Stay connected on your terms
With the ashes of the information explosion layered miles high, modernity rewards people who know the effective ways to search the soot for the surviving insights. Knowing a lot about something in demand secures you place in the machine (for now), there may be more leverage today in knowing how to know things. Supply and demand is the force of gravity in the non-physical world. If the supply of information is abundant the bottleneck is in the questions. Give thought to abstracting how you learn things. The direct questions are frontal attacks. Learn to flank.
Crowdsourcing is the peace dividend of interconnectedness. Curation via tokenized reputations and customer reviews. Google’s Pagerank algorithm crowdsources search by ranking links by how likely it matches what people were looking for. Nextdoor brings you into word-of-mouth conversations that you may have been missing out on before.
Hands-on example: Twitter
- Twitter is a fantastic platform to explore niches if you learn to use it effectively. I have learned so much from “Fintwit” (financial twitter) despite being a finance professional. Start following people that you like and as you read conversations you discover who else you like and before long you can, without their permission, find a tribe to teach and challenge you.
- I have helped several people to discover and benefit from a thoughtful approach to Twitter. My 2 main techniques:
- Use curated lists related to topics. You can subscribe to any of my lists and think of them as customized feeds. Make your own or find the lists of other “Tweeps” you may like.
- On desktop use Tweetdeck. It uses your Twitter credentials and allows you to see column-based feeds filtered by a list, a hashtag, a user, or other dimensions. Here’s a snapshot of my Tweetdeck.
- Twitter is a very entertaining and clever ecosystem. If you want a field guide to the Twitter prairie, check out Alex Danco’s playful analysis. Learn what it means to “get ratio-ed”.
- Danco on Twitter’s disrupting influence in academia:
“Twitter is genuinely revolutionizing graduate research, in a way that’s eye-opening for graduate students and quite threatening to their supervisors. Twitter gives students a path to establishing their own brands, both for the work they’re doing but also for their critical thought, their participation in the scientific community, and their individual strengths and personalities.
This is really exciting for grad students who know how to use Twitter and the rest of the internet as a tool to build their academic careers. But it’s really dangerous for the model, which is leveraged on the fact that students do not have access to such tools, and can only acquire a brand and access through their supervisors.”
Danco dives deeper into how Twitter can relieve positional scarcity which has worn down the workhorses of scientific research — the postdocs. (Link)
- If you are able to generate a following, one of the greatest tools afforded to you is the ability to crowdsource the answer to questions from a sharp community. Remember, you can follow anyone, unlike LinkedIn. You can always @ someone’s handle but to DM somebody they must follow you. I have seen people expertly crowdsource insightful business questions. I recommend following people who exploit this power so you can “draft in their lanes”.
- Benchmark co-founder Bill Gurley:
“Twitter is the most amazing networking and learning network ever built.
For someone whose pursuing their dream job, or chasing a group of mentors or peers, it’s remarkable. In any given field, 50-80% of the top experts in that field are on Twitter and they’re sharing ideas, and you can connect to them or follow them in your personal feed.
If you get lucky enough and say something they find interesting, they might follow you, and the reason this becomes super interesting is that unlocks direct message, and now all of a sudden you can communicate directly or electronically with that individual. Very, very powerful.
If you’re not using Twitter, you’re missing out.”
- If you don’t have a following (I do not), remember that crowdsourcing skill can be best rewarded on Reddit. Why is Reddit better than most internet forums? The top entries on the page are not the most recent but the most “upvoted”. Unlike Twitter, you may not “know” the respondents so it can be difficult to calibrate the value of the replies. The trade-off is you don’t need a following, instead, you must ask the right question in the right way to get responses and upvotes. A game in itself.
The Best Guides on How To Use Twitter