The only thing harder than keeping up with your Twitter feed is keeping up with real human beings.
You know, people that you care about and have some vested interest in?
And if you're a super social person, the kind of girl or guy who finds ideas in the people you encounter--à la GE CMO Beth Comstock--then your garden of friendships, colleagues, and others may be massively unruly, and tough to tend to regularly.
But just as a clever app can help you keep your inbox disciplined or translate your lifelong dreams into daily tasks, software that you might already be using can keep you abreast of your network's accomplishments--without making you feel too much like an overtly ambitious, network-friendly kinda person.
Google Alerts is awesome for keeping on top of the most important topics: royal gossip, political scandals, gadget releases. But it's also a tool for keeping up with your most important people.
I'm fairly extroverted, so I enjoy meeting people and developing relationships, but my problem is the time it takes to do so. For me, that's the beauty of social networks. They allow you to connect with the people you want to keep up with, and have small interactions with them regularly, again, often from your phone.
But you can help yourself out: I set up Google alerts for people so I get notified when they've done something online and I have a reason to catch up.
Instead, we need to recognize the fact that any relationship--even those over email--operate on a sense of reciprocity, or so the psychologists tell us. So if we want them to take a personal interest in us, then we need to show that we're personally interested in them--for example, by mentioning their newest feat. But that doesn't mean Google can't help us.
Hat tip: Open Forum
[Image: Flickr user Graham Campbell]