Are You a Connector?
I've been reading The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell. I am loving it and finding it so fascinating. Gladwell talks about how things or ideas tip and create epidemics. One part of the process involves what Gladwell calls the Law of the Few. Part of this Law of the Few is a group of people called connectors. When I was reading this, I started looking at the people I have in my own life, looking for connectors. They have so much to offer us, not only for establishing a new idea or business, but for bringing people together. For connecting us. They have a natural gift and today I want to talk about them. Read on to see if you are a connector.
What is a connector
When Gladwell talks about connectors, he says that they are the people who know a lot of people. But the thing with connectors is that they don't just know a lot of people; they remember them. They have a special way of communicating with people emotionally. They remember who needs what, and when they receive information, they know who to pass it on to. This creates emotional connections and gives us opportunity to be grateful for the connectors in our lives.
You don't have to look very far to find the connectors in your life. Gladwell has a wonderful activity in his book to help you. Make a list of about 40 people you would call friends (excluding your family + coworkers). For each person on your list, find who is responsible for bringing that person into your life. You will find the same names (or name; sometimes it's just one person) come up agin + again. These are the connectors in your life.
What makes a connector
Connectors know a lot of people and they remember them. This is their natural gift. They almost don't have to try to remember people, they just do it naturally. Connectors are social, but not overly social. They almost seem more observant. They always keep up with others by remembering birthdays and other events.
Connectors are curious + self confident.
They are social + energetic.
Most of us (okay, maybe just me) view our acquaintances or rather potential acquaintances wondering if we should turn that person into a friend. I'm often left (unintentionally) wondering, what's in it for me? Connectors don't worry about obligations. They just make connections. This is so beautiful to me. They are okay with 'weak' connections. They aren't worried about having to get together for lunch next week or whatever. If they only have contact once a year, that's fine. They value + take pleasure in casual meetings.
The importance of connectors
Connectors are important not just because they know a lot of people, but because of the kinds of people that they know. Gladwell goes into detail about this in his book, talking about how these connectors sort of live in different worlds. He means that connectors know people in many different fields (writers, doctors, lawyers, actors...) Their curiosity helps them reach out for people.
The cool thing is that when a connector reaches out to you, you respond to them. They make things happen. They bring people together. They have this special way of thinking everyone is wonderful + interesting. They see the world through their own set of eyes. They see possibility in everyone.
Mark Granovetter put it best when he said that "we rely on connectors to give us access to opportunities and worlds to which we don't belong". We are thirsty for information, and the connectors around us know exactly what we need.
Maybe you are looking for a new job. Who would you ask? Maybe it's a place to eat, or a book to read. Who would you ask? Maybe it's the latest fashion trend. Who do you look to? This is word of mouth. When connectors like something, they tell people who they know would like it also. We get relevant information from connectors; that's why we listen to them.
You may be thinking, this is all very interesting, but so what?
I want you to start looking for the connectors in your life. Maybe you are a connector at heart, and you have never let that part of yourself live at it's fullest. I want to encourage you to connect. Just be yourself, without judgement. Perhaps you have a child who is a connector. Connectors add tremendous value to our lives. I'm going to leave you with two key points about connectors from Malcom Gladwell:
- if you are close to a connector you have more powerful + wealthier opportunities
- the closer an idea or a product comes to a connector, the more powerful opportunity it has
This is a great way to elevate your life. Make friends out of curiosity, and not for what may be in it for you. If a connector knows you, they will know what information to give you. You don't need to seek anything other than friendship. This is why it is so important to be authentic with everyone, even those we only have contact with once a year. Be open to having weak ties. That's where opportunity lies.
So, I'm curious. Are you a connector?