The Reality of Social Media Reciprocity


Interestingly, many people think that if you follow someone on Twitter or are connected to them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or are following their blogs, that they are obligated to connect with you. This does not actually give you any entitlement.

The truth is that they don’t owe you a thing based on the connection alone. Each person (you as well as others) must decide who you want to connect with online and who you want to interact with online. Each person may have a different motivation for wanting to connect with someone online. The rules of engagement are completely subjective and each person decides what they want from relationships and how far they want to carry those relationships. You don’t need online connections (at least not in the life-or-death sense); you want to have them and you understand how valuable they are for you and your business.

Quality over quantity

As I am sure you are aware, you must always choose quality over quantity when it comes to your online connections. If you indiscriminately accept every online invitation to connect with others, you will end up with a very large number of connections. However, are those connections worthwhile and can you build strong and lasting relationships from them? If your connections are superficial, they won’t hold much value. They are, however, a good starting point for building and maintaining meaningful relationships at some point in the future.

Social media will only be successful for you if you put in the work that is required to make it flourish. You need to dedicate consistent time and effort for it to pay off for you and your business. Once you have established meaningful connections with other people, you must build the relationships so that they last indefinitely. One of the best ways to do that is by sharing valuable and interesting information with them that you think they will be interested in and that will help them to solve whichever issues they are experiencing.

Respect is earned, not given away freely

As you are going along on your journey of building relationships that will be strong and lasting, you must understand that reciprocity can come in many different forms. One of the best forms lies within the interactions and the multifaceted discussions that evolve online. All sorts of wonderful things can come out of that. If you are connecting on social media for the right reason, in other words, to help people without worrying about helping yourself, you will be successful through your social media efforts.

If you come across some information that you feel is valuable enough not only for you but to share with others, share it. You shouldn’t worry about what you are getting from other people. The more thoughtful and considerate you are and the more valuable information you share with other people, the more they will be inclined to do the same. Of course, it feels great when people reciprocate. That is a normal human reaction. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way. However, you shouldn’t expect reciprocity. People don’t owe you anything. You should never give something to another person because you expect something in return. You should only give for the sake of giving.


Human beings give to one another and they like the way that it feels. The idea of helping others makes  you feel like you are doing something good. Mutuality and reciprocity are both important parts of any relationship but they have to come about in a natural and easy way. All relationships must give and take. If both people in the relationship have the interests of the other in mind, everyone’s needs and wants will be satisfied.

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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.

Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.

Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.


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