Top Five Tools for Listening on the Social Web - Online Fundraising, Advocacy, and Social Media - frogloop
Small Change Matters: Tweet It. Gladwell.

Connect. Relationship. Engagement. Is that the path?

Turning connections into relationships is the essence of “engagement” and we’ll be covering that (a lot) in future posts. In the end, what it really comes down to is practicing much of what we’ve been taught since we were kids. Engagement and building relationships are about “meeting people halfway”... Both sides have to reach out in order to meet each other. It’s a given-and-get world and the sooner we center ourselves in this relating, the happier and more effective we are – both as individuals and as organizations.
Gideon Rosenblatt is opening up his pen again on networks, connections and engagement. Gideon is one of the really smart people exploring the intersection of network theory and social movements.  I am excited to read more.  Although out of the blocks, I find myself disagreeing with some of his starting thoughts....
Two reactions to his good post...
1. Advocacy networks are not social networks. Social engagement and civic engagement are different beast entirely. If you invest in social networks you get social outcomes. Some social outcomes can be leveraged for advocacy. However, it is totally appropriate for people who have no social ties with each other or any relationship with each other to be able to work together on social agenda. There are people who want to work on climate change that I will never like nor would I ever want to sit down at the dinner table with them. Conversly, I have family members that I love and would bleed for but we do not see eye to eye on a single social issue.
Turning connections to relationships then relationships to engagement might not be the right path. Seeking engagement that is based on connection is the opportunity of our time.

2. I am really interested in the idea that both engagement and relationships are scaling virtually.

I forget where I was reading it but I ran across a quote that kept me thinking. human beings are the only species that can make up arbitrary symbols and give them value. Things like art, currency, neighborhoods, brand names, even the concept of the tribe or nation. We make these up. We make them real. They all evolved from something real and tangible but have unique charateristics that allow us to share , move, exhange and trade them.

Just as if you went back to an early silk trader and offered them some google stock or money deposited into a bank they would think we were trying to rip them off.  Today, I think there is a similar disconnect of relationship with the symbol of relationship. While this seems like a ripoff to those of us that are used to trading silk. symbols of connection among individuals may open up new opportunities to scale relationship and connection to numbers, cluot, voice and value across borders as never before.

We see the beginning of  scaleable human connections now. It may take anther decade or more before we really understand what it means I may take another 10 decades before people actually believe you can be connected to 1 million people do something successful them. However, I don’t see the trend reversing and I feel a lot of optimism about a more connected humanity.