We are all busy, trying to fit the most that we can into our hectic days. I wonder, does social media access help to remedy our situation, or does it make it worse? And, honestly, what should we reasonably expect regarding common courtesy (e.g., a reply to our comment) in social media channels, from individual ‘influencers’ or from brands? We’ll approach these questions from an empathetic angle and try to see the perspectives of each side.

Let’s say a hypothetical someone starts out making pithy and witty comments on posts rather randomly. This person simply comments on things that he or she finds interesting, informative and amusing. Some comments are replies to serious topics too. What if one were to find that such comments are also replied to only randomly. Or, not at all?

Conversely, let’s imagine ourselves as a Forbes Top 50 Social Influencer, a HuffPost feature columnist, and an Inc. Top 50 Social Leader (or some such designation) with what? 15 K, 25K or 50K followers? Our ability to discover, manage, and respond to our audience is exponentially multiplied. How do we manage?

There is much talk about the intimate, human aspect of social media channels being the ‘secret sauce’ to making true, honest, and lasting connections. This is a noble goal: that we should wish to make real connections with the people we come into contact with. But realistically, just as in those we make F2F or IRL, we can’t be intimate friends with everybody we meet. Right?

We should expect that we make the distinctions between contact, acquaintance, and friend online in much the same way we do in our everyday lives. It takes a special intangible something to cross the threshold to friendship. And on either side of the line there must be mutuality. So there is the rub. What are the guidelines regarding online relationships? What constitutes the arbitrary labels that we use to define our level of commitment, as individuals, brands, and/or individual brands?

Q1) Social strategists often try to attribute personalized labels to ‘followers.’ Are all followers created equal?

Q2) We have social channels preferences. Should we consider the level of engagement such channels enable before we commit?

Q3) At what level of social media notoriety (i.e., followers) might we expect that ‘social influencers’ are not really monitoring their channels?

Q4) If one is not monitoring and responding are they ‘influencing’? How?

Q5) Social media automation is a necessary tool. Should regular folks expect replies to comments on broadcast posts? Why? Why not?

Q6) Perhaps social channels are becoming echo chambers of listening mostly to our own voices. Or those like ours?

What do you think? #SMXChat is every Tuesday at 3 PM EDT U.S., 8 GMT. We hope to see you then! influencer