Connections: Fad or Trend?


There are many ways to tackle the conversation on the difference between fads and trends. My first thought when Neil Perkin asked me to participate in a post and deck he produced last month was thinking about it in terms of culture, over time.

"A trend is driven by something more macro (than a micro explanation), something running through the whole culture. Ask how will this [insert thing here] change us? With what consequences?"

Over time is important, as seen over at his wrap post containing the definition of fad from students.

Since we all agree that trends develop over time, I thought I'd revisit with you a series of posts I did on connections about five years ago at this site. 

It was published under the banner: Connection Kata.

A note on comments: because I installed Disqus, the TypePad comments from those posts are masked and thus not visible.

Connections: fad or trend?

Is there ever going to be a time when connection is cataloged as fad? Although we do talk about the virtue of dis-connecting from social networks and online media, connection is a human need and desire — we are social animals.

In the inaugural post, I talked about what the term means for marketing:

In marketing, connections live right alongside the brands that resonate with us. While when you hear someone say they are "connected", they may mean that they are in the inner circle of people and issues, to them personally that may also mean they feel included.

Today, connected customers are bringing about new, creative ways to do business.

We got more introspective in the gift:

I'm sure you have noticed — when you're relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating, you are also this way in the world. What a gift that is to everyone.

Learning to observe and notice what others may need and want begins with self-awareness — putting yourself in their shoes.

In TLC for your network, I said:

your connections need tender and loving care (TLC) to flourish. This means attention, time, and the secret fairy dust: interest. In other words, it's not about you, it's about them. Before you can have a return on involvement with any activity, you need to have involvement.

A connection is not a one time deal, it actually develops from an initial spark of interest. Imagine the life force of your connections as a positive spiral.

Then we looked at the ecosystem of relationships:

One word about the dynamics of ecosystem — whenever you introduce new elements into it, you may have a disruptive effect on the components of the existing environment. I would wager that if the new element is introduced as part of a strategy that adapts to the center and context of that ecosystem it makes the learning curve less steep and the system itself more resilient.

The blog ecosystem illustrates how to maintain a very large network utilizing your personal resources in time and effort while making sure that everyone benefits.

Can you keep a secret? Even when talking in plain sight:

the ability to have a private and confidential conversation is becoming increasingly precious. It's a moment stolen from the frenetic pace of the 24/7 world, and a special gift given to us.

I believe that the people and companies that will be able to balance their availability with their ability to keep a secret, to be trusted, will be winners.

In what's your connection story? I use the example of a visit to the Apple store:

Apple can have that kind of set up at their stores because the people who show up are not looking to be sold on a product — they already know they want it; by and large, they are buyers. The products sell themselves. The staff at the store is there to assist you complete your story, not tell you theirs — it's a big difference.

The connection occurs before you've ever set foot in the place — it happens as people's stories come alive in their imagination thanks to Apple products.

There are two versions (at least) to every story:

Be secure and confident enough to offer value first and never worry about what you get back. This bears repeating at least once — never worry about what you get back. I can give you dozens of examples of professionals who behave this way and get plenty of referral business. No one forgets someone who is present in the conversation with them.

Keep your promises.

In recognition, what type are you? the topic comes in handy for tomorrow's post:

These forces also make for optimized economics. They are a good foundation in your employee or customer referral programs and are becoming the currency of social media.

Connecting is about recognizing the role that everyone plays, including you, in the ever changing context of business and life.

We often talk about social objects. Five +1 + 1 business books I gave away in 2007:

Many of the books I share are new or newer releases, some are just classics for me. The criteria I use to determine what I give away are:

  1. I read it and learned something unique that no other book taught me;
  2. It contains potentially a life changing methodology or way of thinking;
  3. It speaks to trends in a way that is researched and requires some leap in attitude;
  4. It provides a great synthesis of insights and stimulates action;
  5. It's a new window into the journey of life and mind expanding.

Do we get it wrong? The coffee is an excuse to connect. It's not about "picking your brain", after all:

the coffee and pastry are an excuse. What they are really all seeking at regular intervals is an opportunity to be social — to take a break from walking around town, or to stop while on their way from one place to another. The bar (as we call it here) is a true destination in its own right.

The bar is a must for Italians. At least once a day each has a special appointment with coffee and pastry or snack. There are plenty of people wanting a break, and plenty of places.

Yet, some places sit quite empty, while others are packed with people. Is it the coffee? Do some places order a unique blend while others serve a lesser bean? Or perhaps it's the pastries? Maybe there are delicacies that only some carry?

No on both accounts. It is about the people — behind the counter and in front of it.

 

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