This question used to confuse me. I would talk a LOT about value in what you offer, when I answered. In other words, if you are offering value, how could you be a bother?
What I have come to realize is that this questions is not always driven by the content or volume of an individual poster. It is often about the volume of content online in general. People are feeling overwhelmed. The solution?
Approach online the same way you do any other network development. Find the posters that are putting out consistent value. The ones that are wrapping up the best of the week, vetting content and connecting with their readers. If they are answering, participating and putting out real value, you have found a literal goldmine.
Choose who you follow as if you were adding them to your network. Would you recommend this person to a valued client? Do you find yourself repeating their ideas and adding their solutions to your list of things to try? Have you had success when following their recommendations? Do you agree with their philosophy? Do you have target market overlap?
As the volume of online content grows, the need to develop an infrastructure to identify real value and true experts also grows. You want to be following world leaders in your field but pick and choose carefully. If you follow and they offer no value, unfollow and move on. Spend the bulk of your time developing an online network in your local market and the clutter is instantly reduced while business continues to grow!
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on November 5, 2013