Conversations are Shaping the Social Web


Conversations are Shaping the Social Web image

Photo: Whiteboard Diaries

Every new industry has leaders.

How do you become a leader?

By starting conversations – by bringing relevant topics of discussion to light and getting others to talk about them… Creating engagement.

Conversations can:

  • Build authority

  • Establish credibility

  • Move and inspire people

  • Improve your listening skills

  • Sharpen your communication skills

  • Develop connections

  • Lead to business opportunities

  • Provide ongoing real-life education money can’t buy, and much more…

Accepting Responsibility for Your Voice

By participating in conversations on the social web, you accept responsibility for contributing to something bigger than yourself. So many people sit back and let fear prevent them from accepting that responsibility. You can't excel in
business or anything for that matter with low self-esteem and an unwillingness to accept responsibility.

Responsible people are a highly sought after commodity. Businesses are built on these.

Getting Started in the Conversation

When you start to communicate with others on a regular basis, you begin to discover your voice and contributing value to conversations becomes second nature. The key is to just get started buy leaving a comment on a blog, responding to a
tweet, jumping into a Linkedin discussion or just by simply interacting with friends on Facebook. You have to start somewhere.

Here, there, everywhere you come across something of interest that prompts an opinion, share it liberally with others. That’s where and how conversations can begin to enhance your social media experience.

The conversations that are happening everyday on Twitter, Facebook or your blog – is where all possibility resides. Everything you’ve imaged that can happen on the social web is just one conversation away.

Becoming a Social Media Leader

Social media leaders create conversations that are relevant to the communities they serve. They bring people together, increase engagement, inspire commitment and encourage accountability. They understand that everyone has a voice and
that everyone can contribute value to others.

There is no one voice that is shaping the future of the social web. There are communities of voices that are shaping the best practices, applications and strategies to continue to grow the industry. 

All of this is made possible by conversations and the people who lead them.

Are you participating in conversations that are shaping the social web?

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Category : Blog &Social Media

  • John Falchetto

    Mark, participating is step one. I really like how you break down the effects of participating.

    I think not everyone participates the same way and that’s what is great about the social web. Some are jerks (Marcus recently posted about this) and others are real A-listers (yep Mr Harai looking right at you).

    Now if only I could get a clone, I could participate in many more conversations. Choosing which conversations to participate in is a skill I need to develop.

    How do you do it Mark?

    • Mark Harai

      John, all I know is I have to get work done.

      You guys (our good friends) consistently serve up thought-provoking articles and contribute meaningful comments around the social web everyday… I just can’t keep up!

      I try to support everyone I care about and am having a hard time doing that… I will just have to do the best I can John…

      Thanks for jumping in here with your support, I know how valuable your time is and I appreciate your efforts very much.

    • Bill Dorman

      I concur on both, Mark is definitely an A lister and how do we clone ourselves to stay involved on a meaningful level?

      • Mark Harai

        Maybe the world should rethink the cloning of humans subject; but only for the social media community :P

        • Bill Dorman

          Let’s make a movie about that.

    • davinabrewer

      See Gini Dietrich for the cloning technology.

      • Mark Harai

        I knew it!!

      • Bill Dorman

        See Gini D for anything; I really think she has found a way not to sleep……………

  • Dustin

    I’d like to think so – because I’m a huge proponent that conversations are what drives content most of the time. While our conversations might center around a piece of content (a post, a video, a tweet, etc.), it is the conversation that follows that is what provides value. And, I’m all for providing value.

    Good stuff, Mark. First time here!

    • Mark Harai

      Hey Dustin, it’s great to see you sir : )

      You are spot on with your assessment… the value really is in the comment section of a post and the overall conversation taking place on the social web.

      Ideas are expanded upon and different views are expressed that can influence how you see something or form an opinion about something.

      Perspective is the key here. Everybody has something unique to add to the conversation.

      Thanks for dropping some thoughts and inspiration here Dustin : )

  • Frank Dickinson

    “There is no one voice that is shaping the future of the social web. There are communities of voices that are shaping best practices, applications and strategies to continue to grow the industry.”

    I think this is so spot on Mark. I have experienced this lately with different “communities” of recent follows on Twitter –

    John Fachetto
    Ingrid Abboud
    Dino Dogan
    Srinivas Rao

    A community of friends contributing to and shaping the conversation – thereby shaping the future of the social web.

    This feeling of a grassroots movement is amazing within this shaping. It is marked by folks who are willing to put themselves out there. It is sustained by bringing others into the community.

    This leadership will continue to change the way we work, communicate and interact.

    Good stuff!

    • Mark Harai

      I love your add here Frank… You left your name out by the way!

      It really is great to have access to people like you, those you’ve mentioned and so many others that we’re connected to.

      We are talking some serious people, skills, experience and balls who are putting it out there and shaking up an industry.

      I can hang with you guys for a while : )

      This is important: “It is sustained by bringing others into the community.”

      The social web thrives because of people. It will be sustained because of people. Good people have an opportunity to part of changing the world for the better.

      Thanks for your continued support and inspiration Frank, it makes all the difference in the world sir.

  • Bill Dorman

    Community of voices, I like that.

    People that are willing to step up and take responsibility will truly be recognized and move to the front of the line. It’s scary up there at times, but somebody has to do it.

    As I mature (in age), I do find the more I put myself out there in leadership positions, speaking, connecting, collaborating, the more confidence it brings and makes it easier to do.

    Communication is always the key. Never assume, limit your pre-judging and more things can get accomplished.

    What do you think of that? One whole response with no silliness………:)

    • davinabrewer

      Ooops… meant to hit the ‘unliked’ button what with the no silliness. Better step it up next time.

      • Bill Dorman

        So much pressure………….

        • Mark Harai

          You were built to handle pressure Bill : )

          • Bill Dorman

            The man, the myth, the machine……….

          • Mark Harai

            Dude, I think your head is getting bigger… You may need to walk sideways through doorways pretty soon :P

          • Bill Dorman

            The man, the myth, the machine……….

    • Mark Harai

      That truly is a miracle Bill :p

      No, actually you’ve left a few serious comments here – I must be special haha!

      As you get a bit older, wiser and seasoned through real-life experiences, you have more value to contribute to any conversation. You certainly add value to every conversation you participate in Bill.

      You got game!

      It’s been great to get to know you Bill – it will be fun to watch you spread your wings and really catch some momentum.

      Jeez, you’re just getting started and you’re already shaking things up!

      Cheers Bill!

  • SoloBizCoach

    Great ideas Mark. I would add that people should do this offline as well. Participate in your local community. Help to make your community better. Build lasting friendships.

    If you do, I guaranty that your life will be better.

    • Mark Harai

      I agree Fred… Funny, I would have said something very similar to you, but backwards:

      “People should participate on the social web by contributing value to the community. Many new friendships will develop as a result.”

      I’m 45 years old and have been developing relationships in business and the communities they serve for a couple of decades. It’s the social web that is new territory for me, so I tend to share the experience from this perspecitve.

      I would also add that I spend more time getting ideas, insights / making friendships and developing strategic relationships / and participating in new business ventures with my online connections than I do with my offline connections these days.

      Thanks for popping in here Frank, I appreciate it very much :)

    • Bill Dorman

      Can I second that Fred?

    • Bill Dorman

      Can I second that Fred?

  • davinabrewer

    Was just thinking about this Mark… per one of my own posts about the differences in using blogs, Twitter, FB and even LinkedIn. The conversations are different.. all adding to the mix in different ways.

    Whether I ever sign another client via my social networking or not, it’s helped improve my communications skills, my knowledge and expertise so much.. it’s invaluable. Granted I’d spend less time here and more time elsewhere to grow my business, but these conversations are a big part of my day.

    It’s about interest. I’m interested in the people I know on FB; finding out which high school friends are living where, seeing other friends talk and share pictures, competing at the games. But I’m less involved there. In some ways I am more connected to the people in my professional and other personal networks b/c we share common interests, we’re more vested in the particular topics we choose to follow and discuss. The conversations we have via blogs, Twitter are more relevant to me I guess b/c I’m a self-centered little punk only interested in my own selfish vacation-taking, Apple-buying, TV chatting goals. ;-) IDK if that makes sense, I just do see all these communities and am glad I get to participate in them .. until I get kicked out for typing something stupid. FWIW.

    • Mark Harai

      Fat chance anything you have to say will be deemed stupid!

      Like you Davina, I’m connected to many like-minded business professionals like you. I like that conversation. It’s just my world and who I am. I like others who share the same passions and desires I do.

      I just happen to be able to tap into brilliant people everyday who I can relate to and spend time with. That works for me.

      Oh, BTW, I like you a lot. I like smart people. I like to learn and share with no nonsense professionals who are real about social media.

      Thank you for your continued support Davina, I’m very thankful for that.

      • davinabrewer

        Trust me, I know what I know but my wisdom and wit are limited like anything else. I have brought the dumb, the moronic, the downright idiotic comments.. hopefully all under double secret probation profiles. Or maybe sometimes I’ll use Bill or Marcus or John’s name.. see if they notice. ;-)

        • Mark Harai

          LOL… you’re lot’s of fun and way too humble Ms. Brewer!

        • Bill Dorman

          I’m watching you and I’ve got the corner on dumb & moronic so just move on down the road………

    • Bill Dorman

      b/c I’m a self-centered little punk ……I knew there was a reason I liked you…………….

  • Anonymous

    Mark I read this post and then read it again, because it was so good. Five words stood out for me:

    “Accepting Responsibility For Your Voice”

    Beautiful! Brilliant! I couldn’t agree more with these words Mark, it’s part of what makes this world go round and spin so well. Everyone has a voice, which they can freely use when and where they please. It’s a shame that some choose to disregard their voice to mindlessly repeat something else that everyone else is droning on about.

    I’m currently listening to a King Crimson track on YouTube as I type. If you don’t know who King Crimson are, they’re an English ‘prog rock’ band formed in the late 60′s who play rock music. But their music is so unlike any other, it’s so random, so different, yet no-one has done what they do. And no-one else did before them. They have perfected the art of finding their voice, they haven’t imitated anyone. That’s why I love their rocking music! I suggest looking them up Mark on YT, my favourite track is “21st Century Schizoid Man”.

    Take care :-)

    • Mark Harai

      Hey Stu – I like how you expanded the thought on accepting responsibility for you voice… I pointed that comment at those who don’t or wont’ participate at all for one reason or another – many out of fear.

      However, there are sooo many who just regurgitate the voice of others and never step out of their comfort zone and just let it flow from their belly so-to-speak.

      I believe this is one powerful key to attracting an audience and standing out from the huge crowd of drones : )

      In my generation, Ozzy Osborne (I think he was with Black Sabbath at the time) recorded “21st Century Schizoid Man.” He’s crazy now as you probably already know… “Sharon, Sharon!”

      I think he fried some brain cells along his journey… He certainly set himself apart from other rockers in his time, although Alice Cooper was pretty much out of his mind too!

      Thanks for dropping by Stu, it’s always great to hear from you : )

      • Anonymous

        Lol, “I’m the f****n prince of darkness!” ;-)

        • Mark Harai


    • Bill Dorman

      Hey, I know King Crimson…………

      I like the statement :”Accepting Responsibility For Your Voice”. It is so true, but Mark is smart like that………..:)

      • Anonymous

        Bill, you have instantly earned yourself brownie points for being aware of King Crimson. I salute you sir!

        • Bill Dorman

          In the Court of the Crimson King…’s that?

          • Anonymous

            You’re a man after my heart Bill ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE the statement “By participating in conversations on the social web, you accept responsibility for contributing to something bigger than yourself.”

    It is so aligned with my personal belief and favourite quote:

    “If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.” Alex Noble

    I think that’s what those of us who participate and really get into the game, rather than sit on the sidelines, feel…that we are inspired to reach those wider horizons of thought and action, and we do so by sharing, paying it forward, sometimes showing our vulnerabilities – our human, fallible side – and always speaking our truth.

    I love Davina’s statement and concur: “Whether I ever sign another client via my social networking or not, it’s helped improve my communications skills, my knowledge and expertise so much.”

    Two things that I think propel effective communication and relationships: genuine interest (spot on Davina) and curiosity. And giving without the expectation of receiving: well, that’s what effective sharing on social media is really all about. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Bill Dorman

      Yes, Ms Davina is worthy of the praise………she’s the real deal. Mark is too but I can’t tell him that…………..:). We don’t want him coasting on his laurels………..

      • davinabrewer

        How does that work exactly, do laurels have wheels?

        • Bill Dorman

          ….with sparkles…………

      • Mark Harai

        Um, I’m standing right here :p

        • Bill Dorman

          Oh hi Mark, didn’t see you standing there…………:)

          • Mark Harai

            Hehe – you kill be Bill!

    • davinabrewer

      With interest and curiosity.. there is a place for all of us out here Kaarina, that’s what really impresses me. A little searching and you’ll find your peeps. You may never leave the house or step away from the keyboard again, but that’s another problem. ;-)

      • Anonymous

        In my best police officer voice…”step away from the keyboard”…I think I need that reminder lately:)

        • davinabrewer

          You read Brian’s post on the Social Media Stress Disorder, right? HILARIOUS!

        • Mark Harai

          I’m not ready to turn myself in!

      • Mark Harai

        I love your outlook Davina : )

    • Mark Harai

      You’re very inspirational Kaarina : )

      Davina says many things that I like a lot – she is wonderful : )

      I believe that if you have something of value to give to the world, give it abundantly… This is one of the most powerful wealth creating mindsets an individual can have.

      It’s great to see you Kaarina!

  • Lance

    There is so much that has come to me from the conversations I’ve been in (online and offline). And that’s the beauty of the social web – how it brings people together who are physically disconnected. How awesome is that! It means that I can find “my people” from throughout the world…instead within the confines of where I’m physically located.

    And the thing with this – which you have said so well – it’s about being in the conversation. Because, if I choose not to, then I also choose to limit myself in that particular instance (which can be okay too – esp. if it’s something that maybe doesn’t resonate as much…). Still, I’m all for building relationships by actively communicating and sharing “me”.

    Great stuff!

    • Mark Harai

      Hey Lance, I too love that I’m connected to awesome people all over the who I call good friends. It’s a very wealthy place to invest your time. It’s going to change the world.

      This has also brought us together and I’m looking forward to sharing in the journey… There’s some exciting times ahead : )

      Cheers Lance!

  • Erica Allison

    Really like this approach and the art of the conversation on the social web, Mark. You’re gifted at getting those conversations started and I agree with lots of folks below who called out your A-List line about accepting responsibility for contributing to something bigger than ourselves. Maybe that’s why I make sure I think about the post, its relevance to me and the bigger picture, and how I can contribute before I comment. It’s also why I feel bad when I tweet without a comment, but I also hope that it goes without saying that if I didn’t like it or find value in it, I wouldn’t tweet it to begin with. That’s the responsibility I feel as a participant in the discussion and the community I participate in online.

    Thanks, Mark.

    • Bill Dorman

      I’m telling ya, if you keep feeding him he’s going to be your responsibility; he will keep showing up at your back door…………just sayin’……….

      • Mark Harai

        Hey Bill, will you be my friend? LOL!

        • Bill Dorman

          Jury is still out; let me see if you are still around in a couple of weeks………..

    • Mark Harai

      You are a true professional Erica, you’re a very impressive woman : )

      I concur with everything you stated here so well. If we’re going to serve, do it right! Serving up value consistently builds trust and loyalty.

      Hmm, sounds like that would be a good thing for any commercial or personal brand, eh?

      You’re definitely an established trusted source… I think you can get away with a few tweets without comments…

      Cheers to you Erica!

  • Jk Allen

    Boy am I late to the party. That’s been a constant for me over the last few weeks!

    I tell you Mark – I think your words are powerful in this post. Letting people know how much control they have over the direction of the social web is something everyone needs to hear. I see bloggers as the “new wave” of media. In some niches, they are breaking news quicker than the big media sources like CNN. And, we speak from a different tone – one from experience and emotion.

    I try to jump into these conversations because I have something to say, things to share and I’m all for being a part of OUR mission…it’s my responsibility because I’m a part of this space.

    You carry an incredible gift in this area Mark. You know how to get things in the light, and allow the conversations to take place and form a united perspective.

    Thank you for playing the role that you play; one of a leader.


    • Mark Harai

      Hey Jk, thanks for popping in here sir, it’s good to see you : )

      I think that we are connected to many leaders who are not only contributing to shaping the social web, but changing it. I loved your guest post today. It’s not about number, it’s about quality and impacting lives.

      You have a bright future here Jk… You make a community better by just being part of it. You always contribute value and insights that people can benefit from.

      I appreciate everything you do sir, you are gold in my book!

    • Bill Dorman

      There’s not any beer left but I see a few bottles of white wine that weren’t finished.

      Good to see you JK and I’m sure Mark is glad you stopped by; he needs someone to help clean up…………..

      • Mark Harai

        Thanks for your vote of confidence Bill; there’s still hope for me : )

  • Coach James | Success Books

    Hey Mark,
    This kind of reminds me of some of the ideas from Seth Godin.

    I think what you say is true, in this day and age, conversations engaged with others are what shapes and develops leaders.

    Best Regards,

  • Elena Patrice

    You know Mark I think of you often when I reflect on this whole social media phenomena. As you agreed or I agreed with you (I can’t recall ;)) there is this movement taking place and it’s unbelievably fascinating. There is something powerful occurring among bloggers that holds immense possibility AND responsibility when harnessed correctly. I’ve been wanting to write a post (and now will this weekend) about my mother’s always telling me “water seeks its own level” and that always stayed with me. I never fully understood it until I lived many years and looked back and could see that through the events of my life. You “run” or shall I just say you blog in certain amazing circles and there is this constant uplifting and enlightenment that is taking place – I know you get what I’m writing. This is power harnessed for the good. And it’s funny-odd that it just keeps growing and getting more intense; yet then it settles after one amazing post only to do so again for the next. Wow! It’s like the world is so wacky and certain sectors of the blogging world are searching for those who bring calm; make it make sense; take us away from it; makes us believe in it; meld us and the list goes on. There are leaders and mentors like mega beacons to us and their all helping us find and define our own unique voice.

    I’m really just in awe the present moment in history and all we’re privileged and privy to. I find it incredibly, incredibly humbling and my mom’s wise words right true today. I’m blessed to say that I love the level of water I’m in now and being part of it!

    You’re awesome as usual … thank you!!

    Much kindness,


    • Mark Harai

      Thank you for the awesomely kind words Elena , you made my day ; )

      There’s wacky folks in the blogosphere too!

      What we’re experiencing is like-minded people, those who are mindful about what they are doing, want to contribute to making social media a great place to be part of and are motivated by a desire to help others.

      To top it off, many of our friends are brilliant!

      We are having an impact for good. Many people are being touched and inspired by our efforts and work. We can change the world for the better just as we imagined we would as kids.

      That’s the driving force behind the communities we’re involved in Elena and it’s rewarding to be part of… The future holds so much potential – lives will be changed and dreams will come true for many all while helping others plugin and come along for the ride.

      I love your attitude and outlook on things Elena – you are a blessed woman : )

      • Elena Patrice

        My star is hitched, let’s grab hold and carry on! Whoo hoo!

        You’re rock-solid Mark and for me that’s the highest compliment I can give anyone … you have my complete respect.

        Blue skies my friend! Elena :)

  • Jens P. Berget

    Hi Mark,

    It’s been sort of a struggle for me. That’s because I haven’t thought of my self as a person who shares a lot about personal stuff. And I also more or less hate small talk, and just walk away whenever I’m involved talking about something I don’t really care about.

    So, when I got the chance to be a part of the social web, I wasn’t sure what to think. It was hard at first, but then I realized that I was in control, and it was a lot easier to write than talk, and it was a lot easier to find the right conversation and the right people to talk to.

    At a party, I was always stuck with the boring guys, and I felt trapped. Now, I don’t attend those kind of “parties” and I never ever talk to the boring people :)

    Very interesting post Mark. Keep them coming.

    - Jens

    • Mark Harai

      Hi Jens – I’m happy for you : )

      Nobody likes to be stuck with the boring folks : (

      The communities that we’re mutually part of are filled with anything but boring! We have struck people gold – and I’m thankful to part of your journey and those we now call friends.

      These are exciting times Jen’s!

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