COM0011 Blog Post #2: How popular do you need to be?

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I’ve been reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Of all the books on our recommended reading list, I’m enjoying this one the most, so far. They introduce some interesting ideas in Chapter 2: Make Your Own Game:

1) Friends and followers:  Will I Get One Million Followers? is the question posed by an article on-line by Wired.com. It’s easy to believe that the number of friends or followers we have on social media equates to our success, but the writers state that this is not necessarily true, and more pointedly that it’s not considered a good metric of feedback. Their reasoning is that it’s just too easy to accept followers or friends. I was wondering this myself as I’m a newbie to Twitter and have so far amassed just over 50 followers. How do I judge what this means? Does it mean that people find my tweets interesting, or are they looking to amass more followers for themselves and follow me in hopes that I will follow them? Apparently, some of the newer social media networks encourage “having a small, intimate, actionable list of connections …” The writers conclude by saying: “No matter whether you have lots of connections or few, don’t use this as a measure of your success online.” Whew!  So much of the hypeout there suggests the opposite.

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2) Secondly, the writers link success in business (or whatever your chosen endeavor) to games, but more specifically, to the fact that the games people enjoy the most are those that have goals in mind. “Seeing life as a game allows you to see the map, to see where you’re going,” they write. I particularly like the example of Michael Jordon and basketball. “‘I’m good at basketball because I practice shooting.'”, meaning that it’s often the slow, daily practice that leads to success, rather than a quick shortcut, that makes progress happen. It’s the old tortoise and the hare story, and it even applies to the fast world of social media 🙂

I think what this all comes down to is that human beings, by nature, are attracted to substance over style. Ultimately, we all seek meaning in our lives. Most of us have a fairly good eye for separating treasures from junk. It’s nice to know we can relax a bit from the pressure to attract a mass following and, instead, focus our energy on our goals and the quality of our contributions.

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