My Declaration of Independence

I’ve been blogging for over 4 years now, and have been increasingly active in many branches of social networking – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, video-blogging, etc., etc. (although, without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect has been meeting people and developing long-standing relationships and collaborations).

However, as with any new venture, especially one where the rules are being written on the fly, it’s very easy to fall into two very common patterns:

  1. Follow the leader(s)
  2. Go big

I’m not making a blanket condemnation of either of these practices – those instincts aren’t all bad. I fully “get” emulating those who are skilled and successful, and as a marketing guy, I appreciate scale. But it can become bondage over time. To the point where you don’t follow your own instincts, your own vision.

That’s why, as we kick off 2011, I’m declaring my independence.

No, I really don’t care about maximizing my RSS subscribers and Twitter followers. No, I really don’t intend to make sure I have a singular blogging/writing focus. No, I actually don’t want a massive audience that will create inordinate demands on time and attention. And, no, I don’t care to align myself with social media “influencer camps” of either popularizers or detractors.

I’m going to do what I’m meant to do – to live out my identity as the Connection Agent.

I’m bending everything to my main goal, my primary mission – to create the highest quality network of honest, competent, pay-it-forward people who want to change the way business gets done. Who are ready to build, together, an organic tribe of folks ready and able to bring back an environment where a handshake and a recommendation are the foundations of business – and, who are fully invested in creating a platform of cooperation/collaboration that will outclass and outperform the legacy structures of corporations.

Where social networking is a means, to a far more important end.

That vision has grown continuously in my mind and heart, and I’ve made a successful test case of it in the pharma/healthcare space over the years since I started my company Impactiviti. But it’s always been my intent to take the model and expand outward, and help provide a format whereby talented entrepreneurs and people with unfulfilled talents can create their own businesses without the inefficiency and compromises that throttle so many who should be succeeding wildly.

Yes, I will remain very active in social media. I might even once in a while write an SEO-friendly headline like The Top Ten Reasons Why Twitter and Facebook Are Like Mashable Beets. But, overboard with all the standard Guidelines to SM Success. There’s something far more important to build.

And I – we – are going to build it.

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

25 Responses to My Declaration of Independence

  1. Bret Simmons says:

    Amen, Steve. I’m sick of reading articles written to be found, not written to really help or ask tough questions. Go for it. Bret

  2. David Perdew says:

    That sounds like an admirable cause, Steve. It helps to narrow your focus, I think. Too many people try to, as you say, play “follow the leader,” and it costs them their individuality. If you have a primary focus and can serve a specific “tribe,” I say that’s the way to make progress online today. Good luck in your venture.

    • David – agreed. In the early days of anything, there’s always a tendency to look at masses. I think we’re past that stage now. Time to narrow down and purpose-build communities.

  3. Living out your identity as the Connection Agent – simply because it’s the essence of who you really are – is an absolutely glorious vision. I look forward to watching this vision unfold over the next 12 months – and will absolutely be cheering from the sidelines… :)

    Lisa

  4. Jim Everett says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for setting this great example (that I’ll try hard not to follow) in declaring your independence. I find a lot of value in claiming a title. Especially if it is personally inspiring, communicates a clear message to others, and holds you accountable to live to a higher standard. Good for you Mr. Connection Agent.

    For 2011, I’ve decided to stake my claim as Catalyst, Architect, and Champion of Awesome Business Ideas. It inspires and scares me at the same time because it feels like a lot to live up to. However, I know (just like you know we need powerful connections) that so many people have the makings of great ideas for their businesses that can benefit from the spark of someone who wants to see them succeed and who will stand with them, shoulder-to-shoulder, to fight to make their ideas pay off.

    Thanks again for taking your stand. Your actions give others permission.

    Happy New Year!
    Jim

  5. Alan Berkson says:

    Steve, I think many people, me included, share your sentiment. We’ve unwrapped the shiny new toy, looked at everyone else’s, and realized it doesn’t matter what they have — it matters what we have and how we use it.

    As for following leaders, be sure you want to get where *they* are going, otherwise blaze your own path. You will be liberated once you realize the *right* 100 followers are just as important to you as 100,000 followers are to them.

    -Alan
    -Alan

    • Alan, I kinda figure that if you have 100 high-quality people in your network, you pretty much have it made. Not only for the synergies of that 100, but because they’re connected to pretty much everyone else you’ll ever need!

  6. I really enjoyed reading this Steve. It’s always breath-taking to see people doing their own thing and getting away from being influenced by “the crowd.” Proud of you, and setting my own goals to do the same thing this year. Thanks for this. Timely!!

  7. Anything I can do to help, just let me know.

  8. tom martin says:

    Go forth and kick ass my friend…. looking forward to watching the results.

  9. sally says:

    What an awesome declaration, Steve, love it!

    I’m truly sick of those 25 ways to get attention/do something in social media posts that flood my tweet stream daily.

    Someone asked me the other day how many RSS subscribers I have. My answer was I’ve no idea, nor do I care. If 1 person reads a post and it stimulates their curiousity in what they’re doing, then the objective is achieved. I’m all onboard with the independence concept.

    Dunbar’s 150 is not a bad number to think about.

  10. Jay Baer says:

    Yes, the backlash is in full force. Just don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

  11. Terry Starbucker says:

    Oh yes we will Steve, oh yes we will. And I so look forward to it.
    Happy New Year!

    Terry

  12. Pingback: Do You See What I See? « Connection Agent

  13. Sheri Peeples says:

    Steve – great post !! Look at what Jesus accomplished with just 12 !!!

  14. Kneale Mann says:

    Excellent post, Steve but you don’t care. I value your input toward being independent, but that doesn’t matter to you. And while anyone wants to pat themselves on the guru back, let’s keep in mind that 1) social business is as old as humans have walked the earth 2) numbers don’t make you smart 3) I am a social media expert and so are you 4) I am not a social media expert and neither are you.

    If it was about numbers and followers, anyone with a thousands of tweets and a book deal would be consulting fortune 100 companies on how to improve revenue, better management, stronger stakeholders and a healthier future.

  15. Rob Halkes says:

    “And, no, I don’t care to align myself with social media “influencer camps” of either popularizers or detractors.

    I’m going to do what I’m meant to do – to live out my identity as the Connection Agent.”

    Very good initiative to read, even over here in Europe, Steve!
    Thanks for that. And yes I think the intention is to stimulate meaningful development, which goes beyond doing things and stating words that people like. You might say, if we all liked the world as it is, there is no forward anymore!
    In short: “Don’t look for the flock but for the one black sheep” It is authentic meaning that I love.
    Cheers for 2011
    Rob Halkes
    Twitter @rohal

  16. Perfect timing. A friend of mine just had a horrible customer service experience, and is wondering if/when things will ever change. I’m gonna forward this to him and tell him we found the source where it’s all beginning.

    Thanks for perking up our spirits! :D

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