An Invitation to Join Builds a New Wall of Friends: The NING Platform

I don't invite people to groups or sites very often. Only when I see real value do I put a pitch out there for someone to join something. Social Media is like that, if your an insurance salesman selling to friends and family then you aren't doing enough to get out and WIN!

Examples of join requests I have sent out in the last 4 months include: a.) Join My Cause Jamba Juice: Love the Juice / Hate the Cup; b.) Come see my Kingdom on Knighthood (a Facebook game); c.) #twEATup Who's downtown Austin and interested in coffee or lunch? Out side of that, it's pretty much singing the body electric and hoping that my riffing catches some like-minded people.

However, today, I stuck my social media neck out and invited people to a NING community that I was asked to help guide back in March by the creator of the site. And as I sifted through my g-mail contacts and hand-selected about 100 people who could benefit from inclusion in this site, I had a moments hesitation about hitting the send button. But I did…

I have been reading Seth Godin's Tribes again lately and he talks about "joining" verses "participation." I have been struggling with this NING commuity of self-identified Social Media Professionals and trying to get people to commit, participate and do more than join and lurk.

So the tipping point for me today was scheduling an Agile Standup Meeting on Leadership for the site. I have run these before and they are a great way to get some ideas and voices down on paper quickly. What I was not expecting was the 45+ responses so far, of people preparing and ready to come "chat" about Social Media.

I have been running an open source project, with mixed success, called, and we have had three Agile Standup Meetings. All of them have been illuminating. The most people we had at one time was 5!

It will take some clear guidelines to keep the discussion on topic tomorrow. I'm up for it.

And what I did in conjunction with tomorrow's meeting, is I invited those Social Media professionals in my social graph to come and see what this community is up to.

And again, Godin talks about giving the people the tools and then standing back and letting their leadership and participation guide them. It is my job as a leader to open the door and make the pitch for why the conversation in the room is worth their time. It is their responsibility to discover where and how they want to participate.

Here's what happened.

my featured friends on

I created a nice little pocket of folks who I trust and care about. One was a business partner almost 8 years ago, and I still cannot wait to hear his voice again. He is a visionary that I am curious about. "What are you working on, my friend?" I can't wait to hear his answer. We're going to do a Skype call tomorrow before the Standup.

And so, I have pinged my sphere of Social Medialy Aware friends and asked them to join me in a small NING Bar on the web called inSocialMedia. I can buy them a drink. I can ask them about their lives and see if we have business opportunities that match up. And I can invite them to my Agile Stand Up tomorrow. [Note: It's great to be the Admin where I can "feature" all of my friends as they join. But then, I feature most newbies for a few days… ]

The next step, all the next steps, are theirs. I have opened the door to leadership. Leadership for them. And I have provided a platform and a community that I find to be quite engaging and vibrant in a focused way that LinkedIN and other "social" sites cannot be. This one is for Social Media Professionals. At least that's what it says. (grin)

See you there maybe? See you at the stand up tomorrow or a standup somewhere in our future, hopefully.