This is one of those posts that, if I could send it to my younger self, could have changed my life.
We’re going to deal with two related and yet entirely separate issues, but at the same time: judgment and rush to judgment.
Humans seem to have an innate need to form opinions and judgments. Do you agree with that statement? Do you see how quickly you form an opinion? Because almost inevitably, you immediately had a response to my question about agreement.
That’s not necessarily a problem. The problem for communication comes in because a judgment can get in the way of hearing.
It seems built into our biology that we are tribal creatures. Much of what passes for racism or nationalism or sports rivalries are simply specific applications of this human tendency: I prefer members of my own tribe over those of any other. Continue reading
Obviously, spinning words together (in writing or out loud) takes time, but effective communication takes more time than the time it takes to craft words. Sometimes, the best communication time involves no words.
Diana Huff points out the obvious, which is often anything but: relationships are crucial in most areas of human endeavor, and yet hard to measure. Her post, “Social Media: Don’t Expect a Marriage Proposal on the First Date,” uses as an example a contact she developed (and that’s really too strong a word, since it implies a conscious agenda) over a period of years in the old-fashioned face-to-face days. She says:
If I had asked [my contact] if she was going to send me work while sitting at that BMA dinner meeting, do you think she would have hired me a year later? Hell no!
It’s the same for social media. You can’t expect people to send you “juicy fat contracts” simply because they’re following you on Twitter.
And yet that’s exactly what many observers of current social media seem to expect, saying implicitly or explicitly that Twitter is a waste of time unless you can track an almost immediate return on investment.
When you’re planting corn, you can tell how much of it came up in a given year. When you are cultivating a forest, you can’t tell the effects of your efforts for a long time, and even when you can see them, you likely will have no idea which seed led ultimately to which trees. As the old saying goes, you can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.
My take? Whether through Twitter and Facebook, or the old fashioned way of simply being interested in people, cultivate your relationships–not just so you can make a buck, but so you can make a life. When you do, the bucks come much more easily, and much more enjoyably to boot.