It’s In Your Hands

I was going through my Google Reader this morning and came across this beautiful post from Seth Godin:

When are you going to start acting like it?

The idea that you are a faceless cog in a benevolent system that cares about you and can’t tell particularly whether you are worth a day’s pay or not, is, like it or not, over.

In the long run, we’re all dead. In the medium-long run, though, we’re all self-employed. In the medium-long run, the decisions and actions we take each day determine what we’ll be doing next.

And yet, it’s so easy to revert to, “I just work here.”

Like most things I read, my mind starts to think.  Yes, I know that’s dangerous.  In a few words, Seth reinforces something that we all know already…we are responsible for making the most of what is given to us.  No other person can really determine our future except us.  Our future is in our hands.

It’s easy for me to feel like the “faceless cog” Seth mentions in his post,  especially working in such a large company like General Motors.  However, it doesn’t have to be that way.  For example, most of you know how passionate I am about the internet, technology and especially the social web.  Although I don’t have responsibility for it at work, I’ve made it my hobby and brought it into my everyday life through my Twitter feed, Facebook, and this blog.  The work has paid off.  I’ve made some great connections with people in the social web community, been recognized as knowledgeable in the space by my peers and recently guest blogged on my friend Gini Dietrich‘s blog, Spin Sucks.  Other opportunities to guest blog have recently come and I plan to take advantage of those too.

My point in all of this is that the Social Web gives you a voice when you may have thought you don’t have one.  Networking, building relationships, providing value, etc. are ways you can build your own community.  The challenge is being patient enough to build your community and look for those opportunities to do what you love and are passionate about.

“If you build it, they will come.”  It’s in your hands.


5 thoughts on “It’s In Your Hands

  1. One thing I don’t agree with you on …. “if you build it, they will come.” I don’t think that’s true. Too many people/companies think that they can get on Facebook or Twitter or post videos or photos and then it will go viral and they’ll be an overnight Internet success. Lots of people build it and no one comes to visit. The real work is in networking, in socializing, in paying it forward. THEN they come.

    Also, I’d love to see you take this post to the next level; meaning, why do you do this? I realize you enjoy it and it’s a hobby, but what is the real intrinsic value?

  2. Gini, I think we’re on the same page. What I was hoping to convey was that companies need to build their community in order for people / consumers to join the conversation. I agree that merely having a presence on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t amount to much without the relationship or community. You are always my go to example of how it should be done, regardless of big or small business. You have an audience that you interact with daily…whether it’s your Twitter conversations or a status update on Facebook (I’m still amazed at how many comments you get from a status update by the way!).

    As to your second question on the intrinsic value of what I do…I’m trying to determine that right now. I’m involved in a lot of the strategy discussions at work and try to provide thought leadership where I can. I think the value in the social web is recognized however, not completely integrated in everything we do. Is it working? To some degree. Can it be better? Absolutely.

  3. Good stuff, Patrick. And thanks for passing it along, Gini, otherwise I would have missed it!

    As someone who was, for so long, a part of the benevolent system (throughout the late 90s and early ’00s) and recently started my own gig, Many of us are closely following people like you, Patrick. Those who work with a larger company as a part of the Social Web have not only the most opportunity for growth (there are already a very large amount of independent business owners round these parts), but a very large opportunity to make a big difference in our online communities.
    It’ll be interesting to see what you all do with it. I think for some it will make the entrepreneur bug bite even harder… but I also think for a good chunk, it will give you an even stronger level of freedom and empowerment to say “ya know what? This is really my own gig and I’m running my own show.”
    It should be fun to see how that level of empowerment mixes with the resources you’ll be able to put behind it. Have fun with it!

  4. Matt, I definitely plan to have fun with it. What I’ve realized as a positive with my experiences with the social web is the doors that have opened because of it. I completely agree with you on the opportunity that lies ahead for big businesses that are embracing this as part of their culture. If it were up to me, not only would I leverage the tools to create an online community for Buick and GMC, but I’d also look at ways to give back to the community. I think #140Conf Detroit will be a great place to start!

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