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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

Good Reads: Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel (Part 2)

A long, long time ago (October 2009) I attempted to turn my endless hours on planes into something more productive: Kindle Book Reviews!

My first Foushy Read was my friend Mitch Joel’s book “Six Pixels of Separation,” that I reviewed in Part 1.

After finishing it, I had quite a few questions and Mitch was kind enough to answer them for me. So, despite the, obnoxious, long delay, I’m happy to finally be able to share this interview!

On how personal brands impact businesses:

Q: Your book chronicles the rising importance of the personal brand as a way of establishing a unique value proposition. What are some of the fundamental changes that are going to occur for businesses as we move towards a more individual-centric brand landscape?

The changes are going to be radical. When individuals have audiences that rival those of some of the biggest corporations, you can just imagine how this is going to change communications and marketing – both internally and externally. That’s the real shift because of Social Media that few people really do focus on.

When the guy in the mailroom can have 120,000 people following and engaging with him on platforms like Twitter, everything we know about hierarchy and speaking with “one, unified voice” not only goes out the window, but becomes fake to consumers. My hopes are that this new brand landscape will lead they way to more and more real interactions between real human beings, instead of corporate-speak and stock press release quotes.


On being heard in a sea of voices:

Q: With traditional media channels, there was a filtering process that allowed certain companies to be branded as “authorities” with the internet equalizing everyone, what happens to the prestige of the expert? How do you differentiate yourself in an industry filled with “experts”?

One of the trends everyone is talking about is filters and aggregators. It’s important to remember that as more and more people create the content they want in text, images, audio and video and publish them to the world, the more sceptical most people will become.

I think people are going to have their own, inner circle of experts that will trump what we have traditionally thought of “experts” (it turns out that individuals are great at aggregating and editing what’s important to them). Just think about how John Stewart always has those amazingly ridiculous (and funny) titles for all of his “journalist” and “correspondent”.

The days of ABC or CNN telling you who an expert really is may be coming to an end. It looks like each of us will have our own trusted advisors who will acts as our own, personal experts and the currency of their value will be dictated by the word of mouth referrals they receive.

On measuring our own success:

Q: We can’t all be Mitch Joel’s and Chris Brogan! Not everyone can write a book, publish a blog and start an agency, what does success look like for the rest of us?

I think that Social Media is still a great place to tell, share and talk about stories. I’m not so sure that Social Media can be the frontline of success. It’s not for me, and I don’t think it’s like that for Chris Brogan anymore. Much like anything else that is public, you still need the “back-end” where the “action” happens. I think a small few will tweet their way to success, but for the majority of us, it’s always just going to be a great platform to share and connect.

Nothing more, nothing less. Success, as always, will be dependant on how much passion, intelligence and hustle you bring to your game (whatever you game may be). Wow, I sound like Gary Vaynerchuk (I just finished reading his book, Crush It… maybe that’s why?).

On luring readers after a blogging haitus:

Q: I have been guilty of not updating my blog in a consistent basis. Shame! Once we’ve dropped the ball, what are some of the best ways to get readers back?

  1. Be curious.
  2. Read lots of different stuff (online, magazines, books,  newspapers).
  3. Constantly write – because you love to write (you do love to  write, don’t you?).
  4. Ask questions (and answer them on your Blog).
  5. Use it as a pressure gasket to clear your mind at the end of  the day (just be careful not to set off too many other people’s gaskets by  your comments 😉
  6. Keep a notebook or a document open on your desktop/mobile  device where you can jot down ideas for things to Blog about.

Thanks Mitch!

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Learn more about Mitch’s work here.

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