Getting Engaged

If you are outside of a relationship, the very thought of getting engaged can quickly strike fear. Like personal relationships, those formed on-line or virtually in social networking communities function very similar to those we forge in person. There is an unspoken expectation of protocol and etiquette from those in the relationship along with some good advice to adhere to the appropriate rules of engagement.

We all function and exist in a multitude of relationships – the people, settings and structures of which form the rules for each accordingly. We learn in relationships, both personal and those in social networking communities, there are common sense rules; yes there are some unwritten rules. I have learned the unwritten rules are the ones you typically learn about after having become aware that you have violated one or more of them.

No different than it would be to butt into someone else’s conversation mid-sentence, the smooth entry for social networking is to listen first and then join in the conversation in an appropriate manner and time. Who is talking, listening, how and what is being said. Put your periscope up, look around, take a scan of the horizon. With a sense of perspective, you are much more likely to be on target in positively engaging the relationship for the short or long-term.

Successful engagement in social networking communities and on-line conversations begins with an awareness of the multiple paths to how we can get engaged. Assimilation and long term success in the relationship comes from working the right path and simply following the rules. Defining “engagement” would involve significant detailed direction, so allow me to share this excellent road map as a resource, courtesy of the ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus.

Engagement -mage from the Visual Thesaurus, Copyright ©1998-2009 Thinkmap, Inc. All rights reserved.

Growing your social networking relationships is rewarding in numerous ways. You have the ThinkMap, you know the rules…get the right perspective and get engaged.



  1. Jim:
    Certainly productive engagements happen at appropriate times, in appropriate manners. Being true to oneself and exposing the multiple faceted ability to engage on many levels is another concept that helps me achieve the relationships I need in my life.
    This is a great map and although I am sure I have violated a few unspoken rules, I am still learning, (from pros like you!)Great post!


    1. Debbie,
      Thanks for the feedback and I agree with your perspective. I liken it to pulling out into traffic…you can merge politely or you can create road rage. The unspoken rules – we usually hear about them after the fact. Continued to get engaged my friend and serve strong. Best.


  2. Jim, thanks for some heartfelt thoughts on relationships and social networks; I am astounded (but not surprised in retrospect) that too many “social media” leaders use a marketing approach; very few people focus on relationships. I shared some of my thoughts here, “Countering Social Networks’ Unique Challenges with the Relationship Life Cycle”

    I’d love to get your thoughts on the ideas.

    Thanks for your caring and intelligent writing.

    All the best- Chris


    1. Chris, I appreciate your thoughtful words on this post. As a marketing and PR professional, I realize most business is about and maintained through relationships. Try using a marketing approach instead of relationships and you are purely selling something. Getting engaged in relationships is much more rewarding, on both business and personal sides. Glad you enjoyed this one and I look forward to reading yours.



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