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The Lady Gaga Rule of Social Networking

by Ryan Rancatore

To some, Lady Gaga is the ultimate poster child for personal branding success – and to others, she represents a perfect example of taking it too far.  Gaga is truly a polarizing figure, and her tendency to do things like wear dresses made of meat ensures she will remain that way.

Yet, one particular lesson learned from Lady Gaga isn’t extreme or shocking – in fact, it is quite simple and rooted in common sense.  During a recent concert (which I attended, insert jokes in the comment section), Lady Gaga hinted at her upcoming album and a few early critiques she has received.  The critical consensus is that the album might not appeal to those who aren’t fans of hers already.  Her response… “Who cares?  Nothing matters more to me than my current fans.”

Thus, I give you the Lady Gaga Rule of Social Networking:

Appreciate the importance of your current network.  Finding new connections should be secondary to maintaining existing relationships.

Admittedly, this can be a difficult rule to remember – especially across the social web.  With your number of Twitter followers, Linkedin connections, Facebook friends, etc on constant display, it’s easy to get caught up in the “hunt for more”.

And of course it is true that Lady Gaga likely has about 200 million more “connections” than you.  No matter. This principle applies whether your network totals 4500 or 45.  As with most things in life, successful networking is “quality over quantity”.

What are a few ways by which you can show your appreciation for your current network?  We are presented with endless opportunities everyday, really.  Here are a couple of easy ones:

  • Dig through your old Rolodex or contact list and dial up a few old connections with whom you’ve lost touch.
  • Monitor your Linkedin connections for recent profile updates.  Profile updates show when a connection may have been hired, fired, or promoted – all instances in which you’d likely want to reach out.
  • Make a Twitter list of your favorite tweeters (especially folks you know “in real life”) and seek opportunities to retweet their articles or individual tweets.
  • Check your email inbox – any messages from your network that have gone unresponded to for far too long?

None of the action items described above are rocket science.  (Unless you are a rocket scientist who has lost touch with your fellow rocket scientists…)  But, tasks like these are essential to nurturing existing relationships.

So, while the lure of the “new connection” and unseen opportunity around the corner can be enticing, keep the Lady Gaga Rule of Social Networking in mind.  Show each friend or current/former colleague how much you value them – and avoid turning a solid relationship into a bad romance.

Photo credit, VJ Alisa.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake LaCaze September 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I was reluctant to actually read this when I saw Lady Gaga in the title, but now I’m glad I did. Too often we’re looking ahead to the new and forgetting to give a little special attention to the old.

Melissa September 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I have to agree with Jake there — I almost didn’t read it, either. But your analysis is spot-on.

It’s the same idea with marketing and customer service. Businesses need to spend some time keeping their current patrons happy. If a company’s efforts become all about attracting new people, the ones who have been loyal customers will pick up on that and go somewhere else where they are appreciated.

Andrew Gillette September 21, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Absolutely loved this article (and the concert)! Once she’s done with pop stardom, she should be a consultant.

Ryan Rancatore September 22, 2010 at 6:07 am

Jake – you are definitely in my “gotta keep in touch with on a regular
basis” group. Glad you got past the title on this one!

Ryan Rancatore September 22, 2010 at 6:08 am

Melissa – Better to have you hate my article before you read it, rather than
after! :-) Great business analogy too – you couldn’t be more right on that
one.

Ryan Rancatore September 22, 2010 at 6:12 am

Andrew – Interesting point! You might be oh so right, but you might be dead
wrong too…sometimes folks are so good at doing something, yet can’t
articulate how others can replicate success in their own way. Know what I
mean?

Dr. Cris November 14, 2011 at 9:27 am

I do love to network and connect with new friends; we learn so much from each other and sometimes I form new long lasting friendships too—but—I also devote myself to really reaching out to, connecting, and helping my close friends too.  Yes, the list of close friends is smaller but my other friends are also an important part of my life—-so it will probably be a balancing act for me.

Ryan Rancatore November 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Great points Dr. Cris. Thanks for commenting!

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