Friday, April 18, 2008

Fiction kills friction

On my Linkedin home page, it says I have 851 connections, and that they link me to 7,645,400 professionals.

That sounds like a really big number! Maybe I should start my own country and ask these folks to vote for me so I become their duly elected President.

This is not as farfetched as it sounds. Cyberspace is, in many ways, the new frontier. The World Wide Web is the new Wild Wild West.

And Linkedin is like a new town built by people of goodwill right on the edge that separates civilization from wilderness.

In other words, cyberspace is becoming more civilized, and the Internet is becoming more humanized, more socialized.

So I think there's a need to distinguish between the chaotic Internet and the more civilized and socialized area within the Internet. Hence, I've coined a new word to refer to "socialized cyberspace": syberspace.

In other words, if cyberspace is made up of computers linked through networks, syberspace is made up of people linked through relationships, both formal (e.g. Linkedin) and informal (e.g. Facebook).

Obviously, due to the human element, there is more friction in syberspace than in cyberspace. It is indeed easier for computers to connect and talk to one another than for humans to connect and talk to one another.

"Friction" simply refers to a person's inability to network with as many people as he'd like, due to various factors.

For instance, if you have 1 to 50 connections, and are at a loss as to how you can gain more connections, you are indeed facing a "friction" problem.

One solution is based on the idea that "fiction kills friction."

In other words, reinvent yourself and become a more interesting person. Become someone worthy of being connected to.

Be a little daring! And don't worry, you can always change what you write in your profile. It will never be set in stone. Experiment a little bit.

I'm not suggesting that you lie about who you are; just focus on the parts of you that make you stand out.

My point is, if you don't stand out on Linkedin, you're not playing the game right.

Linkedin is a professional / business environment where you get to express your Brand You, as Tom Peters calls it.

It will take a while before you can craft a solid and memorable Brand you, but it's fully worth it. Brainstorm with friends and coworkers if you wish.

The bottom line is that only by being special will you attract others. Only then will they seek you out and want to connect to you.