I see JP Rangaswami about once a year, maybe twice. He and I met via Laura Fitton at a dinner she held. I like JP’s work and I follow his blog and tweets and Facebook statuses to stay aware of what he’s doing. And of course, I do this with hundreds and hundreds of other people I find interesting or with whom I feel a friendship of some degree.
But we tend to forget that following isn’t touch.
And in this case, “touch” means a connection of our presence to theirs such that the other person knows that you’re still paying attention, that they matter, and that there’s still a tie there. It’s the equivalent of stopping by for a quick cup of coffee, or even just sending a hand-written note (but that’s a matter for another post).
I see you, but if I don’t reach out and touch you such that we have a brief interaction of some kind, then I might be in jeopardy of becoming a ghost in your world.
The problem, as is the curse threaded into the opportunity of this new world, is scale. It’s reasonably easy to maintain digital touch with a hundred or so people. It is not easy to do so with thousands and thousands. The solution? Not entirely sure. My own personal method is to do as much as I can daily to reach out to a few dozen people each day and make sure they know I’m still paying attention.
How are you handling it? Do you find yourself losing some threads here and there? Which of your online tools are helping or hindering the experience?