Food for Thought

Who Feeds Your Mind?

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Social media has turned us all into accountants.

Now when we think about who we know, we think of lists, of numbers, of profiles.

But unless you work as an influencer, the quantity of ‘followers’ you may claim is irrelevant.

Here are ten alternative approaches to thinking about who you know and the richness of the ecosystem that is feeding your mind.

1. COHORT

What’s the age range of those you know? Are you stuck with the class of ’94, or do you SnapChat with Gen Z and have lunchtime tipples with baby-boomers?

2. ALLSORTS

You’re pale, you’re male, you know a lot about bills of sale.

How many Guardian-reading black female thespians with polyamorous tendencies do you meet?

3. MAKE IT WORK

Malcolm Gladwell says that for any idea to spread, it needs to be popularised by a combination of “connectors”, “mavens” and “salespeople”.

Can you name acquaintances who fall within each of those descriptions?

"It’s true that networking can help you accomplish great things. But this obscures the opposite truth: Accomplishing great things helps you develop a network."

- Adam Grant

 

4. PAY IT FORWARD

How many favours have you performed (voluntarily, altruistically and proactively) for people you know recently?

5. FACETIME

Sure, they'll accept a LinkedIn request but would all the people in your network make the time to have a coffee with you?

 

6. THE EDGE

Who is the competition hanging out with?

(Equally importantly, who are they not hanging out with?)

7. CHARTER THE WATERS

How many people do you know in walking distance? In your next holiday destination? Where the headlines are this morning? From the homeland of your coffee beans?

8. ENTROPY, ATROPHY, CATASTROPHE

How many lasting relationships have you formed in the past 12 months? 

“…when it comes to finding out about new jobs - or, for that matter, new information, or new ideas - "weak ties" are always more important than strong ties”

- Mark Granovetter

9. WHAT'S IN A NAME

Take the names of the five people at the top of your newsfeed.

Could you describe their work and what they most like about it?

Do you know how they take their coffee and what they really want to achieve this year and the person you know who they would benefit from meeting?

10. WISHFUL KNOWING

Who do you wish you knew? And why haven’t you got in touch with them?