The idea for this post came from a comment that someone shared with me in Facebook. He shared with me that he actively denies friend requests from agents in his market that share the same desire to be found via common keywords and phrases in searches. The conversation led me to wonder how many other people are putting up barriers in their social networking efforts by not allowing competitors into their sphere of influence. 

I posed the question in a discussion forum on the Diverse Solutions Facebook page and invited folks to provide us their thoughts on the issue. We received some really great insight and input. 

“Well that is just crazy. The world is too big to play that game. I’m friends with Rudy at Trulia, Sarah and David G from Zillow and I think everything is just fine”. – Derek Overbey Roost.Com

One of the very first social networks to launch on the web was LinkedIn. I remember as it started to grow in popularity, so did the number of detractors that felt as if it were a way to allow your competitors access to see who it is you do business with etc. The issue obviously hasn’t stopped if from becoming almost a business necessity these days.

“Wow! Those who know me, know I rock the transparency all the way, so it boggles my mind not to let anyone into my circle. This doesn’t mean they get to stay there depending on their behavior but very rarely is someone ushered out.” Kye Grace – Realtor

One of the best chapters in the book Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki is a whopping 2 pages in length and it’s entitled “Power 3.0; Kinder, Gentler and Better” I think some of what he has to say is very relevant to this issue. What does power have to do with your social networking endeavor? In my opinion everything. 

“Despite thier location or even their direct competition with me for web traffic, this is a big pool we are all playing in…and there is room for everyone.” Clint Miller – RECR.com

Truth told, all of us our trying to amass the strongest network that we can in the hope that it helps us with that ultimate goal of the pursuit of happiness, whatever it means to you. Kawasaki uses quotes and references from another book entitled “The Power Paradox” by Dacher Keltner to show that there are basic myths to the “game of power” including the Machiavellian way of thinking that says “it’s better to be feared than loved”. Keltner says “Social behaviors are dictated by social expectations” and that “Machiavellians quickly acquire reputations as individuals who act in ways that are inimical to the interests of others”. 

I think the power of an effective social networking effort comes from a desire to hold the interests of others above your own within your sphere. What better way to demonstrate that than to embrace those you may perceive as competitors? I’m not saying to reveal your strategic efforts and plans or to beguile people you wouldn’t otherwise engage. That makes no sense no matter what platform you’re using to be social. If you’re managing your online effort correctly, I doubt you’re saying anything you wouldn’t put in a press release anyhow.  

“….I guess you have to tend your FB garden very well.” Kristal Kraft – Realtor

 There’s on old saying “nice guys finish last”. It’s not always true. I think if you play it smart, the concept of engaging everyone in your sphere in a transparent and genuine fashion will eventually start to reward you in a way you had no idea was in store for you. I remember when I was boy my Dad came home from work with the latest and greatest Hot Wheels set. No birthdays, it wasn’t Christmas. He said he gave it to me and my twin because he thought we deserved it. I couldn’t tell you to this day what one single action we may have taken to make us deserve such a cool gift. Whatever it was, We both did it without expectation of reward. Isn’t it the unexpected gift that always seem to be the best?

So, what do you think of the issue? Join our Facebook page and let me know.