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March 10, 2010

Nightclub ...

I grew up in a small town in Surrey.

On the main road into town, there was a night club set back from the road, with a large car park in front of it.

No matter what time of night or day of the week that I drove past the club, the car park was almost always virtually empty. I wondered how the club could stay in business and, sure enough, it came to the point where it was decided to close the club down.

I had a birthday coming up, so I decided to hire the club for my celebrations.

On the night of my birthday party, the car park was full with all my friends cars.

Something interesting happened.

I kept getting called to the door by the bouncers to verify whether someone was a guest of mine or not!

As the party was in full swing, the majority of the late-comers weren't my friends, but they all said the same thing:

"We saw that there was a party going on here, the car park was full, so we wanted to see if we could get in".

I'd like to use this story to present a different view for on-line "noise".

I believe that, without noise, there is no party going on! Therefore, in my book, noise is good.

"The abundance upon which the network economy is built is one of opportunity". ~ Kevin Kelly

If someone stops by your forum and sees that there is very little action on it (very little up-dating of posts), they will move on.

If someone stops by your blog and sees that no-one comments on it, then they will move along.

If someone checks out your twitter account and sees that you very rarely tweet and you have few followers, they will possibly think twice about following you. You are not very engaged in the party.

... and if you yourself don't drive past the carpark, you will never know where the party is.

You see, in the on-line world, success breeds success.

People like to herd, they like to go to the hottest place in town, the place where all the noise is. That is no different to the off-line world.

To quote the American thought leader, Kevin Kelly:

"The first thing the network economy reforms is our identity.

The vital distinction between the self (us) and the nonself (them)—once exemplified by the fierce loyalty of the organization man in the industrial era—becomes less meaningful in a network economy. The only "inside" now is whether you are on the network or off.

Individual allegiance moves away from firms and toward networks and network platforms.

Social communications are still in their infancy. Isn't that an incredible opportunity for you to start your own party?

Or are you going to be one of the "late-comers" who turns up when the party is in full swing?

The secret is to understand how to get the first 40 cars into your carpark - metaphorically speaking. smile

Hint: Feed the web first.

Hint: Is it easy to find the way to your nightclub?

Hint: Is your nightclub free to enter and, as the host, are you accessible and easy to connect with? Are you in the conversation?

Hint: Don't cull the people trying to get through the door.

Once you have got the first few cars (advocates) into your car park, your on-line party will gain momentum and take care of itself.

Understand: this has nothing to do with social media. Too many people get too hung up that social media is the answer. It's not. Social media is opening the bar in the nightclub, but you have to have a nightclub in the first place, and you have to "pipe" the traffic to your club. What we are talking about here is much bigger than social media. We are talking about piping the 31 billion searches on google every month and directing them to where you want them to go.

If you want to get your party together, then you need to stop focussing on social media, and start focussing on how to "pipe" the social web. There's no point building a fantastic nightclub in the middle of the Gobi desert. The web is people, not technology.

Find your own space, and create your own party ... and don't forget to invite me!

Thank you for stopping by my party. If you would like to leverage the many years that I have particpated in building on-line community for your business, then please consider my "How to implement a social media strategy for your business" training day. I have a few places left on my training day which is happening this Friday in Guildford. Click >>> here for details.

Every ecademist who books on will also receive a bonus - one hour of complimentary Twitter mentoring with my Twitter-holic wife, Vanessa! She will show you her strategies for building a targetted Twitter following and leveraging the power of Twitter in a social manner to create visibility and credibility. Business will be a by-product of that.

On the 24th March, I am also running the inaugural Surrey Social Media Tribes event, for those of you looking to get the best out of LinkedIn. Full details >>> here.

I have another party going on on my Property Tribes forum. Everyone with an interest in property is very welcome over there.



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