When I was a kid, my parents frequently reminded me that if I could count the number of good friends I had on one hand, I was lucky. They stressed the value in maintaining strong, close, personal relationships with a select few individuals rather than trying to be friends with everyone. Additionally, there was a continued reminder that there is a big difference between friends and acquaintances.
I have 3 friends, 3 real friends. Beyond that, I have a ridiculous amount of acquaintances. Hell, on Facebook alone I have over 100. I enjoy getting messages in my Facebook inbox, seeing responses to my tweets, and reading responses to my blog posts. However, when it comes to real quality conversation I turn to my friends. They listen better. They offer better feedback. They already know me. It’s a better conversation.
Ok, so what does have to with anything relevant to you? Think about the blogs you read, the people you follow on Twitter, and of course the people updates of your “friends” on Facebook. How much of that information is actually useful, interesting, and worth checking out in detail? 5%? 10%? 15%? I’ll be you it’s small. I’ll be generous, let’s call it 30%. Even at the number, 70% of the information you are subjected to is useless. That’s a lot of noise, don’t you think?
This is really similar to the number of ads consumers are subjected to on a daily basis. They come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands of ads a day. I’ll guarantee you that less than 30% of those ads are useful, interesting, and worth checking out in detail. We purchase gadgets like Tivo and switch to things like satellite radio so that we can avoid the noise. So that we can avoid the 70%.
Why then do we seek out noise online? Is it for pride? Do we feel better about ourselves because have 500+ connections on LinkedIn? What value is there in those connections if 459 aren’t useful?
I’m a sponge and I encourage you to be a sponge and soak up the knowledge online. However, with the number of hours in a day fixed at 24 I seek ways to simplify and streamline the information I’m absorbing. Starting this week, I’m going to be even more selective in:
- Who I accept connection from on LinkedIn
- The friends I accept on Facebook
- The blogs I read
- The people I follow on twitter