You’re one interaction away from the life you want

By Srinivas Rao, Contributing {grow} Columnist

The headline for this post I think is a very applicable philosophy to approaching the social web.

If you have really immersed yourself in this world you’ve probably experienced what Mark calls this wonderful random synergy of social media by now.  You’re probably forming amazing new relationships, but have you ever wondered how this happens?  What is the process?

Between running a podcast and talking to people on Twitter, I spend an absurd amount of time building relationships with people online. While I wish I could boil it down to an exact science, I can’t. I form great relationships with some people and with others  nothing seems to materialize.  I’ve had guests on my podcast that I seem to get along with and then never talk to me again and don’t even tweet the interview I did with them.  There’s something about building relationships online that you can’t really quantify or distill into a formula. I call it the “click factor.”

There’s really no step by step guide for creating the click factor with people online. Everybody seems to find different things that make them click with each other. For some it’s a common interest while for others it’s a similar sense of humor that ties them together. The hardest thing about understanding the “click” factor is that it really can’t be forced. It’s something that has to occur naturally and if you open yourself up to new people a world beyond your wildest dreams will emerge.

What Makes us “Click” with Each Other?

It’s no secret that if somebody flatters you, you’ll have a tendency to like them. But we have to be careful not to take this too far given that people will see right through your insincerity.  The other thing to note is that your flattery might even be completely ignored. Where we really start to click is when we get beyond flattery and find ourselves in an ongoing conversation that seems to go from hours to days to weeks to months.  Pay close attention to who these people are in your own network because they’re the ones you’ve really clicked with. There’s people that I’ve been talking to on twitter for months on end and probably will for as long as Twitter is around because we simply click.

3 Clicking Case Studies

Bud Hennekes: Bud Hennekes is a young blogger who I interviewed a while back. Truth be told I didn’t really like him that much because he told me about all the things that were wrong with my blog Skool of Life. To his credit he was spot on about all of them and when I made those changes, all of a sudden he was much more interested in what I was up to. Over time Bud has been a big supporter of everything I’ve done and has made predictions about how “massive” BlogcastFM will be. When somebody believes in what you’re doing like that, you can’t help but want to be in their corner. The more you believe in someone else the more they’ll believe in you, especially if you kiss a few digital babies.

Crystal Street: Crystal Street is somebody I consider a great friend online. She does amazing photography work and  I can’t even recall exactly how we connected. But it wasn’t long before I found myself talking to her almost every single day about surfing, photography, travel and everything else. Something about her inspired me and I’m guessing something about me inspired her. As a result we just clicked.  When you manage to inspire each other you almost tend to act as the fuel for each other’s fire. We all need a bit of fuel for our fire. Figure out who yours is.

Jessika Hepburn: Jessika is the owner of OhMyHandmade a very popular site in the handmade community. I’m not really an avid reader of Handmade blogs, but  I’ve connected a few members of the handmade niche because it turns out we have a very strong BlogcastFM listener base there. Jessica was recommended to me as  potential guest by another one of our listeners. Even through our tweets I got a very friendly vibe from Jessika and I could tell I was going to like her. Just remember people can feel everything you say, even if it is digital. After our chat, I sent Jessica copy of my e-book and based on her response it was clear we had really clicked. We had very similar ideas of how relationships are built online.  We don’t have much in common in terms of our blogs, but somehow we still clicked, which is why you should talk to plenty of people outside your niche.

What is the common theme?  There isn’t one!  And yet the Cllck Factor is undeniable.  How is the Click Factor working for you?  Is there any rhyme or reason to your online relationships?

Srinivas Rao is a contributing writer to {grow}. You can read more of his original writing at The Skool of Life blog or listen to his podcast at BlogcastFM. Follow him on Twitter at @skooloflife

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  • John Bottom

    Srinivas – agree with everything apart from the title of your post! Sure, online relationships are great and, since I discovered the whole Twitter/blog/online world a few years ago, I have made some excellent new friends (not least the GrowFather himself, Mr Schaefer). However, it takes more than a click. If you think someone is interesting, you need to take a good hard look at their work, their interests to find the common ground that will make the connection work. Tough to do that in a single click. But, hey everything starts with a single click, I suppose… I will check out Bud, Crystal and Jessika – thanks for the recommendations and a nicely composed post.

  • Srinivas,
    John B has you nailed on the title; it only served to get this great blog read. The story of the spontaneous relationships is well-told. There doesn’t seem to be a way to predict or to guide into what will or won’t be the click that goes on and on. Thanks for your putting it into a very nice capsule of words.

  • John ,

    I think you hit the key point “it all starts with single click.”  I agree that just clicking alone is not enough take you to new heights in a relationship online. It’s what you do with it once that click occurs. As you said you really have to cultivate that relationship.

  • Sally,

    It’s definitely hard to predict how things will turn out online when you start talking to somebody. I never had a clue that it would all lead me to where I’m at right now. Sometimes the best plans are the ones you never make.

  • Kevin

    Hey Srinivas,

       Really great post. This is something that I think about all the time. Why certain friendships blossoms when others (that you thought had great potential) flatline. 

       I whole heartedly agree with you that ‘When somebody believes in what you’re doing like that, you can’t help but want to be in their corner.’ It’s really amazing what you can accomplish when some truly supports you. 



  • I liked this post. You never know who you will meet and who will change your life. I mean, I think about how fortunate I have been just starting out. I have been at the right place at the right time. I have also always just been myself, and that always seems to help.

    My bosses always want to know how to make more money. I always want to know how to have more relationships. I look at my bosses and they are so miserable. I may not be perfectly happy, but I am way happier than all three put together! Hmmm…maybe something for them to think about.

    Very nice post for the end of the week. Have a nice weekend surfing.

  • Great post Srinivas!  And, I absolutely, John!  In executive sales, relationships are everything.  They don’t need to be deep necessarily (depending on what you are selling) but they definately need to move past the social technology. My fear is that companies who only look at the bottom line will lose sight of that as they are constantly looking for the “simple” solution and sometimes miss the underlying issues.

    More importantly though, the more complex the sales opportunity, the more diverse the relationships need to be. These involve many different people for many different reasons. Social Media has been proven many times over to help deal with this kind of complexity if leveraged properly.

    This is nothing new and has been an issue everytime a new technology is introduced.  It used to be that the telephone was used to book face to face meetings so relationships could be built, then people stopped answering the phone and the new contact point became email and sales people started to hide behind the technology, companies cancelled travel budgets and forced many sales people to become “desk jockeys”. 

    The key thing sales people and companies alike must always remember (and this will never change) is that people will tell you more in person than you’ll ever find out through any technology. The trick is to build enough credibility to get on their agenda and I’ve found that Social Media is actually the best technology yet to help do that.

  • Srini, this is a great post because it demonstrates both the click and the “anti-click” factor.  Sometimes, as your experience with Bud Hennekes bears out, first impressions, or first clicks might not “click”.  Someone says something that you take umbrage with, you misinterpret or just don’t get, and there’s no click…there’s an “anti click” (to use your terms.)  But after you get to know the person or clear up the misunderstanding, the door opens and you find that there’s that special “something” in the person that you didn’t see at first.

    I like @9f8ec90084aee338488d02b7a942047e:disqus ‘s “it all starts with a single click” (or anti-click, as the case may be:)  Sometimes we follow through and follow up, other times not.  But online or off, I say; trust your gut.  It’s very rarely far off.  Cheers and happy surfing!  Kaarina

  • Nancy,

    Thanks so much. The further I progress along this journey through this skool of life, I’ve found that relationships fuel everything in your life. Its too bad they don’t teach this stuff in school. Definitely something to think about for your bosses.

  • I think it call comes down to trusting you gut. I had a feeling that a job that I was at was wrong and walked out in 2 weeks. There;s not a day that goes by that I regret that decision. People forget that just because we’re online that we’re still communicating with emotion.

  • Steve,

    I think the beauty of social media is that it results in an ongoing conversation which causes a relationship to grow on both a personal and professional level. For me, I’ve gravitated towards social media because of the fact I love talking to people and learning about their stories.

  • Anonymous

    I just came from a trail that started on Spin Sucks which in turn sent me over to Margie Clayman’s blog. Her post struck me in a different way than this one, and yet just as much.

    I could just copy Nancy Davis’s comment because I feel just as blessed in this new world I have found myself immersed in and of course, Kaarina’s because she always feels like what I hope to be when I’m all grown up.

    But. I am going to ask you the same thing I asked Margie this morning…I wonder, if you wouldn’t mind answering a question. Does everyone feel
    the way I do when I’m reading these posts I find? As if you are speaking
    straight at me. As if you (the writer) know what has been bothering me
    or confusing me, or something that has simply been out of my reach for
    even beginning to grasp? Or is it because we (the reader) find what we
    need, in whatever way, are actually drawn to it and ready to hear it?

  • Amber-Lee, what a lovely thing to say: I’m complimented and honoured, and so happy to be a part of your journey.

    As to your question, I think it’s a bit of both.  I think we find and resonate with the things most meaningful and necessary to our growth, when the time is right.  As they say, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”  I also believe that those who are writing are writing from the heart and soul of themselves, their expertise and their experience.  And since we’re all connected as “spiritual beings having a physical experience” (I would attribute that quote, but I don’t know who actually said it), what someone is sharing will resonate with someone who’s ready to hear it.

    Your energy, enthusiasm, passion and openness is admirable and infectious: keep on the journey:)  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • So glad I read this.  It did speak to me as I am kind of new to social media.  I read everything but seem to never engage because I feel I won’t sound intelligent.  I am going to get over my shyness and spend the time to build relationships.

    I just checked out your blog. You drew me in with living in Costa Rica.  I was a travel agent for many years and sent numerous clients to Tamarindo to surf!    How cool to live there.  I will be catching up on all your blog posts!

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