One of the beautiful and totally unexpected side effects I have gotten from joining the BizCatalyst 360° writing community has been exactly that: The community.
In a comment on LinkedIn, Jeff Ikler wrote:
I decided a long time ago that I couldn’t possibly read everything on BC360° even if I did nothing else. So I have to pick and choose, and I choose to go deep instead of broad. The same is true on LinkedIn. I can skim endlessly or I can dive into a few posts that appear to have meaning for me.
Amen. My day also has just 24 hours. (And I have 10 years of BC360° articles to catch up on…)
I have been thinking about what I decide to read when I open LinkedIn or get the BC360° Today email and why, because, like Jeff, I can’t read it all.
My choice is primarily based on authors. Some, because they are always entertaining. Some, because they challenge my thinking. And some, because I just love these people.
The interesting part is that writers can belong to more than one category. Some challenge me every d### time – and I still love them. I wouldn’t say the same for some columnists in my morning paper.
I think The Friendship Bench has something to do with this. By spending time together regularly around some subject of substance, people can show different sides of themselves. A big heart here, listening skills there, a story shared in a small group that takes your breath away, a sense of humor, a well-reasoned argument – even if I find the core completely misguided – is still a well-reasoned argument. And who says we can’t both be right?
All other things equal, I am probably more likely to read something written by a “Bench buddy” than by someone I don’t know at all. That may be unfair to a lot of excellent writers; so be it.
And then there is the rest of LinkedIn. Like in BC360°, some connections are true In Real Life connections you have had dinner with. Or done business with. Or attended conferences with. And some you only know from LinkedIn where they share excellent content.
Until they are in your town and you arrange to have coffee/dinner with them or attend a conference with them because you want to get to know if they have a big heart, a sense of humor, can listen, or perhaps have stories that will take your breath away.
You know a funny thing I have noticed? I don’t know if it is the same for you, but I would love to hear your reaction: When I hang in there just a little longer than I had planned because I want to support somebody, I feel a much stronger connection. I invest a little time in the relationship even if it is not that convenient and I really should be working on my own writing. The economist in me cries “sunk cost fallacy”. Somehow, for relationships, that is a risk I am willing to run.