Relationship Channels

In my very first post I mentioned that I would most likely start blogging with things I had already written to create some momentum.  I didn’t fib.  On my blog tag line I’ve put “Writing to Understand What I’m Thinking”  – – something that I hope comes across as self-effacing as I meant it.  But now I’m bringing it to a different level in “writing about something I’ve written to understand what I’m thinking”.  Strange indeed.

Below I cut and pasted my comments to a blog post by Tom Nightingale from the Transportation Marketing & Communications Association.  If anyone is actually reading my post, you probably didn’t come across Tom’s blog as late breaking news.  Even I came across it in a rather interesting way.   I attended a MarketingProfs virtual event, listened to the “backchannel” via the Twitter #mpworld hashtag, saw Tom’s tweet, clicked the link to his blog, and made my comments.  To use a baseball analogy that’s probably the social media equivalent of “hitting for the cycle” . . . yes, hitting for the cycle for some obscure Single A team in Wisconsin.    

So what am I thinking (I ask myself)?  Here comes the hard work part as I stare out the window trying to figure it out not wanting to state the obvious or sound too mundane . . .  

The first, core kernal is the changing ways by which we develop and maintain relationships using social media.   Is it better?  Worse?  More effective?  Less effective?   My simple (mundane?) answer is that it’s just different.  Similar to the fact that  we now get information through multiple channels that didn’t exist before, we have multiple relationship channels that will complement and supplement traditional ways.   The second thought is that this emerging channel is real and will become a more important  part of our “relationship mix” both personally and professionally.  Per my main point in the post below, Tom and I still haven’t met and probably won’t, but we now know each other and have communicated through a channel(s) that didn’t exist for me even two months ago.

So here’s my first chunk of regurgitated material first posted as a comment on 4/3/08:

“Tom, I don’t know you.  You don’t know me.  I’m not even a TMCA member but I found this post via Twitter. Despite these not-so-insignificant facts, we’re now engaging in dialogue on a topic that is important to TMCA.  We’re networking. 

“Now combine that thought with your statement ‘that a web-based conference model lacks the ability to create networking opportunities and a community like we get at the TMCA annual conference’.

“I completely agree with your statement, but I also think that everyone needs to look at it from a different perspective. There is nothing like the face-to-face interaction at a conference.  There’s nothing better than having a drink, sharing a story, and sealing a deal with a handshake.

“The different perspective is the core question you address in your blog post.  The interactions on Twitter or in MarketingProf’s virtual event or even on Facebook and LinkedIn are obviously not face-to-face but they’re happening more and more frequently each day.  There’s information being exchanged, there are contacts being made, and there are relationships being built.

“The same as the relationships built over a drink at a conference?  Absolutely not.  But are these new channels through which relationships can be built ultimately leading to that drink at the bar? 

“Tom, you’re asking the right question. My answer is that an organization like TMCA absolutely has to be looking into virtual events and other social media. These channels, tools, and approaches will be adopted at different speeds by different markets, but they will be adopted, their use will become pervasive, and there will be confluence and overlap during live events. Maybe at the next TMCA Annual Conference you will have a “backchannel” of Twitter activity and liveblogging?

“I don’t know you.  You don’t know me.  I’m not a TMCA member.  Well, that’s not completely true anymore.  With our connection from the MarketingProfs virtual event through Twitter to your blog to my comments we now know a little bit more about each other.  Maybe we’ll actually talk (live) and maybe have a drink (in-person) some day?”

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