Social Networking is a little like Baseball

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You’ve decided to take the plunge, to give social networking the old college try.

Still from video of controversial Infield Fly Rule call in Braves-Cards game of October 5, 2012

Still from video of controversial Infield Fly Rule call in Braves-Cards game of October 5, 2012

You’ve known for months (or years) that you should take this plunge. But you’ve always been too busy; you never felt the time was right. What you “knew” and what you “felt” never meshed until now.

What’s different? What made you ready?

Maybe you just attended a conference at which every presenter urged you to do all the things your own Web guy (or spouse or best friend or most valued customer) has been urging you to do for months (or years).

Maybe a client just asked why your Facebook Page looks as if it’s in foreclosure.

Maybe the number of LinkedIn connection requests you’ve been ignoring just hit the tipping point.

It doesn’t really matter why you’ve suddenly made the commitment to make social networks work for you. What matters is that you made it.

Now, of course, you want it all, and you want it now.

If this sounds like you, I have one word of advice:

Patience.

Mastering social networking isn’t rocket surgery. But there are complexities.

Have you ever tried to explain baseball (replace with hockey / football / soccer / tennis / cricket / golf / etc. as appropriate) to someone with little or no prior understanding of how the game is played? If so, you know how hard it is to explain, say, the Infield Fly Rule to someone who doesn’t yet understand the concept of out and its role in defining an inning. All of baseball’s special rules and nuances that you’ve come to absorb and accept — the neighborhood play, the balk, the result of bunting foul on two strikes — are mind-numbing to the uninitiated.

Social networking is a little like baseball.

Take Twitter for example.

Until you spend more than a little time consuming Twitter content (following people, reading tweets, drilling down to view conversations, and so on), your effectiveness as a Twitizen will be limited.

In particular, it’s likely you won’t know how to use mentions effectively. And the mentions feature is one of the two primary ways (retweets being the other) of fostering interaction on Twitter.

Sure, you can read the official Twitter Help article on mentions.

But I’ll bet dollars to donuts you won’t really understand Twitter mentions until you’ve spent time consuming Twitter. I know I didn’t.

So go ahead and take the plunge. But be prepared to tread water for a while.

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About JeffCohan.com

The nSiteful Tech Blog (the official blog of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. since January of 2013) is where I (Jeff Cohan) and (occasionally) associates will be posting articles of potential interest to like-minded techies, nSiteful clients who are playing active roles in the maintenance of their own Web sites and blogs, and pretty much anyone interested in how Web strategies and tools can help them reach their goals.

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About Jeff Cohan

Jeff and his wife, Margie, are the proud parents of Sarah and Jake. Jeff is the founder, president and chief cook and bottle washer of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc., a Web development and Internet Consulting firm. In his spare time, Jeff builds Web sites and Web applications, plays guitar, putters around in his basement woodworking shop, mercilessly spoils his grandchildren, and creates videos from more than two decades of home movies. His current video project is an extended montage of people (mainly family members) asking him to stop filming them.

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