It revolves around quid pro quo, or “something for something.”
The basic premise of quid pro quo is that people attempt fair/equal transactions. This makes perfect sense when the exchange is obvious: I’ll give you $1.00 for that soda pop.
It’s a lot harder when it comes to situations between humans. Let’s start simply: if I follow you on Twitter, you’ll likely follow me back. Right? If I choose to friend you on LinkedIn, a professional network, will you be so quick to reciprocate? Well now it depends. How about Facebook? We’re friends on Twitter. Why not Facebook?
And this is just “friending” in the online world.
Here’s where this gets tricky:
If I invite you to join the Facebook group for Trust Agents, it’s because I think you’ll get some value out of participating there. Say you join the group. If you now invite me to join your real estate company’s fan page after you’ve joined my book’s group, what should I do? Should I say yes because you said yes to me?
But I have no interest in real estate, except for when I’m making a transaction.
I was asked to join someone’s new social media application, but because I have a lot of stuff on the go, I politely declined. What I got back as a parting shot was, “Thanks. I’ll still buy your book.”
It left me feeling a bit awkward.
Do we expect reciprocal behavior all the time? Is it easy enough to see that I participate as much as I can in both directions, and that it’s not all about me?
What do you do in these situations?
Photo credit Mr Mystery