We should never pity the person with one true friend; instead our sympathies should be reserved for the person with a hundred acquaintances. After all, quality is often preferable to quantity especially in relationships.
We all know that person who walks into the room amid a flurry of handshakes, waves and smiles. The person who seems to know everyone's name and whose name is known by everyone. To all appearances, these individuals' popularity may seem enviable but closer observation often elucidates the insincere nature of the connection.
How many times has an acquaintance stood by you at the funeral of your loved one? How many times has an acquaintance spoke in your defense? How many times do you call an acquaintance when you feel alone, sad or in trouble? It is a friend who stands by you, speaks up for you and listens. And it only takes one friend when a hundred acquaintances won't do.
The creation and preservation of a real and lasting relationship is determined by one's intentions, effort and sincerity. You must first decide what is important to you. And if it is the cultivation of true friends then you must make the effort by being sincere, honest and giving of yourself.
This is an equation, which is relevant to forming meaningful relationships not only in the real world but also in the world of social media. I am not asserting that social media is a forum to find best friends, rather I am making an analogous comparison to show that genuineness is necessary to the development of any worthwhile relationship.
There are those in social media who simply want to game the system. These are the individuals who use tips and tricks to gain the most followers, attain the most likes, and attract the most people. The reasoning may be marketing and exposure, which makes sense but it is often a case of collecting people like game chips instead of cultivating relationships.
And when you treat social media like a game, what do you gain? All those "followers" just as quickly stop following you. Those who "like" your page never look at it. And how many of your followers are actually listening to what your saying? How many have actually bought your book, read your book, and/or become a true fan? Often, many are screaming as loud or louder about their book, product, or blog. And then, sadly, no one is heard.
If someone follows you on Twitter, do you try to connect with them or do you push your product? Again, question your intentions. Is it to develop connections and affiliate with those of like interests for the mutual benefit of both parties or is it to have a certain number on your screen? If you want more than the number then you have to make the effort with sincerity. Ask about someone else's project. Read someone else's blog. Be interested in someone else. And then the right people will be interested in you and those are the people who will listen. Those are the people who will read your book, promote your blog and help you as you help them.
So remember that in the world of social media just like that of the real world, gaming isn't gaining because numbers, no matter how large, will never reflect the integrity, value and importance of a true and lasting relationship forged from willingness, effort and honesty.
Causes Sherry Parnell Supports
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International