"Sorry, I'm busy" or conversation in Social Networking

I had a friend at University who moved back home to America once we had all graduated. She was a good friend, and regularly wrote to me. They were good letters, full of news and interesting ideas, thoughtfully composed. I loved receiving them and from time to time would pen a few short sentences and post them. More often than not though I set the letter aside – promising to reply tomorrow.

Finally a letter popped through my door. In essence it said: “I’ve been reviewing some of the things in my life and I’ve decided to edit you out.” Once I was over the shock I realised I wasn’t surprised – why keep talking to someone who’s “too busy” to reply?What was remarkable was that she had the courtesy to tell me, after all most us just let relationships wither and go looking for more rewarding conversation.

So why am I telling you this? Yesterday I spent a stimulating few hours with a group of people exploring web 2.0 technologies and their value to the voluntary sector. We had been brought together by Megan Griffith at the ICT hub of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Our aim is to help the NCVO set out some key strategic thoughts for voluntary organisations on the risk and opportuntities that come from IT and social networking.

As I digest what I’m learning it I’ll share more thoughts.

But my first is about vol orgs, the capacity to communicate and the willingness to share. If people are telling you they want to be in your club, but you lack the will, resources, culture or even manners to maintain a conversation , then the relationship will wither. That is true whether you communicate by phone, online or letter.
If you don’t intend to attend to the relationship why start in the first place? The other side will eventually turn away and find someone who will talk.

And you’ll be very lucky if they write to you tell you why.

Some others from the group:

David Wilcox

Molly Web at Demos

Ingrid Koehler

Steve Bridger