We can’t micro-manage our network or you can’t please all the people

As you all know I care very much about reputation – not just mine but those who I like and think should be more careful. So as far as I am concerned, I don’t like open criticism of other individuals, any sort of abuse, and definitely no swearing.

That’s my opinion and how I feel about my network, and how people see me. I accept that some people do swear on-line and for some it is important to their reputation if they wish to appear (how shall I put this?) robust and combative and perhaps with their culture, by which I mean the people they mix with in a heavy or even heavy metal sort of way. So, if I go to a blog where there is a lot of swearing, I accept it. “When in Rome…” etc. but I can then leave and very likely will. It’s a bit like complaining about a TV programme when we have the off-switch or the zapper to change the channel. If we don’t like it, leave.

Just the same, I don’t work in that sort of edgy medium, and prefer to concentrate on business and on my business network. I have unfollowed people on Twitter because they used the “f” word all the time, and instantly when someone typed something even worse.

We don’t have to be boring just because we don’t swear and we don’t abuse others. As long as we add value, we should keep our connections. Well, mostly…

Sometimes we are seen to hang with a person whom another networker really doesn’t like. That other networker may take against us because of it. The dislike may be mainly about the personality of our friend, or their on-line or off-line way of doing business or promoting themselves.

For me, maintaining relationships with my business colleagues on-line is important, especially if we are really doing business together. However, recently someone whom I greatly respect, indeed like, told me he had unfollowed me on Twitter because I RTed (odd verb) someone he really didn’t like. Apparently I do it (RT the person) quite often too. I don’t know who he means and it would be silly to speculate. Fortunately my unfollower and I are still connected on Facebook for which I am thankful.

I can’t control absolutely everything people think about me. Nor can anyone else. Chris Brogan (but I am sure I don’t have to explain who he is) has apparently upset someone who thinks that he has changed his blogging approach towards selling more stuff. Other people don’t like it either.

I like Chris and have learned a lot from him. I think he has shifted his business model a bit, but who hasn’t? I have in the nearly nine years I have been running my independent businesses. We adapt to our market and for Goodness’ Sake, we are in business to make money. Free stuff is fine and you can find plenty of it on my other site and here.

You will still get free stuff from me and I know you will get it from Chris. I will still follow him and read his blog. I will learn from seeing how he adapts to his needs in a changing market. I will actually contribute to his income through Third Tribe of which I am a member. What I won’t learn there or anywhere else is how to manage what individual people think of me.

You can’t please all the people all of the time. Can you?

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Thank you for the music!

I have had a very enjoyable year writing this blog and my other ones. If the truth be known, I mainly write these days because I enjoy it and because I hope the odd nugget might be useful.

I suppose I started blogging partly to raise my profile, and for the Google effect; as a marketing tool. I soon found that I enjoyed writing, unexpectedly it was good for my ego to have a voice. I also find it useful in my general thought process and even relaxing. Although the marketing matters to me, a very welcome side effect is the therapeutic value is in crystallising my thought and getting new ideas. Seth Godin has written about this.

I have learned a huge amount from others and I am sure there is a lot more to discover. We can never know enough about anything which excites us. Apart from Seth, there are others who have helped me a great deal, whether they know it or not, although I know they all set out to help. That’s what good bloggers do; it is not about selling, though any business which comes along is very welcome. I hope I am helping too.

It is difficult knowing whom to thank because some deserving people will be left out. If you feel left out, don’t worry because I do appreciate you. So aside from thanking my wife, my family, my agent and our cats I wish to pay tribute to those from whom I have learned:

Chris Brogan, and I recommend this

Jim Connolly

Su Butcher

Andrew Lock whose video blog Help! My Business Sucks makes me laugh as well as having some useful reminders

Sarah Arrow who allowed me to guest post on Birds on the Blog

You would have been disappointed if with the title above I hadn’t given you this too so as it is so appropriate:

PS. Actually I don’t have an agent yet.

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Riding the wave

So if we move with the times, let’s enjoy ourselves. If you are reading this you probably know that I have quite a significant on-line presence. I cannot claim to be one of the big hitters like Chris Brogan or Guy Kawasaki or even one of the biggest in the county where I am based, but I do try hard. Of course I do that because I know that on-line marketing is absolutely vital, and that includes all the social media stuff, but to tell the truth I also do it because it is fun.

It is fun, isn’t it? We have to keep reading, absorbing, learning and trying every new thing. Some innovative ideas never really get of the ground (like Google Wave) but we give it a go and see what happens. Even the stuff that comes to naught keeps us sharp.

In the past year or so I have moved from just using the on-line websites and having a static website to being a serious blogger (because I like it and it works), to learning a lot about WordPress though I need to learn a lot more. I have tried many different platforms and some I like and some I don’t. We just need to understand what works for business and if that brings some fun, it is just great.

The on-line marketing has made business so much more exciting and for me so much less isolated, because with Twitter and the various forums we have so much worthwhile conversation. Do you think I am getting carried away? Well, I am riding the wave or one of them, and if I fall off there is another right behind.

It is all so exhilarating isn’t it, and all the better when the money comes in? What do you think?

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You are more versatile than you think

As we know, there is far less job security these days. It is not just because of the recession and hard economic times. There is less of a tradition of working for one employer one’s whole life. People tend to want to move and somehow the entire job market has changed. This was a process which started twenty or thirty years ago.

What we now have is choices. We can be independent. We can work for ourselves. We have broadband. We can run several businesses at the same time. We may need to to earn a decent living. Life is good, or it can be if we make it. Don’t be afraid. The future is ours, and it is different.

I am not the only one to think so. Look at portfoliocareers.net (not an affiliate link) and also listen to Chris Brogan’s thoughts.

Do you agree? What do you think?

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Related posts:

Have we bred a dependent society?

Realism, job seeking and cats

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How I tailor my business purchases and strategies to my needs

An alternative title to this post might be “How I run an introverted business in an extroverted way” since the two are inter-linked.

My business is for the most part involved in dealing with tax issues. There is some flair required, but no artistic ability. That means that in terms of hardware, I have what I need, and invest in the literal sense in what is required. In my case that means a Windows-based network to run the specialist software I need to buy. There is no equivalent for say Mac or indeed for a Linux system, so I use Windows and on the whole it is reliable. Yes, I could use a Windows emulator but it would be an additional risk to data.

I do like gadgets. If I had the resources and I thought it made sense I would have a Mac, an iPhone, and iPad, an iPod and every new toy possible, but maybe I am a bit conservative. Though I could claim most of them for business expense purposes, in reality it would not wash with my conscience. I content myself with having loaded Ubuntu on two old machines both over eight years old which are not worth a bean now but are much happier with the lighter requirements of Linux. They can still function well though they would not manage with their old Windows systems in the modern world.

My point is that I do not invest more money than I think I need to to take the business forward. I try not to invest too little either.

However, I do think it well worth targeting on-line presence with some investment, both financially and in terms of time. My websites and indeed my blogs will be undergoing a makeover very soon which is where the financial investment is coming in. I need to be noticed as we all do.

So I am active in social media,and of course it is fun interacting with people who were already friends, who have become friends on-line, and in looking for more amongst those whom I am following and who are following me. I invest a few hours a week, and it is after all no chore talking to friends as well as commenting on their blogs and mentioning my own.

It is important not to try to do too much. Just as in off-line networking one can go to too many events organized by too many different people and end up not having time to follow-up so it is with on-line networking. You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy and FriendFeed. If you want to you can find me on Facebook. I think any more would spread my attention too thin to have conversations with people, and that is what it is about, even for an introvert like me with a necessary but not very showy business.

I am registered on foursquare because I was invited, but I do not have a clever phone yet, not being convinced I need one. Convince me, and I will join you all there.

In the meantime I will continue my on-line stuff as it is and will attempt anything else I think will be useful, as social media evolves and never stays still. I will keep blogging and picking up blogging tips. Chris Brogan recommended Technorati for helping blog reading figures – thank you Chris – and here is a code for the Technorati people : G4W22KBUX42W

We have to be out there talking and being seen, and for some of us it was a skill we had to learn. However, just as we need to preserve our cash flow and tailor our expenses to our needs, we have to follow the same philosophy with our social media too. That way it will be fun and will not overwhelm us.

What do you think? Do you see things differently, and why? I would love to know.

© Jon Stow 2010

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