I recently read “Imagine” by Jonah Lehrer (his blog, his twitter)and really like the portion of his book where he talked about, what he called, “weak ties.” The idea is that although people normally have a handful of really good friends, the relationships that we have with acquaintances are the ones that usually fuel new ideas and innovation. And the more acquaintances the better, it seems.


Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

Consider people who call themselves “networkers”, they surround themselves with people who help refine and move ideas forward. Mixing with people from different disciplines on a regular basis serves as a kind of creative lubricant that keeps ideas moving forward.

I will admit that when I first got into social media I thought I needed to have a strategy. It settled on growing the readers of my blog. So, I started to use social media for this purpose. It took me longer than it should have to realize that social media isn’t just a medium that needs a strategy, but a new tool for communication, similar to the telephone, fax machine, pager, text messaging, or email. There are best practices for these types of communication, but a strategy?

Here are some tips for making weak ties and moving ideas forward:

  • Use social media for connections not converting followers or boosting your klout score. (It looks similar but feels much different)

  • Post more frequently on others ideas than your own (reap what you sow)

  • If you need help, ask

  • Be patient (social media and blogs are a lot like newborns, they cry and poop for months before they even smile and take even longer to earn their keep)

  • Engage with others with similar goals.

Chance favors the connected mind. Click here to watch the TED talk from Steven Johnson on the topic.