Consider some of today's hit TV shows i.e. Extreme Makeover,The Big Give, The Law of Attraction etc. with each demonstrating the transformational power of giving and thinking about giving. Unlike institutional messages of the past the underlying themes surrounding us today is aimed at changing how we think about ourselves, our surroundings, our relations and the methods we use to pursue "gains".
Consider the conversational rivers within the social web centric to "free" and how one can use "free" to make gains. Free is a method of giving but in most cases with some kind of expected return. There are millions of people and businesses adopting the "free" model of the social web however everyone is expecting returns from all that is being given freely. Returns from free come from relationships first, transactions follow.
How Do We Get a Return on Relationships?
Think about anything you've accomplished in your life. You had to rely on someone, somewhere to accomplish anything. Think about business. How does a business grow and prosper without establishing relationships whether with employees, suppliers or customers, it is all about relationships.
Relationships are the thread of social commerce whether for personal or professional gain. The bulk of the population understands that the dynamics of success is about giving to gain. We give our time, energy and effort with personal relationships. We give our time, energy, knowledge and efforts trying to establish business relations that lead to some form of commerce. However, most people give expecting a return and over time if all the giving doesn't produce most end up giving less and less.
We expect certain behavior, standards and ethics in our personal relations and when let down we pull back on the giving. In business we chase prospects, bosses and the markets giving whatever is expected to win the business, the promotion and our share of the market. When we aren't successful we tend to resort to "the easiest rough to success" which in most cases sets aside the fundamentals of good relations. We may gain short term but in the long term we lose that which is fundamental to our own character and self worth, relations with others. Do you think Elliott Spitzer feels he has gained?
What Will You Gain from the Relationships within the Social Web?
Businesses are seeing the value of reach and richness and people seem to be "collecting connections" hoping these can be converted to some form of commerce. Lots of people are asking others for help is using the social web and the request are about anything and everything. The recruiters are hunting for candidates, the advertisers are hunting for buyers, the network is hunting for users, the media is hunting for our attention and many people are hunting for opportunity.
Everyone appears to be on the hunt for something, somewhere with someone. The hunt and the hunters increase daily vying to grab our attention long enough to engage us in whatever they are selling or whatever they are seeking. As soon as we try and "hide out from the hunters" they quickly find another way to find us and the pressure of being hunted continues.
The basic tenets of any relationship is giving something that helps the other person. The giving of time, energy and thoughts to relationships enabled by the social web is like making deposits in the "bank account of human nature". When I receive "gifts" I feel compelled to give back. If we have faith in human nature the opportunities for gain come from the deposits made in "The Bank of Human Nature".
Not all "Banks of Human Nature" give back but those banks usually go broke because the depositors aren't getting any return. The social web is filled with opportunities for new relations, new transactions and new markets but the secret to success in using the social web lies within the quantity and quality of those giving deposits into the right "banks of human relations". Give and it shall be given, take and it shall be taken away.
What say you?