Managing Connections In The Digital World

Digital Connections

One of the founding principles of this site is that you need to create awesome connections. I haven’t talked about this much so far, instead focusing on getting you in to the creative mindset.

Now it’s time to start addressing the core concepts at the heart of Digital World Changing.

By way of introduction, I would like to highlight some fascinating theories about social connections.

Invariably these involve numbers, but don’t be fooled in to thinking that the size of your Twitter following or your number of friends on Facebook is what is needed here. Like many things in life, it is quality not quantity that is most important when it comes to your connections.

These theories are by no means discovered for the first time here, I have simply gathered them together and presented them for you in a single resource for you to use.

Dunbars Number – 150 People

Dunbars number is a theory that the most people your brain can manage social relationships with is 150. I won’t go in to details here about the mechanics and study behind the theory, you can read that here.

What it does present us with is an interesting concept. In a quest to gain as many readers, followers or viewers as possible to your digital content, how many of them can you really have meaningful relationships with? This is certainly something worth exploring, but always keep in mind that it is the quality not the quantity of your connections that makes the difference.

Remember that in the digital world, although 150 seems like a small number when you can easily broadcast to thousands, it does not mean that everyone hears what you have to say.

The Influence of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn

This may be a simple quote but I think that the words behind it have incredibly powerful meaning.

Think about the people that you spend the most time with.

Are these the people who are helping you get to where you want to be? If not, it might be time to change your inner circle to include those people that will have a greater impact on your life.

The Friendship Paradox

The friendship paradox, as observed by the sociologist Scott L. Field shows that your friends will (usually) have more friends than you.

This make sense really, as people with more friends are more likely to have you in their friendship group.

1,000 True Fans

More recently there has been a movement picked up by on and offline creatives alike, and that movement is the one that focuses on finding 1,000 true fans.

The now legendary article by Kevin Kelly explains how each artist only needs 1,000 true fans to make a comfortable living.

While the theory has been both hailed and revered, it is that it is an interesting concept, and you only have to do a few versions of maths to see some interesting numbers.

333 Project

When I first heard of the maths behind Ev Bogue’s 333 Project my mind was blown.

It’s why, in Internet Marketing circles the subscription model is heralded as the thing to go for, and it makes for fascinating reading. It just takes 333 people to pay $25 per month for you to make $100,000 per year.

Think about this for a moment. 333 isn’t that many, and $25 isn’t that much. Of course for that $25 per month you need to be able to provide amazing value.

Perhaps you need to shoot for 150, so you can have deeper connections, and they would then have to pay you more for the extra value that you could provide from having a deeper interaction with them.

The Opportunity

The reason why the above and the associated maths, metrics and the possible algorithms behind them are studied so much in digital circles is because of the seemingly infinite possibility of the web.

When you are on a digital world changing mission then you have the possibility of the world at your finger tips.

No matter which of the theories, or numbers you go for above, it is inevitable that the only way you are going to be able to work towards more success is to create that amazing value for those awesome connections that you make.

The First Step

The first step that you need to take should not concern you with any more than one person. It is all to easy to forget the people who got you to where you are as your influence starts to grow.

There is no point in me typing out what Derek Sivers can explain so eloquently and simply in this TED talk.

Actions For Digital World Changers

  • Create something worth spreading and get it out in to the world.
  • Look after that first follower. Nurture them and you influence will grow, helping you to spread your message.
  • Continue to build your army.
  • Be patient. Don’t worry when few people follow your cause. Quality not quantity.
  • Keep going.
What’s been your experience of these theories in practice in the digital world? Please leave a comment and us know.

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13 Responses to Managing Connections In The Digital World

  1. DustBunnyMafia October 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I like the overall idea of this post, but it was a little hard to follow for me. You threw out a bunch of different theories behind managing connections with a bunch of numbers and then at the end it felt lacking a big push towards the next step. This is just my opinion though.

    • cjstott October 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

      @DustBunnyMafia Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

      I think you might be right. The purpose of this post is to introduce some of the main concepts around connecting with people in the digital world – a brief literary review if you like.

      I guess the next step is me bringing you actionable content around that, which I am yet to do in upcoming posts.

      Does anyone else have any feedback on the structure of the post?

    • cjstott October 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

      @DustBunnyMafia Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

      I think you might be right. The purpose of this post is to introduce some of the main concepts around connecting with people in the digital world – a brief literary review if you like.

      I guess the next step is me bringing you actionable content around that, which I am yet to do in upcoming posts.

      Does anyone else have any feedback on the structure of the post?

    • cjstott October 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

      @DustBunnyMafia Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

      I think you might be right. The purpose of this post is to introduce some of the main concepts around connecting with people in the digital world – a brief literary review if you like.

      I guess the next step is me bringing you actionable content around that, which I am yet to do in upcoming posts.

      Does anyone else have any feedback on the structure of the post?

  2. blessedbohemian October 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I think the Sivers post at the end IS the big push … Chris turned me on to Sivers’ blog and I love it, and the first time I saw that video I was in tears. I think it must mean different things for different people …Great post, Chris. = )

    • cjstott October 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      @blessedbohemian Thanks Matthew. sivers is the man – I love how he makes these things simple to understand, something I strive for.

      • DustBunnyMafia October 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

        @cjstott@blessedbohemiansivers I will say that I did not see the video at first (due to my connection), now revisiting the post after viewing the video, it makes a lot more sense.

      • DustBunnyMafia October 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

        @cjstott@blessedbohemiansivers I will say that I did not see the video at first (due to my connection), now revisiting the post after viewing the video, it makes a lot more sense.

  3. tangentcity October 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    I think if the structure of this post might seem a little out-of-focus it’s because of the almost paradoxical point you’re trying to make: The internet is all about “seemingly infinite possibility”, which leads some to think it’s a numbers game only. But online connections are really about individual relationships. There’s a numbers game here too, but the number you need to make a living is surprisingly small, and not as important as the value you provide to individuals. Makes sense to me.

    • cjstott October 18, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      @tangentcity Brilliant. You summarised it far better than I did!

  4. Ross Collicutt October 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Great post Chris. I’ve definitely heard about 150 people, 1,000 true fans and the 5 people you hang out with most. They’re all similar but different. You can really apply them all in different situations.

    I’d say thinking about the 5 people you hang out with most is one of the most important. That alone can take your thinking and creative output from random to organized and worthwhile.

    • cjstott October 20, 2011 at 9:14 am #

      @Ross Collicutt Glad you enjoyed it. I thought it was worth summarising these concepts for people who might not have come across them before.

      I agree, the 5 people one is the most important (but many people focus on the money goal of 1000 true fans). The issue, for many, is whether these 5 people are real or virtual. Increasingly people who share your views many be online (reference Seth Godin: We are all weird) – but if you put the effort in, you can often find these people locally too.

      • Ross Collicutt October 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

        @cjstott That’s hit it right there. I’m finding more and more people online that are doing something similar. At the same time I’ve been looking offline to find a group there and it’s been very hard. I don’t live in a very big city and it’s very hard to find bloggers and people making products online. That’s part of the reason why I was so excited for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit to meet a huge number of entrepreneurs in the same area.

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