Not Everyone Online is Online.

“Currently, more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent.”

—David Martin,
Vice President of Primary Research, Nielsen Online

While the quote above may be somewhat dated, I still think it illustrates a valid point. For example, I opened my Twitter account in July of 2008, after hearing some buzz on the news. I didn’t get engaged till almost six months later. It took me a while to figure it out.

Let’s say you attend a business function and meet Jane, a senior level, experienced corporate executive or business owner. You can trade business cards with her, and go back to LinkedIn and look up her profile. You find it!

Next to her name is her title, the company, and how many years she has been there. But there is nothing else; no photo, and a minimal description of the company. Oh yes, she has five connections. “How in the world did she become soooo successful?” you ask yourself. There MUST be an explanation!

Let me tell you something: with Jane, you got lucky. You only found one profile, and not three duplicates! (Some of you are nodding…been there; done that.) The same can be true for Facebook or any of the other social platforms.

Lots of people are online. But many of those folks are not as engaged. They don’t take to technology as well; nor do their business or social requirements demand that they learn it. They got on there because someone told them that was the thing to do. Better yet, their kid (or even an associate) walked them through it or simply did it for them.

The reality here is that just because you can find someone online, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are truly online. Even as we see major business platforms such as LinkedIn having significant impact in how business professionals connect with each other, and in some ways even changing how we do business, there will always be those individuals whose digital social footprint is a modest one; yet their real footprint in the business landscape is quite significant.

Don’t let the modest online presence deceive you. And if you wish to connect with them, be prepared to reach out to people where they are. It might just be on the other end of the telephone.

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