Building bridges

Becky McCray gave me permission to steal from her. Of course, since some of the ideas are mine, and she credited me, it’s not really stealing. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s called collaboration.

Becky wrote to me one day and said, “Chris did this great post. Here’s what my ideas are. Do you have any ideas?” I wrote back and she published it as a post. It follows here.

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Chris Brogan wrote a great post about promoting your media to the online world. That made me (Becky) think about increasing your audience by reaching out to new people.

Jon Swanson and I (Becky) decided to collaborate on a follow up, how to promote your online 2.0 media to the offline 0.0 world.

Here are my (Becky’s) suggestions:

  • Talk about it. Tell people what you are working on. Ask for their opinion.
  • Invite offline friends and experts to co-author or contribute.
  • Mention your media project in your regular printed materials.
  • Print business cards specifically for your blog or podcast. (credit: Vaspers)
  • Put it in your bio and resume.
  • Teach a class on how to create new media.
  • Reprint your writings in offline venues: newspapers, newsletters, journals.

And here are Jon’s ideas:

  • On your regular business card include the data for your Flickr and blog and LinkedIn and…
  • Talk about it all the time.
  • Use online friends as references for 0.0 jobs.
  • Collect your posts and print as a book.*
  • Email your posts from reader to people who only check email.
  • Have low expectations so you are more subtle.
  • Talk about online friends as real friends.
  • Get family members involved.

*In fact, compilations of all kinds of media would make great handouts. Booklets, audios, workbooks, PDFs, etc.

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The more I thought about this post, and this conversation, the more I realized that Becky and I both do a lot to try to build the bridges between 2.0 and 0.0. And I realized that one of the things that is true about Becky, and I hope about me, is that the whole point is people.

That’s an odd phrasing. Let me try again.

Our goal isn’t to be merely to connect people to new technologies. Our goal, our passion, is to connect people to people and we do it using whatever technology we can get hold of.

Yes, that’s better.

I know that the technologies we use inevitably shape the message that we convey (yes, I used to read McLuhan). I know that some technologies are more user-friendly to produce (facial muscles) than others (books). I know that some technologies are more reliable, more data-rich, more nuance-rich, than others.

And that’s the point, I think, of using the social networking technologies. We are wanting to bring us much richness to our relationships as we can. We have a friendship in first life. We can’t see the person all the time. We want to stay in touch. We add email. We add text. We add twitter. And all of this to a real-time friendship.

(Okay, to be truthful, we can even add this to a marriage. Nancy and I, after nearly 25 years of marriage, have added all of this technology to how we interact. We actually do talk…but we text as well. It adds richness. And someday, she may tweet.)

Think the other way. We start relationships with twitter interactions. At some point, for many of us, we add other levels of interaction (email, blog.tv, skype, telephone, fedex packages). At times we even add face-to-face conversations. (This can become odd, like the time our son’s friend asked who the guy was sitting on our sofa. “oh,” said Andrew, “that’s my dad’s internet friend.”) Pretty soon, it becomes difficult for some of us to maintain a meaningful distinction between 0.0 and 2.0 friends. Our levels of interaction are almost the same, as we bring each group to a state of communicative equilibrium.

I know the point of this post was getting media (messages) from one venue to a new audience. Somehow it turned into something different, something about people. And maybe that’s the point. Thanks to Becky’s question, I’m thinking not about content, but about context, about human context, about relationships.

Thanks, friend.

2 responses to “Building bridges

  1. Jon, if you don’t come to Indy for http://BarCampIndy.org Feb 9th… we’re sending a posse to Ft. Wayne.

    Great post, brother.

  2. Thanks for crediting me with the tiny idea of printing a separate promotional business card for your blog, podcast, vlog, Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Youtube, or MySpaceMusic page.

    It was my organic deli client Naturally Yours who taught me this. They did a nice one for their new blog. The blog was so successful that, for the first time in 20 years or so, they are expanding and opening a new store in Bloomington, IL. The blog was a small bit responsible for the huge increase in business, I suspect, or hope anyway. Heh.

    We have not gotten Web 0.0 or 1.0 right yet, so there’s no huge rush to charge into 2.0 until we get the basics correct.

    Still, there are a few functional, usable Web 2.0 sites out there, based on what the users want, rather than what the corporate message must be, but darn it, right now I can’t think of any, aside from Programmable Web.