Jonathan Peters, Guest Author
The first reference to the concept that everyone on the planet is separated by six degrees was in Frigyes Karinthy’s 1929 short story Láncszemek. One of the characters claimed he was connected to everyone else through, at most, five acquaintances.
The urban myth was established some time between Karinthy’s Hungarian short story and the appearance of John Guare’s play Six Degrees of Separation in 1990. Various sociological and mathematical studies popped up along the way to try to prove our connectivity, but it wasn’t until 1998 that we had computers large enough and networks defined enough to study. We finally were able to scientifically study how connected humans are.
In his book, “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell labelled those who are especially linked as connectors. Connectors are responsible for making humanity so connected. They have a “knack” for “curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” They draw many times more people to them, and they are able to make introductions across vast geography, social groupings, industries, and so on.
More important, our business and our success depends on having these people in our networks, because it is only then that we can bridge into other niches, sub-groups, and communities.
So it is our responsibility to get off our butts, and interact with others to discover connectors in our markets and industries. Simply liking people on Facebook, or sending out LinkedIn requests is not actually connecting. Yes, we are linked, but we aren’t truly connected until they know us or know of us.
Which is why so much of the hype of social media, email marketing, video blasts and so on is often misguided or misleading. We must establish real connections with people for them to know enough about us to actually buy us or buy from us.
For those of us who are not natural connectors, don’t believe that if you build it they will come. Know that you have to find connectors, and make sure they are aware of your existence and what you have to offer other people in their network.
BONUS Article: Twitter Shortens the Six Degrees of Separation to Five
Copyright 2011 by Jonathan Peters. Jonathan Peters, Ph.D is a recognized trainer and writer with an emphasis in business communications, and a Co-founder of BEvents.biz. If it involves words, it involves him. He has trained thousands of people across the country and his audiences have learned better presentation skills, improved their business communications, and beefed-up their writing and document designs. During his doctoral studies, Dr. Peters became interested in how the new sciences influence our culture. He is excited about what the emerging science of networks says about how we conduct our social lives and our businesses. Visit Jonathan’s Website.
Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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