Friendiligence is one of those Internet buzzwords up for consideration to be added to the upcoming edition of the Merriman Webster Dictionary. Google it. It loosely means the time and energy used to establish and maintain friends and friend requests mainly on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. As an author trying to navigate the vastness of the World Wide Web in order to market and promote my book, friendiligence most surely is an action verb.
It is the type of action that can take the man hours of two full time jobs to complete effectively.
I must admit I haven’t been a very good friend this year, virtual or otherwise, being reprimanded by my oldest and dearest buddy for being aloof and insensitive because I told her about my mom’s surgery in a blanket Reply-All email. I’ve even been guilty of sending condolences in a text message, albeit, a sincere and well written text message. I had to check myself on that one. I would have pressed less characters dialing the ten digit number, speaking the sentiment to a live person and would have registered more sincerity points. I told myself that I can’t be that busy.
Bottom line, the people we interface with everyday in person and those we connect with through the Internet want to be treated like real friends, not spam. It takes due diligence to establish and maintain those connections. As an educator and citizen of the world I’m keenly aware that social skills and a certain amount of tooting your own horn (self-marketing and promotion) is the new literacy. Making connections with people is and will always be the most important skill set for every career path.
My pastor quoted last week that theoretically your less than five people away from getting in contact with anyone. Like six degrees of separation. I contemplated the probability of getting my next novel, The Manual to Oprah’s producers as soon as I get it in galley form. Now, we are talking about people that on any giving day are in between attitude adjustments, reality checks and lattes. There are a lot of variables to take into consideration, but I think we’ve all witnessed a miracle in our own lives when everything aligns, you make that nearly impossible connection and doors open. Even if it only happens about as frequently as a total eclipse.
So there is something to this friendiligence thing. Verizon wireless says your service is only as good as the network your on. I think the key to success is rooted in what you already know about establishing good friendships. You learned it from Grandma. I have compiled a few do’s and don’ts to help you beef up your network.
Choose your friends wisely. Momma didn’t let you just play with anyone. Many of us join these social networks to help build a brand or image. We shop through graphics, 20create slideshows and pimp our profiles to coincide with that image. You can’t accept everyone’s friend request. Do a little investigation to see if the potential friend meshes with your brand, image and values.
Check in. What’s the matter? Did your fingers fall off? You can’t call, email of text a person? I was that person that used my email inbox as a caller id of sorts. I would see that some left me a message on My Space and think to myself, “That’s nice.” Or, screen my messages to see who I wanted to reply to. I figured out that it won’t shave time off my life to comment to a blog post about a new pet or to send out a birthday greetings. Remember it’s about connection. Relationships are reciprocal. I wouldn’t want to be guilty of calling on my friends only when I need something.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Before you capture gazillion friends or even capture that ma ny email address and inundate them with comments, bulletins and messages like a telemarketer, think about it. Do you like it when you return to your page and find a bulletin the size of Mt. Rushmore on your space (My Space). Similarly, you want other people to get a word in on your wall (Facebook) in between the continuous post of an overzealous cyberfriend. Less is more. Work on a brief constructive response.
Ask for help I admitted my weakness. Friendiligence was kickin’ my butt. A good friend of mine, Ella Curry, internet publicist, and founder and Host of the Black Author’s Network radio show sent me an email this summer that gave me an epiphany. It said that she had some assistants answering her accounts and that she was away from her business for a time and estimated the time she would get back to me. I appreciated the time line. At least I didn’t feel like I was being ignored. I found out later that she had hired some tech savvy teens in her family to help her keep up with emails and requests on her My Space account. I got to thinking about how empowering this was for a young person to be outsourced for certain administrative duties. This wasn’t your typical paper route and lemonade stand gig.
Friendiligence, write it three times and use it in a sentence. I’m sorry, that’s the teacher in me. Social networking sites are not an accidental phenomenon. People are making the necessary contacts to get discovered, to gain exposure, and to stay connected. Friendiligence is not something you can just talk about. You have to be about it.
Sherryle Kiser Jackson is a fresh voice in Christian fiction. Her style reflects an honest commentary on her life with Christ. Soon and Very Soon is her debut novel. She anxiously awaits the publication of her second novel, The Manual, October of this year. Experience her too real to be preachy, Biblically based, out-the-Christian-box fiction at www.sherrylejackson.com or on MySpace/sherrylejackson.
Sherryle Jackson, Author of Soon and Very Soon
Soon is not just a promised destination, but a journey