Connectors and Mavens on the Tipping Point

Filed as Features on April 12, 2007 7:30 am

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At first glance, it seems writing is a solitary thing. In many ways, it’s true the writer’s task is individual. No one can help me write. I am left alone to sort my thoughts, to find the words, to set them to text with structure and expression. It’s a private search to articulate meaning.

In another glance, it’s easy to see writing is socially dynamic. We record our lives. We announce our plans. We write sadness and sympathy. We spell out love and loneliness. We describe our achievements and failures in detail and drama. Most of all we talk to each other. We talk around the world without a sound.

The longer I am a blogger, the more I discover how much we’re connected to each other by relationships. All of the words I write link me closer to the readers who read them. As we discuss our responses to each other’s thoughts in the comment box, we get linked more closely. I found myself once this week, calling a blogger friend to remark on a post. Once more my words have connected me to another person and the people around him.

I met this man directly on my blog and got to know him. I have met most of the people who visit his blog one by one in a similar way. He’s met most of the people who visit my blog one by one that way too.

People who’ve read The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference call me a connector and a maven – one who links like-minded people and one who gathers and shares deep information.

One who links like-minded people and one who gathers and shares deep information, that sounds the definition of almost every relationship blogger I know. We are connectors and mavens at the tipping point of communication.

Bloggers are just beginning to figure out the depth and breadth of the medium in which we are playing and working. The brilliant idea of Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers so well defined and described by Seth Godin underscores the exact importance of relationships in every business and every life. When Seth talks about marketing, he often uses a metaphor of dating – also known as having a relationship. All business is relationships. Everything people is relationships.

Blogging is the tipping point of communication because no other form of communication has been so immediate, so interactive, so far-reaching and so ready-made for relationships. And it’s adaptable to any schedule — even the cell-phone won’t wait around until you are ready to take that call. Relationships that fit into our time and space to make them. It’s what Tony D. Clark said to me just last week.
“The whole thing changes when the world is your community.”

We are connectors and mavens at the tipping point of communication able to make relationships with people all over the planet. We are just beginning to figure out the depth and breadth of the medium in which we are working. With the relationships we are making and the information we are gathering. If we set our minds in the same direction, who’s to say that we can’t change the world?

Liz Strauss writes about Changing the World at Successful-Blog, and will be meeting with some of the most outstanding relationship bloggers at SOBCon07 on May 11-12.

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  1. On the Tipping Point of Communications - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once.April 12, 2007 at 8:13 am
  2. By James Governor posted on April 12, 2007 at 12:12 pm
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    just came across Blog Herald today. Its cool – i got linked to by you yesterday which is nice. This article is right on, but I thought you might enjoy this metaphor for the maven/sales/connector people – old style telephony operators… http://redmonk.com/jgovernor/2007/03/04/knowledge-workers-as-switchboard-operators/

    would love to know your thoughts.

  3. By AngryToxicologist posted on April 12, 2007 at 12:39 pm
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    The possiblities of the web (vast audience, tipping point style virulence) also speak to the difficulties in getting a blog off the ground; you’ve got to consistently do it right and find your voice because you never know when the person reading or commenting is the tipping point. I’m feeling this right now, I left a collaborative effort to strike out on my own and find it mentally exhausting even at this early stage. Speaking to an entrenched audience is so much easier but makes some people sloppy; on the other hand it really turns some of us on- the ability to connect, which is why most of us started up in the first place.

  4. By Liz Strauss posted on April 12, 2007 at 5:47 pm
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    Hi James!
    Welcome! I so enjoy a great metaphor. I’ll be by to see you in just a little while! Thanks for telling me about it!
    Liz

  5. By Liz Strauss posted on April 12, 2007 at 5:53 pm
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    Hi (not so) AngryToxicologist,
    It takes a while to get a blog off the ground, but less time if you hang with folks who are friendly types. Come on over.

    I wonder what part is exhausting part for you? Maybe you should tweak your content. I found when I got to write my passion with my head and heart, it was so much easier and folks like it more.

    Connecting is at the heart . . . you’re so on about that.

  6. By AngryToxicologist posted on April 12, 2007 at 7:17 pm
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    Liz,
    Thanks for the encouraging words and the good posts. Okay, maybe ‘exhausting’ is overstating it a bit. To answer your question, though:
    Exhausting-trying to determine the right voice among many that I could use (various passions, but need a somewhat focused blog. Even on the same topic – how scientific to write, etc)
    Exhausting-writing and working without a community at the beginning (no feedback or interaction)
    Exhausting-family+work+blogging.
    However, family+work+blogging=energizing, too. :)

    Not to sound depressing for any new bloggers that are reading this. It just takes some will power to write, write, write, try to sound like you, interact at other sites you like, and give it time (oh and learn stuff here ;) ). Worth repeating to myself: give it some time. I’m mainly surprised at how striking out on my own is like starting all over again (I probably shouldn’t have been).

    Good point about tweaking the content, if a piece feels hard to write, that may be trying to tell me something.
    -AT

  7. By Liz Strauss posted on April 12, 2007 at 9:16 pm
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    Hey AT!
    Finding my voice took some time and I had been writing for years. But I was writing stuff for other folks not for me. Getting to my voice had to do with several factors . . .
    1. putting both feet in the water
    2. picking a direction — writing My Blogging Goal made a huge difference
    3. writing my truth as I know it
    4. purposefully deciding to get down off the podium
    5. worrying about how much I liked what I wrote not how many came by to comment.
    I still stick to all of them. :)

    I’m so glad you came back . . . :)
    Liz

  8. By Stephen posted on April 13, 2007 at 12:38 pm
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    This theory and research has spawned a number of interesting businesses (including mine). I would be interested in hearing how your “maven” status affects your strategy here on The Blog Herald. More importantly, how do you intend to use this status to impact world’s removed from The Blog Herald.

  9. By Liz Strauss posted on April 13, 2007 at 6:17 pm
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    Hi Stephen,
    What a great question. Boy would I like to know who’s asking.

    i don’t know what “status” I have. I’m a working writer. I know what people have called me. I know about my relationships and what I’m discovering. I wonder what “maven” you see . . . ? :)

    I have my hands in my head and I am building soemthing. With any luck it will be something so cool and serve lots of people. And it will be fun doing it, because of the people . . . because when you care about the people, and really show up, the rest is easy to figure out. At least that’s my experience and I’m going with it. :)
    Liz

  10. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on April 13, 2007 at 7:30 pm
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    Very interesting question. May I try it from another point of view?

    My work on the Blog Herald is first to reach a wider audience than my current blogs. That’s part of building more relationships and connecting beyond my current scope. It’s also to draw more visibility to my own blogs. Marketing strategy.

    But that is a small part of why I do what I do on the Blog Herald. The connections made here reach world-wide, through the English version and translated versions such as The Blog Herald Japan. Crossing language barriers is very exciting, not just for the attention and business it brings.

    In my article on reaching out to build relationships with your readers, I spoke of the concept of “giving of one’s self”. Blogging on the Blog Herald is a job but it is also an honor, allow me to give of myself to more, expanding my connections and developing relationships that are wider, stronger, and as Liz said, faster. Pretension evaporates when you relate on an intellectual level with your words and looks, race, and even accents don’t get in the way.

    The reputation we get as “writers for the Blog Herald” opens doors so we can expand our work further, expanding our connections within the many worlds outside of the Blog Herald. It’s a responsibility to write well, speak well, and be good representatives of the Blog Herald, too.

    A part of this issue that Liz hasn’t covered is the responsibility that comes with building these connections and relationships. You have to live up to the expectations that built those relationships. You have to honor your word and commitments because word travels faster than the time it took to build these instant virtual relationships.

    Those of us who honor that responsibility carry it with us wherever we go, inside and outside the Blog Herald. I hope our work proves that and speaks loudly for us.

  11. By Chris Cree posted on April 18, 2007 at 12:23 pm
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    How did I miss this post the other day?

    “Blogging is the tipping point of communication because no other form of communication has been so immediate, so interactive, so far-reaching and so ready-made for relationships.”

    That quote is priceless, Liz. Definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

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