Connections that Bind

We hear a lot these days about increasing numbers of followers, building email lists, interacting more with users and retweets. We measure click-thrus and response rates, pageviews and bounces, and may use PostRank or Google Alerts to monitor conversations about us and our issues.

What does all this tell us about how well our organizations are or aren’t using social media, communications and membership programs in general? It can inform our efforts, certainly, but if it contributes to solid analysis is debatable. It is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and want to explore in coming posts.

A common thread in all these metrics is that they indicate a relationship between an individual and organization.

But to what extent do these relationships matter? That seems the question. What are we as individuals able and willing to do for the organization and (it must be asked) what is the organization doing for the individual?

I really like Gideon Rosenblatt’s talk a couple months back about “powerful connections” between organizations and people. Gideon asks the question: Is it possible to have a soulful relationship with an organization? He goes on to tell the story of his long-term relationship with both Groundwire and Social Venture Partners and how he worked to connect people in the organizations. His position in and among these organizations is unique, of course, but throughout he seemed driven by idea that it was people and their relationships with the organization that mattered. The program and policy minutiae would work themselves out if the passion and personal connections were in place.

Can everyone on an email list or Facebook fan page have a “soulful” connection with your organization? I hardly think so. But proactively striving to create opportunities and openings for deeper connections seems like it could only pay off in the long run.

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