Mark Blasini


You don't need to stand out to make a connection


In high school, if you wanted to be accepted and well-liked, you had two options. You couldbethekid. Be known for something - be funny, bea star, be brilliant, etc. Stand out for some special quality and geteveryone's special attention.

Or you could be connected. Be friends with everyone - the nerds, the jocks, the bandos, the theatre people, even the teachers. Get along well in each of their spheres.

Being the kid might be an option for some people, but if you're like me, then it's not really a desirable option. In high school, I didn't care for getting special attention. It was much easier and more desirable for me to get along wellwith everyone than towork hard to stand out.

Making that choice,I had a smoothhigh school experience: no one picked on me, I got to connect withso many different people, I was active in different exciting activities and groups, and I didn't feel left out.

And most importantly, I didn't feel the pressure of having to perform, having to live up to anyone's expectations. I could be myselfand be well-liked.

Online, you'd think things would be different, but they aren't. Life is still like high school. And your options are the same.

You can either stand out for something great. Something particular. Something remarkable or attention-worthy. Something people will share with their friends, and their friends with their friends.

Or you can be well-connected.Be friends with the right people - the right bloggers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs. Get along well in their spheres and gain access to their followers and subscribers.

It's tempting to think that, if you want people to followand subscribe to your site,you have to pick the first option, that you have to try to stand out.

But online, it's important to remember: you don't need to stand out to make a connection with people. You don't need to be cool,brilliant, charismatic, etc. You just need to be open togettingto know new people.

And in an age where network is king, one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the attention you want onlineis to just connect with people. Ask them questions, comment on their sites,be useful to them.

Over time, these relationships will start to prove useful to you, as you start to build the support you need to be a strong online influence.