It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You

Finding a job, sourcing a deal, selling a client, creating new business relationships – all these money making activities are essentially the same. One needs the same resources – the data, the social network and the business credibility – to manifest these opportunities.

The social media has created a sea change in how relationships develop to facilitate the task of making money via relationships. Pre-social media, it was a matter of who-you-know. One used the inner circle (the who-you-know) to “send” the request (a job, a contract, etc.) and wait for that request to slowly filter outwards one person at-a-time. The problem is the inner circle may not be suited to facilitate the request; if one is looking to change their career, their inner circle of work buddies aren’t as useful. Making a wholly new network was daunting. The problem was confirmation of trust and credibility – the social graph and personal transparency didn’t exist even as early as a few years ago.

With the social media, new networks can be formed more quickly by “broadcasting” the request to like-minded people who have become part of your adhoc network comprised mostly of strangers. For example, I estimate I only know 5% of my 11,500 Twitter followers, and about 2% intimately where we’ve actually met.

Social media’s most profound and radical manifestation is the unique ability to form tight social relationships in a matter of days or weeks. These relationships are formed on the basis of opportunity, and are often serendipitous. The business relationships I’ve formed in the past three months are as tight as and more relevant than relationships I’ve had for ten years (that now don’t fit my business needs).

The key to attracting new opportunities is who-knows-you. The messages one broadcasts out into the social media hit their targets serendipitously. Many of my newest and most interesting relationships are initiated from unexpected cold calls, or short Twitter DMs of interest.

Social compatibility is a numbers game. The bigger your network reach, the more people with shared interests, cultures and personalities will come out the woodwork to say “hi”. This is the power of social networking.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email

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