Selective (Back) Networking: Kiss A Little Ass

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.

17 thoughts on “Selective (Back) Networking: Kiss A Little Ass

  1. That’s a bit vague Jill. If you PM me your site url I could offer some advice.

    I would suggest that you stop ‘giving’ it away and make people pay for access to the site.

  2. Hi Ryan,

    Just found your site, Stumbling, and I love this article. The problem I am having is that I have a site that is sort of like meets the Yellow Pages. But, it is all business people. I won’t link out of respect. But, here is my problem: All the business people that look at it love it, they say it is great, fills a void, etc…. (kissing my ass perhaps) I give them a promo code to join for free with a non-expiring membership and some certainly do join. But, so many people say they will and don’t. Or, they email periodically with “sorry, it is still on my to-do list…etc…

    I am trying to give away what people tell me is worth while but still having trouble. In the dating arena, men don’t go to the dating sites unless there are women, but women want to know they don’t outnumber the men on the site 100 to 1…translate that to business and there is my problem: it is hard to get the people to come to the site to find what they need if there aren’t people signing up to be hired.

    Any ideas ? from anyone ?

  3. That’s an interesting question. I like to think that i am good at anything i put my mind to. However to answer your question better, I have a background of being involved in software development and design. I know the other side of the outsourcing story because I work for an Indian Software Company.

  4. By favors do you mean dropping off your laundry? I usually do it Tuesday and Friday mornings.

    I think one of the reasons some bloggers don’t want to “suck up” to others is because they’re afraid of assisting the competition, at least that’s what was explained to me. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? I had a couple of enlightening discussions with some fellow bloggers the other day. One told me the reason more people don’t open a dialog with me (at that particular network) is that they’re intimidated because of FWJ and that thing. That’s bullshit. I started out small just like everyone else – and kissed some pretty big butts to get to where I am. And I still consider myself a rather small fish in the big pond.

    The other thing that was explained to me is that people don’t want to necessarily write about or link to more established blogs because they’re considered the competition. One person told me she never linked to my blog because she was afraid her readers would come to my blog and stay. More BS – there’s room in the blogosphere for everyone.

    I’m not as blunt as you and you said it way better than I ever could.

  5. Deb’s article was great, but I love your way of giving the low down on this part of blogging. Great advice for us newbs.

  6. I could spend the whole commenting on this thread For your sanity and mine, I’ll just add this:

    A lot of people are afraid to reach out and partner with others because they don’t want to give up control. That’s why you’ll see a lot of ‘solo’ entrepreneurs struggle because they didn’t want to attach themselves with someone more successful.

    Other times, the terms and context of the relationship isn’t good – some people just don’t work well when they don’t have a vested interest in a project, which is why you’ll see a lot of bloggers who sign up at a blog, write a few articles and then lose heart because they’re being paid per post while the owner is raking in thousands (if not tens of thousands) per month.

    I’ve been very lucky in my life to have someone successful whom I worked with, but I’ve also made the mistake I mentioned above of not being willing to commit to a cause where I didn’t have a tangible interest in.

    If you’re like me, then I would suggest that you work hard at finding the right type of relationships and agreements – because while you’ll always find people willing to network and make money, it’s harder to find people who are all genuinely interested in a project and are not in it just for the money.

    Money makes the world go around, yes, but without passion the people are going to go elsewhere.

  7. haha. i needed to make a post like this after coming back refreshed from a 4 day vacation.

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