Threading the Social Needle

sewing machine One thing I try to do often is connect with people across all my various social networks. If you’re following me on Twitter, I invite you to add me at LinkedIn. Likewise, if you’re a reader and contributor to this blog’s community, I invite you to join me at those other two places. If you’re reading the blog, but not yet getting the newsletter, which is totally different, I invite you to get that. If we’re not Facebook friends, add me there. It’s all part of a concerted effort. The goal? Threading the social needle.

Networks Loose and Taut

Imagine you’re looking for a job. Where do you start? What do you need to know? I’ll give you a hint: the first letter is “p” and the last few letters are “eople.” I have spent time and effort building a robust social network across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, this blog, and beyond, because it’s my goal to be helpful in as many ways possible. It’s how you were able to help me send a woman to college in under 2 hours. It’s how I help friends find work, get projects, or just connect with like-minded souls.

That doesn’t happen on the fly. Jeremiah covers this very well. Networks are the lifeblood of this new human computer we’re building. You want the network connections to be there ahead of when you need them. And here’s where we get a little more human still.

Be Human About It

Connect with people from the mindset of wanting to be helpful to THEM. Learn what you can do to be useful FAR before you ask them for anything. And do this because you care, not because it’s a strategy, not for some long flung business project. Do it because being a good human matters to you. If you do this, and I mean it, no faking, it will become a very powerful thing. People remember your efforts to be helpful. They remember all the ways in which you do good things for them. And it never has to matter a lick, except sometimes it does.

How this SHOULD Work

In the future, this will be a lot more dynamic. When I show up at a social network, it will ping my profile server, will ask me which personae of mine to expose, and then see which connections I have from other networks that have similar credentials, and offer connections without me thinking much about it. I’ll be able to write metadata above every one of these contacts, very visual stuff, that will allow me on the fly to draw little lines between one person and another few people, showing VISUALLY the networks of people that I’ve met, and how they might relate.

With this information, I’ll be able to pluck threads quickly, and know that someone who has a PHP need is connected through me to someone who’s a PHP expert. I’ll be able to see my network by proximity, by home base, by corporation, without much fuss. I will be able to apply endless filters so that I can squint into the tapestry and find the exact right two people to work with me on a project.

But until then, while it doesn’t work that way, I’m building my own variations on the theme and threading the needle by hand.

If you’d like to connect with me on various social networks, here’s a short list:

Pretty much every where else, I’m also “chrisbrogan.” Feel free to connect.

What do you think? Where should this all reside? What’s the best place to put all this kind of information, and how else might we want to use it in flexible ways?

Photo credit, Twenty Questions

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