Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Weak Ties Can Build Strong Bridges

Monday, September 19th, 2011
The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...

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Deep connections with people take time and energy. They are essential, but when it comes to getting a job or expanding business, research has found that weak ties are more effective than strong ones.

Strong ties represent people you already know and probably see quite often. This includes family and close friends. They occupy a great deal of your time and since you know them well, they are not likely to know much more about business prospects, cutting edge technology, and emerging markets than you do.

The Strength of Weak Ties

Weak connections, on the other hand, occupy a very different world than you do. They are likely to know something you do not. Because of this, they can give you access to worlds that offer opportunities that would not have existed before.

Weak ties form bridges and help you walk into a world you don’t know.

That new world may be the world in which your new client lives. It may also a way to broaden your job prospects or information networks.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

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Understanding the Value of Social Media

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I don’t use social media because I value quality and not quantity in my friendships.” Remarks like these miss the point of social media—it serves an entirely different purpose.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others are not substitutes for strong ties. They are not your family or close friends, and they are not places to build close relationships.

However, social media is another tool to broaden your relationships. Whether it’s a grocery store, post office, local bar, or your favorite social media site, it’s a place where you have a nodding acquaintance with lots of people. You learn bits and pieces about a lot of different things.

Social media is filled with weak ties. And weak ties represent ways to broaden your horizon and expand your opportunities.

Trolling for Contacts

As an FBI counterintelligence agent, I spent a lot of time developing weak ties with a variety of people. One never knew which direction an investigation could take so I had a virtual rolodex filled with names. When we need information we don’t have, we tend to ask our weak ties because they have access to more diverse data.

A few years back I was at a reception and met a man who ran an educational training program for kids with special needs. There was no obvious connection he would have to any of the Russian spies I was investigating, but we kept in touch. A year or so later he was invited to a philanthropic dinner where he met a Russian consular official and they hit it off.

He called me to let me know and I suggested that he follow up to see if they shared any common business interests. As it turned out, the Russian consulate was going to host a reception held for a Russian educational delegation and he was invited.

not the weakest link

Image by dcJohn via Flickr


He now had access to a group of people who were very wary about inviting strangers into their midst, for obvious reasons. They were expecting FBI sources with backgrounds in the hi-tech industry or politics, not special education.

I could not have predicted the way those relationships would develop when we first met. But that is the nature of a weak tie.

As leaders and managers, you do not know which way your business will go either. In this volatile economy, you cannot predict which types of contacts and business sources will be able to answer your question or help you make the next move. Since they operate outside of your environment, your weak connections may be the ones to provide the bridge you need to walk into a new world of opportunities.

How do you maintain contact with weak ties? How can you expand your network of weak ties? How do you utilize your network of weak ties?


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Why Social Media Is Like A Thong Bikini

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Young woman, topless, wearing a blue thong, si...

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Social media makes sharing easy, but expose only the most attractive parts of yourself and cover up those things you would rather the rest of the world NOT glimpse.

We’ve all wished we could take back something we said, or hoped that an embarrassing memory would fade with time. With a little luck, and forgiveness on the part of others, it’s possible to make a fresh start and put the past behind us. Unless, of course, our past is indelibly etched into the hard drive of a computer—and recalled with the press of a button.


As an FBI agent, I interviewed many different kinds of people. The most productive for my investigations were those who talked—and talked—because they were often the kind who didn’t know when to shut up for their own good. They provided too much information about themselves and many times those details were ultimately damaging to their character and/or their goals

Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your social network:

Specific, Not Brief

Social networks force you to condense large thoughts into a few skimpy words. The rule to remember is this: be specific, not brief. With 140 characters, you can’t afford to make a mistake, so specificity is key when trying to get your thoughts across. Too often, in an effort to be brief with your comments, the words you use can be vague and confusing.

The best business plans are one-page because they force the writer to concentrate on essentials and clearly think through the issues. In social media, the limit is one good sentence. If that sentence is specific and vivid enough, your readers will get the point.


The greater your goals, the more intentional you need to be in the way you communicate them to others. Develop a strategy so the world sees exactly what you want them to see, and nothing more.

Start off by focusing firmly on the people with whom you want to interact. Once you figure that out, then you’ll have a much better idea of how to intentionally create the type of content that they need. If you can share valuable content, you’ve drastically increased the chances of them following you and promoting you in their networks.

Close, Not Intimate

If people are going to accept you, you will need to accept them, too. This means close and frequent contact with them if you expect your relationship to grow. In other words, continued presence makes the heart grow fonder. Instead of asking, “Who can help me?” start thinking how you can be both a valuable and regular player in their life.

Social media allows you to extend your reach by helping others. Do this by sharing helpful content. It’s easier to connect with people and stay close to them because they feel that you have their best interests at heart. If they feel accepted by you, they will reciprocate. It increases the chance that they will mention you if they’re in contact with a company or organization that needs your kind of help.

Talk Back

Your behavior doesn’t go unnoticed, so pay attention to on-line etiquette. When people respond to your content, talk back! Form personal connections with your audience and encourage them to continue viewing your content.

  • Use sound judgment by remaining aware of how your comments will be interpreted by others listening in.
  • Reply in a timely manner.
  • Take the time to thank people for their interest and their response.
  • Give credit where credit is due.


To prevent over-exposing yourself on social media, keep your goals in mind. Words are expressions of your mind—they communicate your personality. The wrong information can leave the wrong impression, so be discreet in the way you convey yourself in social media. People often ignore their choice of words when presenting themselves, but they are as important as facial expressions, handshakes, and the way you dress.

No matter how compelling your story, remember that condensing the most revealing details is key. Maintain appropriate boundaries on social media because if something embarrassing is hanging out, everyone sees it.

Looking at the bottom line: think twice before hitting the send button.

How do maintain appropriate boundaries on social media? What tips can you share about revealing only the most attractive parts of yourself? How can a person regain their reputation if they’ve over-exposed themselves on social media?

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