Dear Old People:
Blogher - Here I Come!

Cautious Friending

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

Missingpiece A while back I joined an organization that I believed in whole-heartedly. I liked their ideals, mission and leadership. When I met people whom I thought were a fit, I would let them know about the organization and gave them my personal guarantee that they would enjoy themselves and learn a lot in the process.

Recently, that same organization created a special program to which I invited a dear friend - actually, I insisted that he attend so that he could experience what I had experienced.

The time spent was great, but not remarkable. Something was off...and halfway through the program, we both realized what it was. It was the person they hired to lead the program. He was hard to follow, confusing and in general didn't "fit" with the flavor of this organization that I had come to appreciate. I was duly embarrassed.

Here I had insisted that my friend attend this event with me and it turned out to be almost a total bust. Wow.

Now, I still like the organization, but I'm less engaged and less likely to refer people to them. I'm also less inclined to attend events myself. A big shift.

So, what the heck does any of this have to do with social media?

It has to do with the people with whom you connect, the people whom you allow to comment on your blog, the people whom you retweet on Twitter.

I'm sure you take take and care in building your brand. You make sure your company uses the right colors in your logo, oozes sure-fire customer service and gives off exactly the right "vibe". As a result, your market loves the feeling they get when they read blog and they genuinely care about what you have to say. So much so, they tell other people!

All of this can be undone in an instant if you allow spam comments to pile up on your blog or if you retweet or "friend" the wrong person - someone who writes or spreads objectionable content. Some people have a policy of "friending" anyone who sends them a request. Be careful of this.

If you've taken my advice about managing your time with social media, you'll have time set aside to review profiles of people who want to connect with you to make sure they're not social polluters. (And, if you have an assistant, they can do this for you).

Bottomline: Don't be lazy, do whatever it takes to preserve your positive brand experience by making sure you connect with the right people.


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Lena L. West


Yes, it's really important to be diligent and attentive to your social media efforts. It's not enough to just create good content.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Smokie Sizemore

I agree with you on monitoring comments, "friends", and retweets. A political comment came on the Facebook page that was totally not what we're about. Thank heavens for the remove button. What takes a long time and careful thought to build can be dashed too quickly when you're not looking. What you monitor and measure you can control. Brands are so precious, valuable and worth the time to protect.

Lena West

@Allison: Yes, it's so true. People don't like to believe that people subscribe to the "birds of a feather" mentality, but they do. It only takes a moment to feel someone out to determine if they "fit" with your brand and if you really want to connect with them.

@Yvonne: I disagree, it's not hard to know who the "right" people are. You know right away if someone's Twitter profile is objectionable. You know immediately (in a few clicks), if people post inappropriate pictures of themselves on Facebook. I think the problem with social media is that people think there's some "black box" theory about whom to connect with and whom to ignore and there isn't. Most people have good sense, they just don't want to offend or make someone angry with them. Our instincts are NEVER wrong, we misinterpret them.

As for the speaker, they knew who he was, but had never allowed him to present in the capacity that he was presenting in. They took for granted that he could perform and things went left -- as they tend to do when people take things for granted.

I don't think I mentioned anything about "elite", so I'm not sure what you mean. My point is that we need to be sure that we avoid connecting with people who post material that we think is objectionable or material that our followers/market feels might be objectionable - whether they are considered "elite" or not.

Thanks to you both for reading and commenting,



This is excellent advice! You have to be cautious when examining one's relationship. This applies to both business and personal relationships.


Yvonne DiVita

Sometimes it's hard to know who the 'right' people are, Lena. We connect with someone, it feels right, and later on - our instincts prove wrong.

I wonder if, in this instance, those who brought in the less than stellar speaker actually checked on his status as a speaker? We sometimes believe the hype online or in a bio, and...get burned.

You are, of course, very right - that we are known by the company we keep. I don't think it means only hanging out with the "elite"... I think it means connecting and building relationships with people who are of like-minded personalities.

And, knowing when to pull away from those who are not.

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