Friday, September 16, 2011

build your relationships with purpose.

Katrina, Stephanie & Cath
Do you ever feel like you have too many "friends" on Facebook? Not remember why you decided to follow someone on Twitter? It's easy to feel like your digital life is cluttered. As a writer, I tend to lean towards the attitude of the more friends the better. It's more about social networking than building solid friendships for me. Or is it? Perhaps there are important relationships to be built that I just don't know about yet. Yesterday I attended the #140 conference in Kitchener, Ontario. I knew some of the people who were attending, which was a relief (I find it stressful when I don't see any familiar faces). I "met" a whole lot of new people. And by met, I mean, I heard them speak about topics which they are passionate about and then followed them on twitter and told them how much I dug their presentations.

In 140 characters, I reached out and let someone know that I valued their ideas and wanted to hear more from them. That's powerful, no? The beauty of social media isn't that companies can get you to "like" them on Facebook so that you can get access to exclusive coupons. The beauty of social media is that one person, with one idea, can reach millions of people and start a meaningful discussion. It means that I can tell one little boy's story and influence researchers, doctors, families with children with autism,  and sometimes just people who find joy in appreciating the small things. Or maybe reading about Max helps someone know that they aren't alone in this journey. I may never know that my writing about Max has made a difference in someone's life. The only thing I can be sure if is that writing about Max has made a difference in my life. Either way, I figure everybody wins.

As I expand my network, be it through Facebook, Twitter, conferences or real life, I make a conscious decision about who I am going to build relationships with - who I am going to "let in". Of course, the opposite is true as well -- when people meet me, they will decide if I am worthy of building a relationship with. Yesterday was a terrific reminder of how we can all use social media to make a profound difference in our world and how we can make meaningful connections so long as we manage our influence over those we reach, responsibly. Never forget, as Jeff Pulver so eloquently said in his opening address "We're living in a time where 100s of millions can find each other from one single idea, one single voice". Here, here!


  1. Thanks for coming and sharing the day with us!

  2. Great day wasn't it? Reinforced the importance of community and how much involvement can be such a positive thing. Good to see you (although briefly!)

  3. After watching the stream video I wished I had gone. Thank goodness the message came across to me.