I’m torn when it comes to accepting followers on social media!

LinkedIn Invite

Now having over 7 years experience with social media, I’m beginning to become torn when it comes to accepting followers on social media.  Starting out in the early days with Twitter and Facebook, I took more of an open networking approach.  If you asked to connect, I would connect.  I always felt that it wasn’t mine to judge the reasoning behind someone’s desire to connect and viewed a new connection as broadening my influence to serve people.

When it comes to my following people, I personally would follow folks whom I had interest in their content.  Twitter, LinkedIn, G+ were more so “business” related where as Facebook and Instagram were typically more “personal” related.  Primarily with Twitter, but with others along the way, as a courtesy to my followers I would follow them back.  As a result, I began to experience overload on my feeds for which Twitter (and others) started to become much less effective and utilized by me.  Further complicating things more recently have been all the “sponsored ads” which are now appearing across my social media feeds.

Given all of this, LinkedIn was always my fall back and a personal favorite.  For me, much of my presence on social media has a business and ministry context.  Thus, when it comes to business networking, LinkedIn had always been at the top of my list.  It is the only social media page set-up to appear as one of my tabs when opening my browser.  Having about 1500 connections in the early days, I was normally on LinkedIn enough to keep a general pulse on many of my connections.  It was kinda my way of getting to know someone.  For a period of time, I even paid for a premium account which allowed me additional insights on my connections and their communities.

Then, about 1 1/2 years to 2 years ago, it all started to change for me.  It seemed that everyone was starting to migrate to LinkedIn and use it as an all out marketing tool.  I began to receive direct messages from people whom were using automated software to message LinkedIn connections.  Next thing you know everyone’s writing a book or holding a seminar on the latest and greatest techniques to grow your business on LinkedIn.  Now, don’t get me wrong, some of these authors are friends whom have some wonderful insights on how to best use LinkedIn to grow your business; however, many jumping on the bandwagon are tending to become obnoxious with their marketing approaches.  As I sit here writing this blog today, I’ve already been asked to connect multiple times by people who once I connect will direct message me with their “pitch”.  If you’re reading this blog post, I’m sure you can relate to my bit of frustration and dilemma.

Recently, I had a purge of my followers on a few social media sites.  For example, I went through on Twitter and backed down to only about 300 people I was personally following.  These 300 were close friends, thought leaders, or community feeds that I desired to follow routinely on my feed.  It was an incredibly freeing experience as I saw my Twitter feed going from updates nearly every second to now sometimes 10-15 minutes or more between feeds.  If I un-followed you and you’re disappointed, don’t hesitate to message me as I went through the list pretty quickly and may have mistakenly taken you off the list.

As a side, I’d offer that with this post I’m attempting to not be hypocritical.  I am the first to acknowledge, I blast blog post and other media across all of my social media feeds an average of 3-5 times per week.  Additionally, I have newsletter lists where I push out blog post as well as, occasionally, other marketing media.  Thus, I’m also trying to evaluate the value of what I am putting out there and completely understand when people unsubscribe from my list or feeds.  Candidly, if you’re not receiving value, that’s great feedback in itself.

So, what do I do moving forward with accepting new followers?  Where I once would connect with everyone, I’m leaning toward shifting to the other extreme.  Yes, I’m tempted to “purge” all my social media accounts, including LinkedIn, much like I did on Twitter and only connect with newcomers whom I see a sincere desire to serve one another.   Yet, the dilemma that now places me is to “judge” whether or not our connection is going to have value or not which goes against my general nature.  Thus, can you see how I’m “torn”!

Can you help?  What about you?  How are you dealing with this dilemma?  Please comment below so that other readers can benefit from your words of wisdom.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 NIV  

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