Nov 4, 2009

It all starts with you

I think we often underestimate ourselves; thinking that just one person can’t make that big of a difference. While it’s seemingly irrelevant to politics, this at&t commercial does a great job of showing just how much power one person can have – if we just reach out.

Decades ago, getting a group together as quickly as the college students do in this commercial, would have been nearly impossible. But, now, being more connected than ever, we can easily reach out to friends, family, past classmates, coworkers and even a few friend of a friend’s, to create a large network of supporters.

So, how come we don’t see examples of this happening on a daily basis?

Because we often limit our thinking to just ourselves, thinking that singularly, we only can do so much on our own, instead of expanding our horizons to a large network of people who are ready and willing to help.

The next time you, or your coalition, are looking to reach an exponentially growing network of people, keep a few things in mind:

  1. Create something worth sharing. Ensure that your message is worthy of people sharing with their friends and family (who will then pass it on to theirs and so on). That might include creating a sense of urgency, communicating values in a creative way (videos, photos) or using emotional anecdotes (such as a lost puppy…).
  2. Encourage sharing. Provide viewers with the tools to share these messages, whether it’s including a share bar on your website’s content or allowing them to forward emails easily.
  3. Show them how big the network is. No matter how independent and self-confident a person is, we often look to other people to see how we should act. Thus, explaining why full tip jars get more tips than empty ones, because we feel a social pressure to conform. If someone can see that a group or cause has thousands of supporters who are mobilized and taking action, chances are, when they join, they’ll start acting the exact same way.

Above all, remember, it only has to start with you.

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