What Kind of Connections Are We Building?

Want to know what makes me really crazy in blogging? When I come up with a great idea and then fail to execute it with the precision I want. The sentence and links just below this ‘graph are a good example of that.

The best opening to a post is funny/serious/whimsical/clever and or mysterious. Hell I know from experience that every one of those things is true. All I have to do is flip through the old posts here and I see examples of these things.

  1. This Was Our Song
  2. Thank You Paul Simon
  3. The Universe Taps You On The Shoulder…Again
  4. Truth Or Dare
  5. Be A Better Parent Through Blogging
  6. Fragments of Fiction
  7. 273 Blogging Tips I Never Shared & Still Won’t
  8. I Can Teach You How To Write More Interesting Posts

But what I love about blogging is that I can take my mistake and write about it. I can show you something that I think stinks and ask you to read and relate to it. I can take these words you read and talk with you, not at you about the kind of connections we are building.

Because those connections are a big part of what I am doing and what I want to do with my blogging career. When I first started blogging I wasn’t very good about trying to build connections.

I didn’t really understand that social media was about people. I was too busy writing and wearing my mask as an anonymous blogger who just wrote about life, religion, politics and whatever else seemed to fit.

But something changed in me and for me. It sounds silly, but I saw the light. I woke up and realized that I had a dream that blogging could help me convert from fantasy into reality.

So I started to think about how to build and cultivate relationships with other people online. I started to think about the kind of connections I wanted and what I was trying to build.

No one wants to feel like they are being used. People remember how you make them feel and if you make them feel valued and worthwhile they are happy to help. Make them feel badly and you reap what you sow.

My Path Might Not Work For You

The method I use isn’t something that you can find in a guide to blogging or how to become a social media superstar. You can’t read my ebook and get all of my secrets because that is not necessarily going to work for you. The reason I say that is because what I have tried to do is give you me.

What I have tried to do is just be myself and show you that I am like a lot of you. I am a father. I am a friend. I am someone who laughs, cries, screams and does everything and anything that other people do.

I don’t expect you all to like me nor do I need you all to. You can’t be all things to all people- it just doesn’t work. Certainly it doesn’t work for me. I am very aware of who I am and I know that I generate strong responses in people.

I wouldn’t expect you to like or love everything I write. Some of it isn’t great and some of it is. That is ok too. We do the best we can with what we have and go from there.

It all brings me back to the question of what kind of connections are we building? Are we creating a place where we feel safe to share personal things and stuff that others might not know. Well, I think we are. I write like we are.

I sit here at well past midnight worried about my little sister.  She is in the hospital now and they are not sure exactly what is going on with her. Because there are boundaries in blogging and we don’t all have the kind of relationship that lets me be forthcoming I won’t say much more than that.

I’ll tell you that it is not drug related nor is it related to any sort of emotional breakdown. Nah, this is something different and the docs haven’t quite figured it out yet. I’ll tell you that little sister is tough, much tougher than I am. I look at her sometimes and am amazed by her strength, but this sucks. She doesn’t deserve to have any more challenges.

Maybe that is not the sort of connection we are building. Maybe we are creating some sort of business relationship. Maybe we are forging the foundation for a partnership in which I help you secure business you couldn’t otherwise get. Maybe I am your new  writer or social media expert. Or maybe we are just people who help each other network.

But what I really hope we are building is the kind of relationship where we help others. That would make me very happy.

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19 Comments

  1. Jens P. Berget April 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Jack,

    I’m sorry to hear about your little sister. I really hope she is doing better.

    To me, blogging and the connections I’ve made has not been about business. It might be in the future, but so far it’s all personal.

  2. penneyfox April 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Interesting how we start build our connections once we are willing to share the real person and who we are. You were the first person that I’ve ‘met’ in the business blogger community that we both post in to ask me about my personal blog. I hesitated to respond to your request and it took me a day to finally post it for you. I felt brave at that moment and truly felt a connection.

    On the advice of a couple of bloggers, I almost shut my personal blog down and just concentrate on my business blog. They told me it would take away my focus on the business stuff (which will be connected to an ebook and now an online/email course) but something inside didn’t listen. The post ideas continue to come and I couldn’t just not write them. When I found your other blog (where I’ve commented before), I thought if Jack can do all these different blogs, I can figure out how to make this work for me. So now you can know that you’ve already helped another blogger with your work. For that, I thank you 🙂

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Hi Penney,

      That is sweet. I am glad that it helps and that it works for you. When people ask me about the blogging I tell them that time is my biggest challenge. If I had more time I could do so much more.

      I have a couple of ebooks in the works- that is code for I am planning to write them- now I just need to make it happen.

      I am obviously biased, but I think the personal blogs help with our focus. The chance to just write without worry/concern about the business side makes a significant difference and I think it helps to improve our work.

      • penneyfox April 6, 2012 at 5:52 am

        Curious to hear more about your ebooks, specifically the content ….
        And totally agree regarding the time challenge! If I didn’t have to work, take care of my son, clean the house (ok that one sometimes doesn’t get done), I wonder how much I’d get done.

        Hope you’re sister is doing well and recovering 🙂

        • Jack April 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

          Hi Penney,

          I can’t tell you about those without a signed NDA, must be notarized too. 😉 Just some basic stuff on blogging and business. Have to actually start writing and map them out a little bit.

          That time challenge is never ending.

  3. Bill Dorman April 5, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Yes, it’s extra scary when it’s family who have needs you can not fix. Good luck with your sister.

    I think one of these reasons I have had ‘some’ success in social is the fact that I’m very engaging, sometimes witty, and really try not to be a total ‘what’s in it for me’ douche-bag. Part of getting there was my willingness to open up and share parts of my life on a personal level. Well, as it comes to my family, my wife said ‘no mas’. She’s about fed up w/ me being ‘too’ social and she doesn’t want to see any more ‘personal’ stuff on my blog.

    My wife thinks the connections are not real and most in here are not who they say they are. I have been surprised by some a couple of times, but I think I know you well enough. Yes, I’m holding out hope you are an under-employed Playboy model who likes to blog; but I’m ok if you really are a hairy, pasty ass, middle aged pudgy guy. I’m just not that picky……:).

    Just like IRL however, some connections will be deeper than others. You tend to gravitate where you think its the best fit.

    That’s my story for 4/5/2012; 12:34 EDT and I’m sticking to it.

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Pudgy and middle aged- no way dude. Not middle aged and not pudgy.

      I know a lot of people who think of the blogosphere as being la la land and expect that it is filled with a lot fake people. Well, they exist here just as they do in real life but this isn’t Potemkin’s Village.

      If you want to play with fire I can write a guest post as your wife, but you have to promise to post it unedited. Of course if you get into trouble I’ll deny everything and then Gini can use that whole deal as a case study.

      So if your wife gets upset you can tell her that you were helping one of the online friends build more material for her business. Or maybe not.

      Always glad to see you here.

  4. LaRae Quy April 5, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Hi Jack

    I loved this sentence: “I had a dream that blogging could help me convert from fantasy into reality.”

    Good for you for following that dream. And you have built and cultivated relationships with other people – strangers who have become connections. I love that about blogging as well . . . the sense of connectivity.

    My prayers as well for your sister.

    Blessings and all my best.

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Hi LaRae,

      Blogging is an exceptional opportunity for so many different things. Every time I think about that post I emailed you about I laugh. Who could have imagined that years later there would be this kind of connection.

      Thank you for the kind wishes.

  5. Gina April 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I hope your sister will be okay and they can determine the reasons for her health issues. That can be very frustrating. It comes across loud and clear that you are a very caring brother/person. She’s lucky to have you by her side.

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you G. She is doing much better, but we could have a rough road ahead. Time will tell. I just do what I have seen everyone in my family do- look out for each other.

      Can’t mess with one of us unless you want to deal with all of us. 😉

  6. Pingback: Hristos a înviat! And other social media DOHs. « The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna

  7. Stan Faryna April 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I’m sorry to hear the uncertain news regarding your sister’s health. I will include her in my prayers.

    I also wanted you to know that there’s an elderly homeless lady in Bucharest that is wearing a big smile. In part because of you, Jack. She’s deaf, mute, and some say, dumb.

    Anyway, I was coming out of the corner market with a pack of Marlboro Reds – speaking of which you may find my 20 something year old non-biodegradable cigarette butts across the Qumran archaeological site if you look hard enough. Anyway, I saw her, guarding my chow chow, like she does when I leave him tied to a pole to go into the store.

    How that woman made it outdoors through the hard winter is a miracle. We lost a more than a dozen homeless this winter – just in Cismigiu Park. When I say we lost them, I’m saying they froze to death. People whose faces I knew.

    Anyway, the woman was looking pretty fragile today- prolly down to 80 pounds and negotiating a cold. I thought of what you wrote in your blog post and gave her everything I had. But the only reason I mention it is to let you and your kids know that Jack (not Stan) was a hero today.

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Hey Stan,

      I haven’t been in Qumran for a while, but it is safe to say I’ll go back. It sounds like you helped the right person today, but I am not the hero. You are.

      You did it and you deserve the credit. I don’t want to take it when you did the work.

  8. Betsy Cross ( April 5, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Jack,
    I hope your sister’s okay.
    I agree that sharing does help build relationships and even community in the long run. Shelley Lundquist wrote a beautiful post yesterday about her insights learned from her youth. http://weforgotyounot.wordpress.com/. She’s the female version of you…sort of! You are more of a day-to-day writer.
    Either way, I learn a lot listening to how people deal with the ins and outs, and ups and downs of life. Keep at it!

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      The female version of me. I make quite an ugly woman, hope she doesn’t look like me. 😉 I’ll come by and check her out.

      Anyway. I think we all learn together. Writing really helps bring clarity for me so I like taking the time to put it down on paper and figure out what I really think.

  9. Stan Faryna April 5, 2012 at 12:18 am

    As I said on the Triberr comment system: I’m in! Who can we help today?

    • Jack April 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Stan,

      I am trying to make a point to start every day with that thought. Can’t say that I always do it or that I will always follow through, but I figure it can’t hurt.

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