Many of you know that I spent a few days in bed during the early part of this week with what was either flu, or the cold from hell. Yes, I did a little blog reading and emailing, but by and large I didn’t work and was away from social media. In fact, I set aside my normal blogging goals for the week, figuring my first priority was simply to get well.
One of the surprising takeaways from this experience is the insight I’ve had into the nature of the relationships I’m building online. I was blown away by the good wishes I received both on Twitter and by email when I tweeted that I was going to be out of action. And then, when I started back yesterday, the welcome was incredible. It really was like walking into an office of people I love working with; people who are not just my colleagues, but are good friends too. I don’t know if you’ve ever known anything like this in a real office? I certainly hadn’t done so in years, and to have co-created it online is simply amazing.
This in turn caused me to reflect further on a conversation I’d had with Julie Walraven a couple of weeks ago about Twitter. Accepted social media wisdom for small businesses is that you strive to build massive networks in order to leverage their viral power. But being ill made me realise that there are individuals in my network whose unique lights shine out for me more greatly than others: whose blogs I particularly enjoy reading and contributing to; whose tweets I especially look out for because they’re normally interesting or engaging; whose comments I love reading here. It was these people I both heard from when I was ill and/or missed because I wasn’t around to see them. Big numbers are important for many, but relationships, I’m realising, are important for me. How you turn that into profitable online business, I haven’t yet cracked, and if anyone has any golden nuggets on this, I’d love to hear them.
Meantime, during one of my more active hours this week, I installed the commentluv plug-in. I’d decided that, even though my site is currently being redesigned, I wanted to add it now. Enabling all of you who hang out here to promote your own excellent content is the tiniest thing I can do to show you how much I value my connection with you. Use and enjoy!