Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Mark Zuckerberg is a smart man with great influence. Need proof? He singlehandedly redefined the word "Friend"!
The word "friend" was one of those words that didn't need to be defined. We all have a personal and intimate understanding of what that word means to us, and this was enough. We were happy in life with our 2, 8, 10, sometimes more friends that hovered around our personal circles and provided us the tribal support that our village needed.
Along comes social media and Facebook and allows people to "make friends" with the click of a button, and often times sight unseen. As expected in an instant gratification process the devil is in the details. By numbers we could boast that we now had 20, 80, 100 and usually more "friends" but our elevated view would expose that this large group had redefined that word and wasn't playing by our own personal rules of friendship.
Can these "friends" give you a couch to crash on for the night, pick you up at the bar if you had too much to drink or attend your wedding? Probably not. As a matter of fact, raise your hands if you are one of those people who see your Facebook Friends out in public (pre COVID-19) and you turn on your heel in the opposite direction because you have nothing to talk about?
Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook did not violate any rules and in no way tarnished the sanctity of friendship, he merely provided a different, a digital, perspective. With a shift in perspective can come the opportunity for great oversight. The rules of friendship have not changed and the successful people and companies playing in the social space understand this and act accordingly.
When you get a new "friend" or follower on Facebook, here is what you should do:
Click on their profile and do a quick study of who this person is.
Send them a personal private message thanking them for the follow and point out something that you learned from their profile that applies to both of you. (no canned replies)
Interact with them every time they come out of the shadows and comment on your content and tag them (@JohnDoe) if the comment reply doesn't auto populate the tag.
Mentally log this persons demographics and look for trends in an increasing audience.
When we back up and stop swimming in the fast currents of the digital landscape, take a moment to look at the foundation of what is happening and remind ourselves of some of the basic rules of connection, happiness and morals we find ourselves on a path to #GenuineConnections and this path is the way forward in business as well as life.