The Most Important Factor of Your Personal Network

Oct 3, 2008

Dan Schawbel recently wrote about the number of friends vs quality of each friend. It’s an interesting post, that you should check out. His conclusion was this.

You need both volume and quality. You cannot substitute one for the other. To win the personal eBranding game, you must be hyper-connected, yet maintain relationships with 20% of your network that will provide you with 80% of the value you need (80/20 rule of networking).”

Personally, though, I’m on the fence about this. Yes, I do see where he’s coming from. There’s definitely value in having volume. I don’t think anyone can argue against that.

But there is one factor that I want to bring up, that I think is more important than both the quality of the relationships and the number of friends. I think what is most important is who your friends are, as Seth Godin has touched on before.

In his video podcast, Dan mentioned the example that if you were looking to hire someone, you are more likely to hire someone with 500 connections on LinkedIn than someone with just 5 connections. The number of connections give credibility to your personal brand.

While that is true, to an extent, I would say that who is in your network lends even more credibility. Would you rather hire someone with recognized thought leaders in their network or someone who’s netwrk consists of just their high school classmates?

I believe you’ll gain more – in terms of the credibility it gives to your personal brand, the opportunities that will arise, etc – from having recognized thought leaders in your network. You might have more high school classmates, and you might have a closer relationship with your high school classmates, but I think that the network of your high school classmates might not be as valuable (unless your high school classmates are recognized experts in their field, of course).

As Dan mentioned, “the more connected you are, the better the chance that an opportunity will arise.” But even more so, if you are connected to the right people, there’s an even better chance that an opportunity will arise.

So, yes, you should continue to try and “become more social online and offline in order to maximize those numbers and befriend more individuals in the process”, as Dan suggested. But that should be done one at a time, and with a focus on who you are befriending.

What do you think is the most important part of your personal network? How do you build your network so that it provides the most value for you?

What I want Social Media Breakfast: Singapore to be

May 26, 2008

On Saturday, 24 May, Daryl, Sheylara, Brad and I hosted the second Social Media Breakfast. I want to thank all who came, and my apologies for not being able to talk to all of you. If you were there but we didn’t manage to talk, feel free to connect with me online – all my contact details are on my blog sidebar.

Daryl posted about the successes and the failures of the event, and it got me thinking. When we first started this, it was more of a “make it up as we go along” kind of thing. We never really firmed up what we wanted from it.

So here’s my opinion on the topic. Disclaimer: this is just my personal opinion of why I wanted to start this. It doesn’t represent the whole group or community. So feel free to disagree.

To me, the Social Media Breakfast is a way to build real, deeper relationships. It’s about making friends (Friends with a capital F), not just about business contacts or networking per se. That’s why I like it with the informal format. I think there are lots of networking sessions out there where you can meet really intelligent people and have good discussions. They are all well and good, and there’s a place for all that.

But I want this to be more than that. I want it to be about building deeper, more personal friendships. I want it to be a place where you can meet and catch up with friends, and build personal relationships and just have fun together.

It’s very easy for us to get caught up with work and with the online social world – our blogs, Twitter, etc. But no matter how personal our blogs or tools like Twitter are, they can’t replicate or replace the personal connections made through real life interactions.

And that’s what I want the Social Media Breakfast to provide. A platform to bring the social back, as CC Chapman put it.

Yes, when you gather intelligent, passionate people (like all who were at the event) together, there are bound to be interesting discussions that get you thinking. But that isn’t what I want the main focus of it to be. I would like the main focus of the Social Media Breakfast to be the relationships built, not the discussions that took place.

Once again, though. That’s just my opinion, and I’m just one person. So from you guys, especially those who have been to one of the first two breakfasts, what do you want from Social Media Breakfast: Singapore?