Thursday, June 6, 2013

If Facebook is like High School, and Google Plus is like College, then Who Sits at the Cool Table?

I think it's safe to say that there is a new breed of popularity sweeping across the internet that can only be defined as an influentially pursuant, web based community of social medialites. Still with me? OK. If we can all recall, high school was a great time, where all the smart people were lauded and all the good looking people who were potentially less smart and possibly more athletic were less appreciated. We'd most likely be kidding ourselves, we all know the opposite to be true. If you were good looking, good at sports, had a decent personality you might have been popular in High School. What if anything resulted from that popularity? I am going to say that not many good looking athletes leveraged those strengths into anything formidable, or if they did, they were 1 out of 10,000, maybe. If not, they faded into the crowd w/age and became just another adult who now wishes they could relive their glory days.

Being a late bloomer I never reached my pinnacle or my glory days in High School (and frankly I'm still climbing). I always kept moving forward and knew that it wasn't the end of the world to not be the coolest kid w/the best hair or the best athlete. I had friends, I played tennis, I started my own business...I was balanced, and that was what was important to me. However, I am seeing a new breed of popularity developing and it has nothing to do with looks and all to do with brains and charisma. Yes, celebrities will always have millions of followers but there are a ton of people who are right on their tails in terms of influence and let me tell you something, they have WAY more to offer than some boy band member or hot model.

Google Plus is paving the way for a new breed of popularity and quite a bit of it relies on something that not many other networks give credence. Do you know what that is? Merit. How does Google judge what is good vs. what is bad? What is quality content vs. content that doesn't add value? Well, they rely on things like verified profiles and business pages, semantic search, authorship (in which case a pretty face can't hurt), social signals, consistency of publication and hundreds of other things included in their algorithm that produce the most relevant search results.

So, how does a person gain a higher level of influence (popularity to some)? Well, first things first, it's all based around quality. If you produce content, just for that very reason, to crank out quantity, chances are that no one will find it of any value and then what does your large amount of content net you? Nada. Whereas if you can produce 1 - 2 quality blog posts a week and get 50 reshares, 10 retweets and a couple link backs, you have just risen in the eyes of Google. Therefore you will be more visible to people via search and thus garner more clicks and positive attention. So, write one article at a time, produce quality, day in, day out and in due time you are close enough to the cool (smart) people that you can see what it is they do to sit at that cool people's table.

Who says that you need to throw a great spiral to be popular. Forget that, write a quality post and then one of those awesome people might share it for you. Thus giving a little of their popularity/influence over to you. (i.e. Link Juice) Now you are seen in the eyes of others as being connected to that cool person and they in turn, start to feel the same. They say, "man, if that guy shared his stuff it must be quality." Now +Mark Schaefer writes about this influence his his book Return on Influence and discusses this concept in way more detail but suffice to say that if you can tap into an influencer and they begin to share your material, others will most likely do the same. So how do you get to the point of either being an influencer (someone popular/smart/charismatic) or being close enough where an influencer shares your material?

It all begins with quality. No one wants to share garbage. They throw garbage away, they don't show it to other people, b/c it's trash. Write trash and trash will be your return on investment, write quality and expect that other people will find value in it. All of these people w/10's of thousands of followers on G+ didn't just get them over night (besides +Jesse Wojdylo, but he started w/11K last Tuesday (after 2 years) and now has 33K). Want to know why? I bet you can guess. It's got something to do w/quality. I mention Jesse often (bromance, I know, very funny!)  but him and I share many commonalities. However, this guy has been active on G+ since 2011 and posts 35 times daily, I on the other hand have only been active for a few months and can not match how prolific he is for many a reason. That doesn't however preclude me from producing quality when I have the time to write my posts. Jesse has done HOAs, written on his blog (sometimes more than 1 post daily, April he averaged 3 daily), posts to communities, helps out at a retirement community and just started his own YouTube show, The Wojdylo Show. Pronounced like armadillo except Wa-dillo. All these things are great, but if his heart wasn't in it, and they stunk, he wouldn't be on the Suggested User List accruing more followers daily than most of us have total again, all due to quality. So back to the cool people's table...In order to get a view into this realm, you have to first be let into the lunchroom. Remember, they don't let trash in the lunch room, they throw trash away.

I didn't know anyone on G+ 3 months ago. The relationships I' forming now, to me feel more important than any I have elsewhere (including IRL(in real life)). Great you have tons of FB friends, what value does it give you? 2000 Twitter followers, again, what value do they offer? Not that much. Do they ever even engage, or is it just numbers? Here on Google Plus the cool people's table is for creative people who have something to offer be it photography, SEO knowledge, small business expertise, great cooking and recipe info, you name it and there is most likely an entire community dedicated to the subject on G+ and you know who runs those communities? Cool people, smart people, creative people. People who care and want to add value b/c they are passionate about their love of food or their love of all things android. These are the thought leaders, these are the influencers, these are the people to emulate. These people have been honing their craft their whole life, and finally a social platform has given them the ability to express themselves and society as a whole can now benefit from their collective knowledge.

I have to say that without G+, I certainly wouldn't be blogging as much, which for me is now starting to act as a release, a connection w/something previously unfamiliar to me. It's that quickening feeling we get ( per +David Amerland) when we are involved in an amazing discussion or the feeling of exhilaration gotten from seeing what a good blog post does once published. Where else can a person who loves reading connect with authors? Where else can a person who loves photography connect with other amazing photographers from around the world? Where else can a person who loves technology do live hangouts via webcams and speak w/people all over the world? Google Plus, that's where. They have redefined the cool people's table, except here, all you need to do is produce quality consistently to get a seat.

Again, everyone is welcome to sit at the cool people's table here, providing you can gain admittance through earning it. It will be very apparent if you try to get in this club using a fake id. You will be spotted, labeled and returned to the place from where you came. Know why? Real recognizes real, and people can smell a fake anywhere. So be real, consistently produce quality, and create meaningful relationships through engaging within your selected communities. Only then, will you be admitted to the cool table for lunch, and let's face it...if that doesn't appeal to you, that's fine...there are plenty of social networks that will 100% followback and all you have to do to get big meaningless numbers is follow people...Good luck w/that. You can find me right here, looking at all the cool people and trying to make myself better everyday. Someday I might get to eat with those people and when I do, I will have earned it through hard work and dedication.

Michlin Metals is a Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at More on the author on Google+

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