Debng recently wrote of the importance of social networking. It’s true. Successful probloggers are the ones who find ways to engage their readers, and enter into long-running conversations with the greater internet community (rather than spitting out monologues).
I want to suggest that there’s another form of networking that most bloggers don’t know the first thing about or completely ignore.
I call it selective (back)networking and here’s the idea: the internet is just like any other human network. There are hierarchies of authority. If you want to be successful, you need to move up the hierarchy.
That probably sounds a bit disconcerting to some of the “democratic nature of the web” idealists out there, but there is no denying that power gets collected and wielded on the webernet. So how much power do you have?
See, what Deb says in her article is so very true. You need other people to be successful. But your network should not be an egalitarian one. Not all internet friends are created equal. Don’t deceive yourself.
The key to building a (back)network is to intentionally and selectively seek out people who 1) have power and leverage 2) are smart and capable and 3) are fair in their online relationships. By building up a social “backbone” of good friends in high-places, you’ll be able to execute your plans a lot faster, realize profit a lot quicker, and avoid burn-out a lot easier (ten shoulders are better than one).
“But Ryan Caldwell, you’re already successful. What about those of us who are just getting started?”
Suck up and kiss ass.
That’s it. That’s how you get into my good graces. Start doing me favors and I’ll send some love your way. Ask me to do you a favor before you’ve proven your worthiness to me, and I’ll ignore you. Completely and utterly ignore you. But if you’ve got something to offer me, something that I truly benefit from…then you’ve got a friend.
That’s how things work. I hate to speak the truth when it hurts a little. But it’s gotta be spoken. People use each other. That’s a fact. But this setup can be mutually benefitial and mutually rewarding.
The trick to building a selective (back)network is to identify people that you want as part of your social backbone. Bend over backwards to show that you’ve got something worthwhile to offer. And pretty soon your load will be lightened. You’ll be in good company.
So if you’re just starting out here’s my advice: kiss a little ass. The payoff is huge.