Take your phone out and look at your list of contacts.

How many of these people do you regularly have a conversation with?

A premise of social media platforms when they were originally created was to provide us a way to stay connected to one another. Some of us are better at it than others. Yet, somewhere along the way, these platforms stopped being relational and became sites for the projection of people’s personalities. Think of them as marketing personal brands.

Social media companies encouraged this development because it made money for them. Lots of money. All the while we became more and more isolated from one another.

I sat with a SEO expert the other day looking at the numbers of people who respond to my Facebook posts. Pictures of family and travel get a lot. Posts about other things, not so much.

Add into this mix the isolation and fear that the global viral pandemic causes and many people are suffering emotionally and mentally, who have never done so before.

If you feel isolated and in some ways out of touch with what is going on in your world, I am certain that there are others in your phone’s contact list who feel the same.

I suggest that you create your own network of relationships. This goes a step beyond what is possible through social media sites. A network of relationships is where you can meet people that you know and talk about the things that matter to you. I am involved in a number of these networks on FB Messenger, Telegram, and WhatsApp. Each network is focused on a specific relationship or theme. Some of them are for just staying connected. Others are project-oriented.

The other aspect that distinguishes a network of relationships from our social media connections is that each network is purposeful. It may be to strengthen a friendship. It may be to share information about dieting or health. It may be for people who lead social organizations to talk about collaborative projects and how to develop resources. I helped two friends in Uganda start a network this week. They are focused on resource development for their work.

All it takes to start a network of relationships is one other person who wants to meet with you. Choose a messaging platform to meet and off you go. The fewer rules the better. The more you share common values the better. As you start, assume that this is a work in progress. Focus on why your relationship matters. And go from there.

If the two of you want some help to get started. Reach out to me. I’ll be glad to help you start your network. And maybe I’ll join.

Dr. Ed Brenegar is a Leader for Leaders working with individuals, their teams, organizations and communities who find themselves at a point of transition. Ed has developed an innovative leadership model called, Circle of Impact, that clarifies what the impact of their life or the work of their organization can be. From this perspective, impact is the change that makes a difference that matters. Ed. for over 30 years, has inspired and equipped people and organizations to practice this fresh understanding of leadership. All leadership begins with personal initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters. Everyone within an organization or a community can, therefore, practice leadership initiative. In so doing, they turn what were once leadership-starved organizations into leader-rich cultures that make a difference that matters.

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