Friday, September 07, 2012

Relationship Symmetry

Relationship Symmetry:
  1. When you know each other's names
  2. When communications are equal in both directions.
  3. When messages are customized for the recipient's personality and situation
There was a time when I was Mr. Social Networking. I can only imagine that my Klout score must have been... "winning". I even went so far as to write this in response to all of the entitled ineffectual complaints I would hear from people who had contempt for the Twitter and Facebook culture.

My years of living on the social networks and maintaining virtual friendships have taken a toll on my ability to know the difference between a friend and a mutual rolodex entry. The result is the disturbing normalcy of asymmetrical interactions.

I have only recently become disturbed by the normalcy of this asymmetry.

One day, I woke up and realized that I am no longer "that guy who knows everybody".
I am no longer associated with a company or organization that warrants networking, nor can I help anybody get a job or speaking opportunity or move an audience in their direction. After my voluntary exit from my last fairly high profile employer, I have nothing to offer those in my networks other than a simple friendship.

Currently, I am at the bottom of my social networking value, and it is here that I am beginning to see the difference between being a connector node and being a person you are willing to carpool to the grocery store with.

The Bystander Effect is my enemy.

My new paradigm is a belief that...
Zero Communication is better than Weak (Broadcasted) Communication.
Focused (One-on-One) Communication is best of all.
  • No more talking or emailing people in "group mode" as opposed to "eye contact mode"
  • No more living my life as if the cameras are rolling on the social networks
  • Intentional focus on introspective verbs rather than outward-facing expressions of opinion and affiliation
I have spent a lot of energy outsourcing my identity to others. What others thought of me started out as a comfort that eventually became a debilitating expectation to keep me going. It is time for me to re-calibrate who I think I am when nobody is watching. And from there, I can repair not just my own self-image, but also my ability to regenerate and maintain the friendships I have neglected due to "automated maintenance through a virtual facade".

No more Bystander Effect.
This is where the REAL begins.