Do You Have a Big, Empty Network?
First, a definition: “Netsuckers” are people who consume others by voraciously extracting everything they possibly can from them without giving anything in return.
Interestingly enough, Netsuckers usually know a lot of people. They’ve managed to corner almost all of them at some point in time. They probably have a good sized network, lots of connections and friends (online at least).
But who is really in that network? People who politely agreed to connect online (it is hard to say no to that, isn’t it?).
Will those connections refer business, job opportunities, send links, reference Mr. Netsucker’s blog and RT his tweets? Will they want to introduce others to the Netsucker?
The ugly truth is that the Netsucker usually has a big, empty network. What good is a huge network of people who find you annoying or who barely remember who you are? Isn’t that a bit counterproductive? Ever go to a meeting and have someone whisper, “Avoid that guy. He’ll talk your ear off.”? Or have someone ask you how you know Bob Popsticker, and you barely even recognize the name much less how you met?
Many people are chasing huge networks right now. Instead of creating a huge network of people who don’t really know you (or who find you annoying), put your attention toward creating a network of people who will champion for you, vouch for you, promote you, etc. That is where the real power from having a network comes from.
If the people in your network aren’t doing those things for you (and vice versa!) they might as well not even be in your network. In fact, if they don’t or won’t speak highly of you, you want them OUT of your network.
When someone says, “So you know Susie?”, you do not want them shifting their eyes and hesitating awkwardly. Or worse, they respond with, “Yeah, I know her. She calls me every two months asking if we’re hiring. I saw her portfolio and I wasn’t impressed.”
These conversations happen all the time. If I vouch for someone who I know does shoddy work, I am going to look and feel like a moron – especially if the person I’m speaking to is a friend or someone I really respect. I end up sacrificing the trust of the relationship I want to maintain.
An empty network, no matter how big, will not serve you – or your connections – nearly as well as a small, powerful one where the individuals are actively championing and proudly promoting each other. Word of mouth or a personal recommendation is the best doorway you can get or give to another.
Don’t sacrifice a small, powerful network for a huge, empty one.
Ask yourself this – where are you putting all your energy? Are you building an empty network or a powerful one?