Previously I talked about the cattle herding going on in the digital space of online marketing (see above blog here). The cattle drive is an analogy of following trends that the marketing (so-called) experts are purposing on everyone who spends their energy online trying to grow their business.
Projects are endless in number. The pursuit of metrics through numbers of viewers, listens, streams, followers, and so on leads to an insatiable appetite for imitation connection. How real is that? How strong is the grip we have on reality?
Questions we need to answers individually to see how truly connected we are
If the Internet broke today would all of the connection we have disappear, or would we simply move our meet up spot to a new location? Do we have the real connection with our communities to be able to talk to each other like fellow people, fellow creators of value and respect? Can we call our community friends and congregate in the middle of town square and they show up?
Connection is what the Internet is supposed to provide, and has for a long time. We are the ones who actually either gain the connection or lose it. It all happens by how we truly and legitimately engage with people.
This is the same reason that my friend Kelley McRae can post that her Kickstarter campaign start and reach 35% of her goal in the first day, complete the whole goal 2 weeks before it ends, and continue to grow her fan base connection throughout the entire process. Spend any amount of time with her and her husband Matt and you’re connecting with a real person who sees you and values you.
By seeing and valuing individual people, treating each member of their community as someone who matters is a choice made by individuals is how artists like Kelley achieve real connection. It’s not a matter of where that interaction takes place. Connect online, in a living room at a house show, at a coffee shop or your favorite pub, or outside in a park. The connection location doesn’t matter. Your heart’s focus does.
So what if the Internet breaks?
If the Internet broke today, the majority of artists, entrepreneurs, and business people who have made the Web their source of connection would be instantly AWOL. The Web is all they have, and the games they play everyday to “stay on top” in their business (or social media whatnot) are limited to this infinite yet tiny digital space. Ultimately this matters little in the grand scheme of things.
Instead, those who have the capacity (and have made the decision) to see and value others will find that doorways are always open to them. Amanda Palmer is one good example of this. My close friend and mentor Bird Thomas is another great example. Both people focus on seeing and valuing the people in their worlds. It makes a HUGE difference.
This method of approaching people isn’t common. Those who attempt to fake their way into our hearts are reviled more than those who simply just want see us as a number to add to the follower docket.
Valuing people is hard to fake, and difficult to manipulate. Yet there is a good chance that as we move forward into this digital space where everyone is seeking numbers (audience size as a digit instead of a connection value), things are going to change. They will be drawn into groups of individuals who value them. As faking connection loses traction, some marketers will try to hack the interconnected method too.
However, we know what real connection feels like. We know what real community builders look like. We’ve experienced them because they’re uncommon and sincere. We’ve felt the glory they bring to the people they see, and nothing else can compare. Individuals matter in a truly connected community.
The Internet can break right now and never come back, never have the pieces put back together and our communities will still thrive because they’re built around interaction, communication, and the value of each member. Numbers alone have little value in a place like this, but in the end who is caring about that?
This is why relationship building and networking is such a regular focus here on this blog, and it my podcasts, book, videos and everything else. In the end, we need each other to have anything worth building. As you set out to build your platform, think about the community you’re actually connected with. What actions are you going to take to strengthen those relationships so that the numbers aren’t the metric that matters (because numbers matter in accounting but not in fulfillment).
Hey, this is big stuff and it’s not something that we necessarily figure out in a moment. I’m honestly still figuring this out. Let’s figure it out together. Message me and we’ll talk.