valid is that illusion? I mean, I’ve seen some of my peers with 1,000 plus connections. Do you realistically contact, remember, and interact with that many friends?
The same applies to the current glut of LinkedIn connections. Like “friends” on Facebook, these have a dated shelf life, and although they probably were relevant at the time, it is doubtful they are of any help in your current search for the next big break in business.
Out with the Old in with the new!
Purging old contacts or “friends” is not an easy process and may be quite an emotional venture for some. Acquaintances we’ve made at that perfect job, you know, before it went “corporate”, are hard to “un-friend”. It is understandable that we create a certain affection and attachment to old memories, but unfortunately without a realistic or pragmatic business purpose.
A good rule of thumb it seems, is the three to five-year rule. If you haven’t had any type of contact for that long it may be best to move on. Much like collecting business cards. They too collect social space and are usually out of date within the second year.
Amassing hundreds of contacts can also attract unsolicited contact requests from naïve or unscrupulous prowlers usually in the hopes of targeting your business contacts. As they say, “Nothing good will come of this.”
There is an interesting list by Lavie Margolin (Yes, he is on LinkedIn). In his book The LinkedIn Butterfly Effect Margolin outlines some of the reasons to get out the digital broom and clean out your contact closet. And interesting read and filled with useful advice. Here’s a sample of Margolin’s list:
“1. You have no idea who the person is. Perhaps you exchanged emails three years ago but have had no further contact?
2. You know who the person is but would not be comfortable reaching out to your contacts on his or her behalf.
3. Your contact does not remember you.
4. Your contact would not be comfortable reaching out to his or her contacts on your behalf.
5. You’ve asked for your contact’s help and he or she has never responded.
6. You’ve suggested ways to help your contact and he or she has never responded.”
So? Is it time to go through and do some contact cleaning? Perhaps now may be the time to take another look through your contact list.