Lots of folks have lots of reason for feeling we’re on the outside.
It’s almost overwhelming. The world can seem to be one huge tribe and we can seem to be the only one who’s not a part. Of course, that’s flawed thinking. Ever met a group of people who could agree on anything huge for very long? The whole world is too big to hold a meeting about who belongs.
It’s not how the world sees you. It’s how you see yourself that counts.
When I was young, my mother taught me to choose my friends wisely. As an innocent, I thought this meant I should pick better, smarter people, i.e, the popular kids. While it is important to be known by the “known” people, what she explained was a bigger principle. You are judged by those you keep company with.
Among all the social media tools I’ve been exploring in this series, this is one of the most important ones: understanding the influence others have on you to help define your social influence.
At a conference recently, after getting some terrific input from a participant, I told him that I couldn’t wait to share this with Matt Mullenweg of WordPress. His mouth dropped. He asked in awe, “Do you know Matt? I mean know. Really know. Like met him, touched him, talked to him – that kind of know? Wow! You must be somebody!”
While those standing around us laughed, I had this person’s respect because I could connect with someone he respected. My credibility went up because I had a relationship with Matt Mullenweg. I hope Matt feels the same about his relationship with me. :D
It’s who we know and who knows us that helps define who we are as well as our influence on others. A friend told me this morning that she “used” my name to get the attention of a group she was working with. “They sat up and started listening to me because I knew the Lorelle.”
While I don’t think I’m that important in the world, I laughed and told her that she could use me and abuse me as long as it got the job done.
These kinds of relationships don’t happen in a vacuum. As Liz explained, creating relationships in this new virtual networking world is not just about hitting the “follow” button on Twitter or other social media tools. That doesn’t count. She said:
It’s finding out about a person, learning what you have in common, showing what you have to give, not what you need to get…each person you get to know well can open the door to a whole network of friends.
Imagine Networking With a Social Media Dream Team?
Like the age old game of the perfect dinner table companions, if you could choose anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose to spend a few days with as your definition of the perfect social media dream team?
Think about it. If you could spend a weekend in a retreat, face to face with the best of the best in the world of blogging, business blogging, and social media, who would be on that list? Imagine, working one on one with the support of a small team, interacting with top names in social media. To talk to, work with, and learn from some of the top corporate and business sponsors invested in blogging and social media. And to do so in a room with tons of food, top notch wireless access, and no preconditions – except that everyone is here to learn, including the best of the best in the business.
Recently, Liz Strauss asked that same question. As the producer of Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference (SOBCon), the “Biz School for Bloggers,” she sits in a unique chair, able to bring together the folks on her dream list of blogging and social media experts and business professionals to her table. On May 1-3, 2009, that table will be filled in Chicago with 150 of the top industry leaders from around the world. Liz has had three years of this event to perfect her ideal dream team list.
The list of speakers is also my dream team list, people I know or want to know from among the world’s leading experts in the art of business and online communication. These are people I trust and respect, those who survived the painful early days of the Internet and development of blogging and lived to not only tell about it but set the gold standard. Chris Brogan, Julien Smith, Brian Clark, Liz Strauss, Brian Solis, Kali Evans-Raoul, KD Paine, Christine Kane, Geoff Nelson and Chris Aarons, Denise Wakeman, Wendy Piersall, David Bullock, Melissa Pierce, Michael Martine, Saul Colt, Lauren Freedman, Terry Starbucker, Glenda Watson Hyatt, Karen Putz, and Stephen Hopson are just the start of the 150 participants on the dream team list.
Add to that list the top sponsors such as Walmart, Allstate, Buzz Corps, blogcatalog, ittybiz, Beam Global, Summit Executive Centre, and others yet to be announced. Those are some top businesses investing in social media, folks I’m eager to meet and learn from, and maybe share a little of my own expertise.
Want more inspiration? Names like Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, Brian Solis, and Liz Strauss maybe familiar to you, as should be Wendy Piersall of SparkPlugging who took her eMoms at Home blog and turned it into a blogging network for parents and work-at-home professionals, but what about the others? Trust me, these are people you would want in that room sitting at your table.
On my personal list, Glenda Watson Hyatt, Karen Putz, and Stephen Hopson are the three speakers I’m most excited about participating in SOBCon. All are inspiring, motivational speakers. Most of all, they bring a very unique perspective to the online business community as representatives of the disabled community, proving to the world that there are no boundaries.
Glenda Watson Hyatt is known as the “Left Thumb Blogger” and author of the book, I’ll Do It Myself and the Do It Myself Blog. I featured her in “WordCamp Portland: How WordPress Changes Lives” talking about how blogging and WordPress changed her life by giving her a voice after her life with cerebral palsy condemned her to a label of “non-verbal.” She is an acclaimed blogger and accessibility expert and consultant, as well as public speaker, defying the doctors, medical and educational counselors and professionals who condemned her to an institutional life which her family also defied. She and her husband, Darrell, constantly fight against narrow-minded employers and businesses who only see their limitations not their unique skill sets as typical hard working folks trying to pay off their mortgage, travel, and save for retirement. “Just normal folks” is what she’d love you to believe, but I know She is currently working on a book on “Web Accessibility for Bloggers” and will not just be speaking at SOBCon but the upcoming Blog World Expo in Las Vegas and future WordCamps, proving to them all that “non-verbal” ain’t her style. She has a lot to say and blogging gave her that voice.
Karen Putz is known as the Deaf Mom, mother of three deaf and hard-of-hearing children. As an advocate for the deaf and contributor to Disaboom, Parenting Squad, and Chicago Moms Blog, and founder of Jobs, Careers and Callings, a job resource blog for the deaf and hearing impaired, Karen Putz takes on all obstacles that gets in the way of the hearing impaired, children, and world in general. She is well known for taking on Steak and Shake drive thru when they denied her service because she couldn’t use the drive up speaker. She blogged it and the online world took up arms in protest and support.
The fight for access is a never ending battle.
Stephen Hopson of the Adversity University Blog knows this battle well. As a Wall Street stockbroker whose life changed when he decided to start a blog in 2006 to share how he overcame adversity as a deaf business man in a hearing world, Stephen believes that no one is immune from adversity. While he is a living example, his greatest work comes in inspiring others to be their best and more as a public speaker and author. Stephen has always been fascinated by airplanes and in 2006 became the first instrument rated pilot in aviation history, and he continues to break the rules that people set before him.
Julien Smith was one of the first podcasters, involved with the web since 1995. His podcast, “Julien In Over Your Head,” was one of the first in Canada and is played on Sirius Satellite Radio. He continues to set the bar higher, challenging the rest of us to keep up with him.
Christine Kane is a well known, award winning songwriter and performer. She is also a Creativity Trainer, Coach and blogger, contracted by the US Federal Government to teach creativity to government leaders, as well as lead workshops on creativity and business for artists around the world. She is passionate about exploring all the edges of her art, even composing music for ballet. She is the a leader in the new era of transparency for celebrities, too, sharing her life lessons and experiences on her blog.
Lauren Freedman of e-tailing.com is a pioneer of e-commerce and author of It’s Just Shopping, considered one of the best books on online shopping. The “Survey Says: Customer Interaction Key to Online Sales,” cites her company’s “Mystery Shopper’s Survey” as one of the best resources for how to attract and keep online customers. Lauren researches the techniques, tactics, and methodology of online merchant sales strategies with clients such as Lowes Home Improvements, Lane Bryant, Crate and Barrel, Starbucks, Bloomingdales, and PetSmart.
David Bullock stood before the participants at SOBCon 2008 and admitted he wasn’t sure why he was there, then realized he was there to learn from the attendees, not lecture them. They stepped up to his challenge and helped him learn about how social media worked and directed him towards his next business steps, one of which was to study the value and market returns on social media strategies.
Just recently, he published Barack 2.0 – Barack Obama’s Social Media Strategy For Business, which analyzed the field model for deployment and tactical strategy for social media based upon a twelve month study of Obama’s presidential campaign, reconstructing what worked and what didn’t. He is also the producer of the SEO Rainmaker Seminar/Workshop and Taguchi Testing 101, both offering expertise on advertising optimization and marketing for businesses.
When I look at the list for this “Biz School for Bloggers,” I’m whelmed. These experts are on my list, and I’m going to get a chance to sit at the dream team table with them. What would your list look like if you were to put all the best of the best in blogging and social media together in one room?
Registration for SOBCon 2009 is now open with discounts for early bird registration. Come join our table.
Photo Credits: SobCon08 (Flickr Pool)
Author: Lorelle VanFossen
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.