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These ain’t your granddad’s commandments, but we take ’em darn seriously.

The 9th Commandment: LEAVE NO INTERACTION ON THE TABLE

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-24191-0010,_Donnin,_Bauern_im_GesprächThink small town mentality. In smaller towns the idea of walking down the street and not acknowledging someone sharing the sidewalk with you is a faux pas.

But the internet isn’t a small town. The internet is the biggest town imaginable, and in a big city like that, it’s easy to get that tunnel vision. Part of it is a desire to avoid the crazies lurking in alleyways, and part of it is that the the dauntingly limitless potential for interaction. The internet’s equivalent of a smile from a stranger can come from any place, any time.

As social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and G+ grow and evolve, you can ignore more people than ever before, all at once if you like.

But nobody likes that. Nobody likes to be ignored. If someone is already talking to you, that’s a win. An invitation to be a larger influence in that community. Don’t let it go to waste. (This is the part where Nate looks pointedly at me and adds, “…Seth.” to the end of each imperative clause)

And truly, keeping this commandment is not easy. It would be easier if I were still a shutter monkey, selling tourist photos. Back when I worked that customer service gig, it was simple to smile at every customer, photo buyers or not, and maybe crack wise with them for a minute. They’re right there in front of me, so what else am I going to do?

The challenge is when folks are interacting with you and you don’t know about it right away. I’m so busy keeping up with the twitter accounts of my clients, I may not check mine for weeks, so what happens when I do check in and someone has left me a nice note (or a mean one) that’s a week stale already?  It’s tempting to pretend it never happened.

Don’t do it(…Seth). That person might forgive for getting back to them later than that day. If you never do, well, they’re likely to never try it again.

Why does this matter to you? Because in the big city internet, help, advice, new friends or referrals can appear out of nowhere, and can just as easily return there. Welcome newcomers into your community, whatever form it may take, and you’ll quickly learn if and how you can be of service to them. In this humble bloggers opinion, that’s what running a small biz is all about.

So go ahead. Get out there.

Respond to your tweets

 

Say hi to that cutie who smiles at you on the sidewalk.

Pick up the phone (remember the 10th commandment)

Leave comments in blogs that you appreciate (Wink Wink).

Then follow up (…Seth).