It’s been a long time, since October of 2011 to be specific, since we brought this topic up.
With the impending long weekend, it seems like a good time to remind you that your network has a lot in common with the trees, plants and shrubs around your house.
Sometimes, you have to cut off the dead and diseased parts in order to keep it healthy…
Networks are like trees, folks. Sure, they’re nice to look at, provide shade during sunny days and help keep life on the planet by providing oxygen…but it’s not all fun and games. Trees can seriously wreak havoc on your life if you don’t pay attention to them properly. Left unattended to, they can grow into nearby power lines and take out the neighborhood’s electricity. They can grow into your sewer pipes and cause your basement to transform into the Bog of Eternal Stench.
It’s one of the very first Don’t Be That Guy entries that I ever wrote…and it’s still one of my favorites. Not just because I use it to torture, taunt and mock people, but also because it’s still just as true as the day I wrote it back in early 2009. It’s sitting out at http://www.ITinTheD.com/20/linkedin-is-not-a-video-game/ if you haven’t read it yet…and you should.
See, the situation seems to be getting worse. Every day, there are more people slapping “LION” after their name or bragging about the number of connections they have.
No, seriously. Stop. It.
And we’ve even had some of the worst offenders in the history of LinkedIn recently come to this realization…at last. We want to help. We want to encourage this line of thinking, and so we’re making it easy. We’re randomly picking an arbitrary date on the calendar and saying “Here. On THIS DAY, do what you know must be done. Prune your tree.”
Some of those branches have gotten out of control, people.
That whole scraggly looking chain of branches from that one group you joined on a whim last year and in a drunken fit of insanity blindly accepted all of those connections simply because you now shared a group?Whack ’em. Grab that clickety-click mouse and use it like a chainsaw, people. All they’re doing is putting weight on the trunk and causing damage to the root system. There’s no value add, there – they’re all dead anyway! They haven’t provided any nutrition to the rest of the tree…ever. Not even once.
All of those random people that you thought you had to accept connections from simply because you started a group and they joined it and you didn’t want to appear to be an ungracious host? And so even though you’ve never met them, never seen them in person, never exchanged so much as an email and couldn’t pick them out of a police lineup with a gun to your head you’re connected?
Yup. You guessed it. Chainsaw.
The dead branches have to get cut so that the healthy ones can keep the tree alive.The branches that have grown into dangerous areas…ones that can cause damage to the tree…must be gotten rid of.Now, don’t go too far with it. You don’t want to get rid of any actually valuable connections here…but come on…it’s like spring cleaning. That rake that’s mangled, has four good tines left on it and has been laying in the back corner of the garage for the past three years? Isn’t it time it gets thrown out so that you can make room for a shiny new rake that, you know, actually works and does what you need it to do?
It’s your call as to what a “valuable” connection to you means. Personally, I’m going to use the following guidelines while I’m going through my list on International Prune Your Network Day:
– Have we exchanged emails that had any meaning to them in the last year?
– Has my connection to you had a direct benefit to me, or someone else in my network, in the last year?
– Have we talked on the phone in the last six months?
– Do I know what you do day to day?
– Have we actually met in person?
– Can I remember where, when, and what we discussed?
No? To ALL of those?Chainsaw.
And yep, I’m aware that this may well mean that you want to go ahead and prune me out of your network.
I’m good with that.
If you can’t remember me, or don’t know who I am, what I do, why we’re even connected and don’t think I provide any value-add to have in your network…by all means, cut me loose. Networking and connecting are two-way streets. Both parties should provide value to the other…just like the trunk provides stability to the branches in exchange for the branches bringing nutrients and water back into the core.
I’ll try not to let out any b-movie scream queen caliber shrieks if you decide to cut me loose.
So come join us for International Prune Your Network Day 2, folks! It’ll be like losing weight and realizing that your clothes fit better.
Okay, maybe not THAT good…but it’s still a worthwhile endeavor, I promise. And you won’t even have to leave your couch to do it.
You can even do it while you listen to IT in the D: The 80s Strike Back – http://www.ITinTheD.com/event/it-in-the-d-the-80s-strike-back/ – on Monday night!
See how helpful we are?