Are Your Connections Mutualistic or Parasitic?

Scientists and biologists have talked about symbiosis, a word derived from the ancient Greek meaning syn- “with” and biosis-“living” since Plato was a pup. In the late 18 hundreds, social scientists began using the term in connection with people living together in mutual relationships. In nature, there are three common types of symbiotic relationships, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic. It is my assertion that these three relationships are also present in our social media world. Which relationship type are you?

Clownfish/ Anemone

Mutualistic relationships are described as a relationship wherein both parties benefit. A great example from nature of this type is the Clown Fish and the sea anemone. A sea anemone has hundreds of poisonous tentacles to ward off predators, but the clown fish is immune to the poison. He hides from his enemies in the tentacles, eats small invertebrates and his waste feeds the anemone. Let’s not take this analogy too far, but the best types of relationships in the social media world are mutualistic, where both parties benefit. There are many great examples of fan pages who share educational and entertaining posts which enhance the lives of their fans. In turn, they remain loyal to your brand, store or biz. Moreover, they recommend your biz products and services.

Commensalistic relationships are recognized as those in which one party benefits and the other is not harmed or helped in any way. Birds follow cattle or horses as they graze in an effort to feed off the insects which are stirred by the movement of the cattle. The four legged creatures are not affected in any way. There are few example of commensalism in nature and in social media, but I think a good example is my photograph of the General Motors concept car, Miray, from the NAIAS which several dealerships have “borrowed” for their Facebook cover picture. They benefit by having a striking cover picture and I, in no way am harmed nor will I benefit in any way.

The last one exits, unfortunately, in many relationships, not simply in social media. Parasitic relationships exist when one party benefits and the other is harmed. We all know people who behave in a parasitic fashion. The best thing about social media is, when that happens, you can block or delete them. For what it’s worth, don’t be a social media parasite and don’t accept them in your life connections. When fans feel you are “parasitic” they will unlike your page and quite likely your biz.

Social media is based on people “living with” and relating to each other. To build healthy social media relationships, focus on becoming more mutualistic. Healthy relationships between people, on social media and in life, are connections wherein both parties benefit…remember this in your social media efforts.

Can Hello Stimuate Your Economy?

Last December a post in this blog recognized a jewelry store clerk (Janet) for superior customer service. (See below)
This past Saturday, Janet informed me that the company recently promoted her to Store Manager. We joked about how this blogpost (which was recognized by the companies HQ) probably got her visibility at the corporate headquarters. In reality, it’s Janet’s performance and focus on Customer Service that makes her so effective.

Isn’t it refreshing to see a company reward good performance?
Congratulations, Janet, for a job well done. Keep smiling and greeting your customers…it can stimulate your personal economy.

Here in the wintry white (and very cold) north, walking in the mall is what we do at this time of the year.
As a sales and customer service geek, I’m always in observation mode to recognize outstanding customer service behaviors. This morning however, I was reminded of how important an simple smile and hello is to  providing good customer service.
At about the three mile mark, Janet, the sales person in the Flint, MI.  Kay Jewelers, was the first associate to smile and say hello to me. Now keep in mind, I walk around with a smile on my face and a pleasant greeting to all that make eye contact with me. After I passed the store I realized my early morning trail had taken me past well over a hundred sales associates, store managers and owners, and Janet was the first to say hello and offer a smile.
I turned around, entered Janet’s store and complimented and congratulated her for being the first to give me any indication that she was there to offer great customer service. Janet, thanks for reminding me how important a simple hello and a smile are to providing great customer service.

Remember, great customer service and living life are very important, so “Don’t Just Do It!” 

Are Connections a Priority?

In today’s turbulent times, we all need to connect with our family, friends and acquaintances more than ever. NOTICE: If you have no interest in enhancing your connections and networking abilities, don’t read any further!
Still with me…good! One of my Priorities for 2009 is to enhance my social networking skill and take advantage of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In December I attended a workshop on Leveraging Technology and learned that these three networks interface very well and are the top sites for professionals. Click on any of the links above and you will visit my profile on each one. If your not in these networks, join today! It’s fun, doesn’t take much time, has tremendous potential and will help you grow your “Connections.”
For several weeks I “twittled” with twitter and am just now getting it. Not that it’s difficult, because it isn’t. It’s just that I hadn’t figured out how to use it effectively to connect with others. So here is what I’m doing: Every day or so, I send out “Tweet” my “followers” with an inspirational quotation, humorous line, cool site to visit, or occasionally an interesting article or blog post. So begin to Twitter and begin by following me.

BUT FIRST, check out this article I received from my friend Michael Hyatt. I sure wish I had found this before having to learn all this on my own. This is a great article regarding Twitter for beginners but it also has a couple of very important tips for even the more experienced twitterers.

When it comes to networking, you need to BYOCPO and remember, you

“Don’t Just Do It!”