Anastasia Ashman
December 26, 2013

The Great Big Social Networking Experiment

You’re building a global network. Today, we all are.

Most of us have never built a global network before. We’ve never had the vast capability that we now have thanks to social technologies.

No wonder we don’t know what we’re doing.

It’s all an experiment. Trial — and error. And the stakes are getting higher every day as we have the ability to impact larger numbers of people. (A little bellyflop can make big waves, you’ve seen the headlines.)

It’s also happening faster than ever. According to former Virgin America Marketing VP Porter Gale, only two or three degrees now separate us from other social technology users. Combine those smaller degrees of separation with the larger spheres of influence we enjoy and you’ve got an accelerated network.

“That’s going to increase with upgrades in the technology,” says Gale, author of Your Network Is Your Net Worth.

Technology makes your global network possible but the results you want come from something more than the tools you use.

Your network is built on how you’re using those tools. What’s really going to accelerate the building of our global network is how we’re using the technology.

It may seem like it’s trial and error all over the place both with the tech and how you use it. Saying the wrong thing. Sharing a broken link. Signing up for a service you never use again. Not being able to get the photo to show up. Getting some negative feedback on a post and avoiding that corner of the Internet for weeks.

It’s lucky we have a natural guidance system to help find our way as online communicators.

That’s our human instinct for connection. We recoil from things and people that don’t feel right, for instance, a site where the comment section is poisonous or a feed where someone shoves sales pitches at us. We draw closer to what fascinates and entertains us, for instance, all those pages and people we’re bookmarking and pinning — and those blogs and newsletters we subscribe to even though we’re way oversubscribed already because it spoke to us so, so well.

Especially important in an attention-deficient digital world, we need to bring what makes us a person people want to connect to. Advertising personality and Fascinate author Sally Hogshead counts seven triggers to persuasion and captivation. Determine which ones come naturally to you.

If social networking is building relationships over time, then we’re just experimenting with tech to do what we’d normally do.

That’s why Brian Solis, new media analyst and author of Engage, says that “Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.

Ultimately, in this big social networking experiment of connection and sharing, networks are cocreated by people who want to be closer to each other and make something happen. I’ll be talking more about my own journey with global community building as a solopreneur, in this weekly series for Curatti. In an upcoming post I’ll also delve deeper into what I see as a new kind resilience we need to adopt in this digital realm of constant experimentation. In the meantime, what are you learning about this great big experiment?

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Anastasia Ashman

Social Community Builder at Selfish, Inc.
Digital life trailblazer. Author/editor/producer agented by Foundry Literary & Media. Entrepreneur drawing on New York publishing & Hollywood entertainment industry experience with unique global dexterity from 14 years of international living. Connecting people through content and culture, empowering you around the web's new vulnerability, visibility and voice. Get my on-demand, self-paced GlobalNiche social web curriculum for free.

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