Time from time I run into blog posts discussing calling other AR members. General consensus is that this is the best thing after sliced bread. I read one post today. For the author the question was who to call.
For me the question was why to call?
There has to be a compelling reason why one member of AR calls another member. In so many posts why is not a concern. Often times it is simply about numbers, i.e. how many members to call. Perceived virtue is in consistency.
Consistency of what?
If there is no love and affection, why call? But do you plan love and affection?
Do you really want all your virtual friends become your real friends? Do you want to know whether their husbands snore at night? Or other stuff that friends know about each other?
How many of you would be scared at a prospect of spending 45 minutes on the phone? For what? To find out that there is something common between two of you?
Wouldn’t it affect your day? Would you be skipping the incoming calls, or apologize every couple of minutes and switch between the lines to answer calls? I am by far not the busiest real estate guy, but even for me 45 minutes would be something I would need to plan and schedule.
Is it kosher to call other members without any invitation?
Why call? So that I know whether their husbands snore? But I do not want to know it. And I do not want my virtual friends know the same stuff about me.
Virtual community is very different from voice-to-voice or face-to-face. In virtual communities the communication is controlled and limited. To the subject, to the rules, to groups, etc. We decide what we want others to know about us. Calls are entirely different animals.
Imagine you are commenting on someone’s post in pajamas in the comfort of your home, and suddenly the blog post’s author is knocking on your door. Would you be ecstatic?
Friendships happen. Not often, but they happen. It is more like a miracle.
Do you plan and schedule miracles?
How many people are there on AR that you absolutely have to call? To tell them that they did something great, that you admire them, or to offer support? Think hard. Probably that would be the only people you need to call.
Even if AR institues points for calling other members, please, don't. Respect other members' privacy and time.
I know that this is against the grain, but think about it… is it really?
Image by rầm Thủy Tiên via FLickr.com/creativecommons