Template for Building a Small Powerful Network

networkThis post is somewhat inspired by a thought Jeff Pulver tossed out as an aside at his Social Media Jungle prototype in Long Island a few weeks ago. Hat tip to you, Jeff.

Jeff Pulver said this: “We’re making our own dial tone.” In such a typical Jeff Pulver way, he tossed out a little idea that had been bouncing around his head, but that he hasn’t rolled into any particular context yet, so I’m going to run with it. I’ve got an idea that came to me tonight about Twitter (amongst other social networks), and I’m going to share it with you: take that dial tone idea and build your own network. We’re sitting on something because we’re still in the “gee whiz” mode. Let me explain.

Where We Falter – Solo Efforts Versus Scale

I asked Twitter tonight about what people were working on for goals. Several people had remarkably similar goals, including, sadly, the fact that several of them were looking for work. 2008 is the easy year compared to what 2009 is going to be. I saw the same thing passing through everyone’s stream, and I saw connectivity that would be missed. And that’s when it stuck me. I tweeted this:

Do you realize there are thousands of great minds all plugged into the same conversation who could help each other with your goals? Activate

The trick is this- don’t make me or anyone the hub. Lead. Find your groups. Reach out. Set group goals. Execute. Move to a new group. Fluid.

You see, you’re all out there. You’ve got goals, you’ve got needs, you’ve got sources of information, and you have the tools to connect it all. You’ve got every piece of a network except for the directors.

So, what if you had the templates to building a small but powerful network? Here’s my starting ideas on this. I’ll talk in somewhat technical terms, but I promise this has everything to do with the human elements. I hope it sparks something in you. More so, I hope you run with it.

Build a Small Powerful Network

  1. First, think about your goals in 2009. Build the network with two purposes on mind: how you can achieve your goals, and how you can help others achieve theirs.
  2. You need authentication in a network. Start with a blog as a home base. Make it such that your about page tells people lots about you.
  3. It doesn’t hurt to have a picture of YOU on the blog, as this will deal with building a trusted network.
  4. Start a Google Doc spreadsheet with the following fields: name, twitter ID, cell, capabilities, notes. Think of this as your routing table, your database of records of where resources reside.
  5. Ask some probing questions on Twitter. If no one responds, ask again. See if there’s interest out there. What you’re doing at this point is sending out a signal that you’re looking for resources. (Like a computer, only you’re human.)
  6. Use Twitter Search to find some like-minded people. Work at this. Try all different kinds of queries until you find the right response.
  7. Send @ messages to these types of people. Ask them if they want to talk about collaborating.
  8. Invite them to your document, if you want. Let them share the resources. Get them into the mix.
  9. From here, collaborate. Figure out how you can helpful. Understand each other’s needs, and share the resources. Try to build your goals and businesses together.

It’s not exactly simple. But to me, it’s all there. You build the mechanisms (very simple ones), and you go after the goals together. You can feed it. You can encourage the edge points of the network (the other people) to be their own hub. You can build out more capabilities.

Scribbles from The Sidebar

What if you thought of these small networks in terms of games? Games have goals. They have a point. What if you set goals and points to these networks? What if you went at this network-building and empowerment as something very active, instead of using tools like Twitter as another place to chat?

In 2009, you need your networks. It is not a solo act. I need mine, too. And I plan to do exactly what I’ve laid out here.

Does it make sense? Can you see this as a template for how you might start getting your goals met for 2009? Are you planning to ally and make new relationships? What do you think?

Photo credit, Jared

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