As some of you may have heard, I had a rather up close and personal encounter with vertigo this week. It is hard to describe that sensation if you’ve never had it – walking across a floor that you feel is slanting towards the side is only fun at an amusement park. However, at moments when my sinuses and inner ear are behaving themselves, I have a new and greater appreciation for something very simple – walking around without feeling dizzy.
Balance is something we take for granted in our everyday lives, but in the online world, balance is something we are always striving for. At a recent #tweetdiner chat about getting started on Twitter, the word balance came up a lot, not as something that is enjoyed but rather as something that is greatly desired. This is an important point for online engagement, so I thought we could talk today a bit about the different kinds of balance one can strive for on social media platforms. Ready?
Balance Followers and People You Follow: This is something Twitter will “help” you with, as in, if you follow too many people without people following you back, you aren’t able to follow more people. How can you avoid that kind of problem? Everyone seems to find their own way around that problem. From the time I first started tweeting, I have always hand-picked (manually) people I follow or follow back. This helps me make sure I’m not following back a lot of spam bots, and it also helps me know that the people I’m seeing in my Twitter stream are people I thought I’d take a chance on for some reason.
Balance in this regard means something different to everyone too, it seems. Balance for some people means following very few people and being very choosy about those few you do follow. For other folks, balance is letting an automated program control everything for you. What is your follower/follow balance?
Balance your time: This is something you hear about a lot in the online world. On which platform should you spend the most time? Should you spend more time reading, writing, or commenting? Is LinkedIn more important than Twitter? And what about that whole “rest of your life” thing?
Balance your attention: One of the biggest fears that comes up when people talk about online engagement is, “What if I lose touch with the people I really care about?” Scaling online is a huge issue, as a visit to any blog site or Twitter account will likely tell you. You can lose your balance just by talking to the same people over and over again, but you can also lose your balance by talking only to brand new people. How can you make sure that you keep in touch with your friends while also incorporating new people? How can you make sure you don’t become a hermit or a clique-maker?
Balance your reactions: This can be very hard to do online. With the pressure on to react lickety split, we sometimes put a reaction out there that we wish we could pull back right away. People will seldom see your tweet or your blog post in the full context that exists between your own two ears. That means if you are jubilant or full of angst, people won’t necessarily be able to take the full ride with you. Balance is the name of the game, not just to preserve your online reputation but also to invite others to engage with you.
How does balance play into your online existence? What advice do you have to offer on keeping things balanced as you sit in front of that computer screen (or iPad screen…or whatever else you might use)? I’d love to talk to you about it!
This is post #78 in the Engagement Series. Please feel free to hit subscribe, because if everyone does, I can stop asking! 🙂
Image by michael lorenzo. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nazreth